Thursday 1 November 2012



Dear Film Making People: as a regular viewer of horror, thriller, monster and fantasy movies, I've a tiny request for you, if you're not too busy. It's only a little thing really, I hope you don't mind; I'll make as simple and as quick as I can. Here goes: "Enough with the sodding CGI sharks, okay?" Thanks awfully, yours etc etc etc. Shark Attack, Shark Attack II, Sharks In Venice, Mega Shark Vs Giant Octopus, Shark Attack 3: Megalodon, Dinoshark, Night Of The Sharks, Shark Night, Red Water, 2-Headed Shark Attack, Malibu Shark Attack, Jersey Shore Shark Attack, Open Water, The Reef, Sharktopus.... Can you actually do anything else? Does the software come with sharks as the free demo animal and you just won't pay for the upgrade to crabs or haddock? Make a cow movie or an armadillo movie or a condor movie or a bloody woodlouse movie, but in the name of sanity could you leave the sharks be for at least five minutes, please? At least Dark Tide had the balls to use real sharks rather than a sub-Pixar jpeg pasted into the action in Microsoft Scribble. And at least the Jaws movies actually had a physical monster on set: maybe not an actual shark, but it was something tangible that existed in the real world.

Bait is what happens when a round-table drinking game of Dumb Movie Concepts gets wildly out of hand and someone suddenly yells out "Hey, that's a great idea!" and starts writing it.* Snakes On A Plane, Gerbils On A Submarine, Giraffes On The Piccadilly Line.... This is Sharks In A Shop: following a tsunami that levels an Australian coastal resort, a motley assortment of characters - lovers, criminals, morons - find themselves trapped in a flooded supermarket with a Great White prowling the aisles, and another in what used to be the car park. As the survivors try and find a way to safety (one particularly foolish attempt involving a suit of armour cobbled together from trolleys), the waters rise, the electricity lines dangle perilously close to the surface, and the sharks are getting hungry....if they can't escape it then maybe they could kill it?

What's remarkable about this film is not that it's any good at all - it isn't - but that it's co-written by Russell Mulcahy. Sadly they didn't let him direct it as well, otherwise we might have at least had some visual flair and excitement on hand (it's actually directed by Kimble Rendall, who made the enjoyable movie-set slasher Cut). In addition it's in 3D which - surprisingly - adds little or nothing to what is really not much more than Yet Another CGI Shark Movie, and we're getting fed up to the big back teeth with them now. Admittedly we haven't seen a shark movie set in a shop before, but that doesn't automatically mean it's a good idea: we haven't seen it done as Claymation porn with a reggae soundtrack either but that's hardly reason enough to do it. Bait isn't absolute rubbish: it's put together competently enough, and it's never actually boring in itself (except in the sense of it being Yet Another CGI Shark Movie), but that's still not enough.

* That's probably not how it actually happened.


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