Unnecessary back stories, ham-fisted cartoonish characters complemented with stiff performances and gaping plot holes puts Bait 3D into contention as one of the worst films of the year.
An Australian beachside community is struck by a tsunami and a group of survivors are trapped with great white sharks in the flooded local shopping centre.
Now though the premise is completely far-fetched it compounds several pretty terrifying natural phenomena in a tsunami, its ensuing destruction and sharks that at an elemental level, work – but literally every single component that binds this together is awful. The narrative clearly rips off and mashes up a bunch of different film survivor stories – Jaws, Dawn of the Dead and the Poseidon Adventure to name a few. The characterisations are laughable and are text book stick figure archetypes. Instead of having a bunch of characters thrown together that you have to learn about in the midst of the crisis (ala Dawn of the Dead) there are fleeting mentions to tenuous connections and a whole lot of inferred history. These glorified finger puppets all have ”regrets” and go on a ”journey” but when the credits unfurl and reveal that there’s Singaporean funding, and coincidentally there’s a story that clumsily gives a character a Singaporean squeeze, you realise that you’re watching a premise prostituted to appease producers.
Director Kendall Grove crafts some of the strangest performances I’ve ever seen. They’re at best, the worst and hammiest takes cobbled together from the editing room floor. And in some moments, the actors float between their native Australian accent – and then for no apparent reason – there’s a Texan twang to the annunciation that distracted and confused (especially when it was slightly out of sync with the actor’s lips). For a film that’s meant to incite fear and terror of the unknown there was an absence of a score. The primal terror that director, Steven Spielberg strikes in the audience in Jaws is done more with composer, John Williams’ iconic score inferring the shark’s presence that it does when you see it.
If this was intentionally crafted to be a ‘B Grade’ piece of trash – and It could have been – all involved must be commended for bringing their ‘D’ game.
Bait 3D induces that same feeling that Rebecca Black’s Friday did on the first listen. You turn to your friends expecting them to reveal that it’s comedic genius satire of how manufactured and farcical the industry has become; and then they reveal that it is indeed a real song. It fundamentally frightens that something so bad could exist.
Director: Kimble Rendall
Writer: John Kim & Russell Mulcahy
Starring: Phoebe Tonkin, Lincoln Lewis, Julian McMahon, Sharni Vinson, Xavier Samuel, Alex Russell, Alice Parkinson
BAIT 3D is released on the 20th of September in Australia.