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Film review: BAIT 3D, from Built For Speed

That definitive shark movie Jaws invoked Melville’s Moby Dick in its tale of man’s quest to conquer nature. Bait has no such lofty ambitions instead it takes the Dawn of the Dead scenario of people fighting for survival in a supermarket, removes the social commentary about consumerism and adds sharks. The result is a silly, gory, horror comedy that probably sits closest to the Final Destination films.

Here a tsunami has obliterated an Australian coastal town and flooded everything including the local supermarket. The surviving customers include stock boy and former lifeguard Xavier Samuel, his ex-girlfriend (Sharni Vinson) who just happens to be shopping there when the wave hits, Martin Sacks as (you guessed it) a cop and Julian McMahon and Dan Wiley as crims trying to rob the supermarket. Home and Away and Neighbours star Lincoln Lewis also appears as a surfie bogan trapped in a submerged car with his ditzy girlfriend Cariba Heine who looks suspiciously like Drew Barrymore in the first Scream film.

The director made it clear at the start of the film that this is a popcorn movie and not to be taken too seriously.  It aims to provide a few thrills and a few laughs and it achieves these modest ambitions.

If the film offers any commentary it’s about Aussie cinema stereotypes with Dan Wylie hilariously over the top as a bogan thug and Lincoln Lewis a riot as a brainless boofhead who makes the yobs in Puberty Blues look like Oscar Wilde.  Despite the Australian setting, many of the cast have strange half-assed American accents that fade in and out during the film.

Amid the general silliness there are some surprisingly effective dramatic moments, a fact seemingly lost on the gaggle of audience members who felt compelled to hoot ironically at every scene just to let us know how clever they are.

The film relies on numerous visual effects which vary in quality; some of the CGI sharks look a bit cartoonish (and strangely like Peter Costello) while others, particularly the one that menaces the submerged car, are eerily convincing.  The 3D is actually pretty effective in these scenes particularly when used from the characters’ point of view.  The film also adds a rather disconcerting aural effect namely a gristly crunch whenever the sharks chomp on a victim.

If you want to see something that progresses the art of cinema and provides a profound statement about the human condition, stay well clear of this one.  If you want good, stupid fun this is for you.

 

Nick’s rating: 2 ½ stars.

Classification: MA 15+

Director(s): Kimble Rendall

Release date: 20th Sept 2012

Running time:  93 mins.

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