Full disclosure: a high concept shark thriller will have me onboard just by being a high concept shark thriller. And the concept behind this movie is so high it makes Deep Blue Sea look like Howard’s End. Supermarket + armed robbers + tsunami + sharks = a film that would have to go out of its way to be boring.
And it never is. Boring that is. Bait explores its admirably wacko plot with a mostly straight face, allowing some degree of genuine tension to build. There’s a touch of wry humour here and there, but not enough to make you doubt the filmmakers’ sincerity.
Xavier Samuel of The Loved Ones and The Twilight Saga: Eclipse leads a cast that includes more than its fair share of rising Aussie talent in the form of Chronicle lead Alex Russell and Phoebe Tonkin from Tomorrow When The War Began and The Vampire Diaries.
The character dynamics are mostly rote and sometimes ridiculous – especially when it comes to the two armed robbers. Dan Wyllie’s shouty, grating performance as the more unhinged of the pair is so completely over the top it manages to obscure the almost-as-terrible work being done by Julian McMahon as his partner.
A film like this hinges on how well it exploits the impossible scenario faced by its characters and the quality of the kill scenes. In both of these regards, Bait does okay. It’s not spectacular, but it is good enough to see on the big screen.
Plus it’s much more fun than last year’s high concept shark thriller, Shark Night 3D. That film broke my heart.