Jaws is the archetypal killer shark movie, and not just because it was made by Spielberg when he was still relevant to the modern progression of film, but because it was based on a pretty decent book, if we overlook the odd juxtaposition of a Mafia side story that just, got in the way. It had everything, from an iconic music score, just the right amount of cheesy dialogue, to giant sharks ripping the limbs of beach loving Yanks. Even the succession of sequels it inevitably spawned were entertaining and though, still a far cry from the perfection of the original, they’ve stood up against the ravages of time and plots woven around characters that fail to understand that staying out of the water would solve their problems immediately … but we forgive these things, because not only does everyone love a shark movie, but one of the sequels has Michael Caine playing an aging lothario who owns a plane.
Yes, that is the kind of casting that would make anyone back the truck up in their criticisms.
It’s hard to live up to, though film makers have tried their very best over the years to replicate the magic of the Granddaddy of fins gliding through the water scenes. Some of them were even half decent, Open Water and it’s follow up Adrift, the cheesy SLJ vehicle Deep Blue Sea, and The Reef were all enjoyable, and charming in their own little ways, but in comparison to Jaws, they all fall shorter than a Tom Cruise when he takes off his little stacked shoes. The travesties however, are littered in every DVD bargain bin around the globe, from the imaginatively named Shark Attack series, the recent Sy Fy channel productions Sharktopus, Dinoshark and Megashark vs Crocosaurus (these things all happened), to the excruciatingly bad Sharks in Venice, and do nothing to raise your expectations of the genre, but they do give you time to revaluate your life, and consider the sharp objects around you as definite options for the satisfactory outcome of a doomed exercise in watching said films.
Bait is an Australian production whose plot involves a group of people becoming trapped in a supermarket with a couple of sharks after a tsunami fills the place up with water. Drink that in for a second and tell me that description didn’t make you want to watch the film a teeny bit on perverse curiosity alone.
Bait is a great film, full of water, floating limbs and ridiculous scenarios that you shouldn’t enjoy this much, but believe me, you will. I expected nothing more than a five minute battle of wills with the off button on my laptop, and a feeling of relief that it would be over soon, but it’s mid 90’s-esque gung ho attitude, and watch ability caught me completely by surprise. There are strange and quite unnecessary attempts at American accents, and some questionable CGI in parts, but I found myself forgiving it for a multitude of sins, purely because the film is so likeable.
It’s never going to win any Oscars (but those awards never go to the deserving films anyway – Christian Bale in The Fighter? Please! I could have watched Jeremy Kyle repeats for a better performance!),but as cult classic Deep Blue Sea taught us, shark horror, should never take itself too seriously, and always be a little bit crappy to work, that’s why Bait will end up as more than a few folks guilty little pleasure.