The world of shark films is an interesting one, Jaws, by Steven Spielberg became the first blockbuster in history, where people would queue for hours just to see this fantastic movie about a shark attack a small town beach. Spielberg couldn’t have known that he had created a whole genre right at that moment. A genre that would look to imitate his precious shark movie and would fail at every attempt.
Because it was clear that no shark movie could top what Spielberg had done in terms of tension, cinematography, composition, and blocking. So, the genre stopped trying, and it went in a different direction, one that focused on pure entertainment and nothing else. Thus, the shark movies became the excuse for a lot of blood, gore, and beautiful people making some really dumb decisions. Shark Bait is just one of those movies, but surprisingly stands tall as one of the best in recent years.
That is not to say that this is a good movie, not at all. But it is in fact a very enjoyable film if you have 90 minutes to burn on a fly or while traversing the country. Shark Bait, if the title doesn’t tell you already, has only one intention and one intention only. To show some gruesome deaths, and make you rethink the next time you are on vacation, and you think about stealing some Jet skies. Don’t do it. Just don’t.
Shark Bait, which was originally titled Jetski, is a film directed by James Nunn, and stars Holly Earl, Jack Trueman, and Catherine Hannay. The film tells the story of a group of friends on spring break, the group is celebrating as much as they are because this is apparently the last spring break they will ever have. After one night of drinks and love making, the group finds a couple of jet skies on the water, and they decide to steal. It is a bad call, and yet they make it worse as they drive deep into the ocean. There in the middle of the ocean they are attacked by a furious shark.
Shark Bait is a very simple movie. Right at the start of the film, you just have to have seen a couple of minutes to know where this is going. You have seen this movie many, many times before. And yet, here we are, watching it one more time. Why, because there is something primal in the simpleness of this type of story. You know who will die, you know who is going to live at the end, and you know that some things will not just make sense.
Nevertheless, who really cares? This movie has no intentions of being Citizen Kane, or anything else. It isn’t high art and is not pretending to be it, so it would be disingenuous to judge it in that manner. This type of movie can only be judged in terms of what other movies of its kind have done in recent years. 47 Meters Down, and Crawl have applied the formula with better results, thanks in part to better production values than this one.
So, Shark Bait doesn’t really stand out among its peers, but it isn’t a complete failure in that regard. The movie is very well shot, I mean, this is not Dune in terms of cinematography, but each scene is shot in a way that makes the action look clear and the ocean look immense and scary place at that. Some aerial shots really sell the fact that these characters are trapped in the middle of the ocean with no way of escaping.
The acting is also pretty solid. All the actors take their roles seriously. And even when at the start the characters are definitely in dumb mode, the actors sell these characters as just some dumb young people who thought they could get away with doing something stupid. Which in fact is not too far from what happens in real life. There are some really dumb people out there.
Holly Earl, the girl that became famous thanks to her amazing smile, is the lead of the movie and serves as the perfect last girl in this situation. Most of the characters are quite underwritten. The situation here is the main attraction, the characters are only excuses to put the situation in motion. It works, but there are no emotional stakes in the movie at all. Every time someone new dies, you won’t feel anything for them. However, the kills are cool and very gory.
The Visual effects are solid, but at points it really looks like they could have needed maybe another pass or two, as sometimes the fakeness pops out very clearly. Nevertheless, most of the time the effects are quite good, and they sell the kills and the hungry shark very well.
Shark Bait won’t really change the shark movie scene, it does what it needs to do and does it well. This movie will find its audience for sure, there are tons of people out there that are huge fans of the shark genre, and they will have a blast with it. For more mainstream audiences, it would be better to choose something else.