“What’s that about?”
“It’s the one where a tsunami hits the Gold Coast and sharks end up inside a supermarket.”
This conversation can go one of two ways. The friend could think Bait 3D, the latest big budget Aussie flick to come along in an effort to snare more box office returns than critical adulation, sounds completely ridiculous and scoff at your notion. Or they could think it sounds completely ridiculous and want to be the first in line at the ticket counter. The end result of the film lies somewhere in the middle.
I can’t deny that I had quite a bit of fun with the overt silliness of the enterprise that is “the sharks in the supermarket movie” (its go to logline since the script floated onto the scene some years ago, originally to be directed by Aussie genre legend Russell Mulcahy, Razorback). In its current inception, however, it appears that several rewrites and a director change–now at the helm is Kimble Rendall (Cut)–have twisted the property into a sort of Frankenstein’s Monster of a horror comedy. The film is too deliberately bad in certain stretches for this viewer to fully embrace it as a “so bad it’s good” type of experience. It isn’t, however, so frightfully inept that you wonder why it got made. You will wonder where Julian McMahon’s (The Fantastic Four) accent came from, why Sharni Vinson (Step Up 3D) looks so frightfully thin, why Dan Wyllie (Sanctum) appears to be shovelling scenery into his mouth as he overacts into the stratosphere, or how anybody let Lincoln Lewis (Tomorrow When the War Began) get so tanned that he appears to have changed race.
There’s nothing else to the film apart from its initial “sharks in the supermarket” premise. Nor should there be, but Bait 3D could have certainly tried harder in the scenes that everybody will go to see. The shark attacks are, like another Aussie killer animal flick, Rogue, not nearly frequent enough. Nor are they particularly grisly when they do occur. Still, there’s a wide-eyed hilarity that comes from seeing sharks leap through the air chomping at somebody’s rear. The 3D is largely useless except for some nifty tricks with water effects. The film’s rather flippant exploitation of tsunamis is occasionally off-putting, but only really becomes an issue when the blood stops flowing.
As one would expect, the actors don’t have much in the way of a leg to stand on. Most are asked to speak in strange American accents or bogan-ised exaggerations of Australian ocker slang. Only Alex Russell (Chronicle) escapes with his dignity in tact – although maybe he just appears to go okay since he’s paired in a subplot with the dire coupling of Lewis and Cariba Heine (and her dog) as vapid dimwits – but Xavier Samuel (A Few Best Men) is given a last minute speech that fumbles and embarrasses. There are giggles a plenty to be had, but I suspect they’d be more enjoyable on the couch with some beers and friends where yelling stuff at the screen is encouraged. Bait 3D lacks bite.
Bait 3D is released September 20th
Director: Kimble Rendall
Cast: Xavier Samuel, Julian McMahon, Sharni Vinson, Phoebe Tonkin, Alex Russell, Martin Sacks,
Dan Wyllie, Lincoln Lewis, Cariba Heine, Adrian Pang, Richard Brancatisano, Damien Garvey,
Yuwu Qi and Alice Parkinson