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Bait 3D (2012)
14th May 13
After a freak tsunami, an eclectic group of people get trapped in a flooded supermarket with a couple of 12 foot CGI 3D sharks.
It’s time to head down under for our latest fix of underwater killer fish action. We’ve had the recent Shark Night, which people mainly complained about because of its lack of gore and nudity. We’ve had a few ridiculous outings from Roger Corman (Sharktopus leaps to mind) and from Asylum (Two-Headed Shark Attack, really?) and Piranha 3D and its double-D sequel, which people moaned about because of its overabundance of gore and nudity, ironically. So, what can the Australians, who actually have experience of real life shark attacks so should know about this stuff, bring to the table?
The film opens on a beach, funnily enough. Josh is a lifeguard who should be doing lifeguard things but he’s skulking around the rocks with his impossibly thin in a good way fiancée Tina, chatting about their impending move to Singapore. Tina’s brother is also a lifeguard, which is why when someone spots a 12 foot shark in the water, both Tina and Josh come running. Not fast enough though, so the shark eats the brother.
Cut to a year later and a grief filled Josh has quit his lifeguard job and now works in a supermarket. Tina has been to Singapore and has come back, Singaporean boyfriend (that’s obviously going to get killed) in tow, and she bumps in to Josh in the supermarket he works in. Meanwhile, the daughter of local cop is caught shoplifting, so the cop turns up to pick her up. In the underground car park he spots Julian McMahon from Nip/Tuck and Fantastic Four fame about to commit a robbery with an unhinged masked sidekick, while an annoying couple with a tiny dog finish making out in another parked car. Then someone looks out of the window in the supermarket upstairs and points out the massive CGI tsunami coming their way. Before you know it, the supermarket and the underground car park are filled with water, all the above and a few other littered patrons are trapped, and to add insult to injury there’s a 12 foot shark in their too.
What follows is your standard shark/disaster templated movie, but it’s surprisingly watchable. The characters argue amongst themselves trying to work out what to do, and there are the usual acts of bravery and stupidity that you’d expect from this kind of thing, with some characters panicking and some stepping up, and not necessarily as you’d predict. All the time though it’s played straight with none of the knowing looks or nods to the genre you get from actors and directors who think that’s funny (thank goodness Eric Roberts is nowhere to be seen), even when the situations involved are quite ridiculous.
If you can get over the setup, and can believe these characters huddled on top of the standalone shelves in this flooded supermarket could be killed any minute by a killer shark, you might just have a lot of fun with Bait 3D. There are a few highlights to watch out for too. The couple in the car park provide comedy value (the dog throwing sequence is a real crowd pleaser), but the stand out moment is the shark basket suit. After discovering there’s electrical wires dangling down that might electrocute them, the group work out the off switch is underwater (so would have shorted and maybe electrocuted them already, but let’s not worry about that) so a shark proof suit of supermarket baskets is constructed. If you can contain your excitement at the ridiculousness of that, the comedy of errors that follows and the bad decision making with it is very amusing. And all the while, straight faces are kept all round. Brilliant.
In terms of filmy stuff like editing, lighting, cinematography etc, it’s all very good but ultimately functional, like you are watching an extended shark attack version of Home and Away. There are some good gore effects, and a few laughs to be had at the not very expensive CGI shark, but no nudity to speak of, although there’s a few close ups of Tina’s bikini bum, especially at the beginning. There’s also an underlying sense of accent confusion, with many clearly Australian actors speaking with patchy American accents, but we’re all used to that kind of thing these days and it doesn’t detract from the film much. Not nearly as much as Julian McMahon’s eyebrows, which are actually scarier than the shark. He was married to Danni Minogue you know.
So it’s a more straight faced stab at a shark movie than we’ve had recently, but it’s still quite silly. Definitely worth it if you have a 3D TV though, and the lack of gratuitous nudity at least means it works as a date movie, provided you know what you’re getting in to.
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