Russell Mulcahy, ladies and gentlemen. Fans of a certain franchise about an immortal Scotsman who says "There can be only one!" know him as the man who directed the one true, original Highlander movie. '80s music lovers know him as the guy that helmed a few videos for Duran Duran, Billy Idol, and The Tubes. And then there are all those rednecks who probably don't know any better than to associate him with the made-for-TV biopic 3: The Dale Earnhardt Story, but that's probably for the best since most of Russell's crappier films have — fortunately — gone mostly unnoticed over the years.
But where does Bait — an Aussie 3D horror film which Mulcahy wrote and co-produced — fall on the filmmaker's scale? Likely inspired by The Mist, the oh-so-ridiculous American 3D sharksploitation flick Shark Night, and just about every other Jaws rip-off we've endured since 1975, Bait brings us the unbelievably silly story of what happens when a Great White Shark invades a supermarket. Wait, just hold on a moment here, kids. Let me back that up and revise it a bit: "Bait brings us the unbelievably silly story of what happens when a Great White Shark invades a supermarket following a freak tsunami on the Australian coast."
Does that make it a wee bit more plausible, then? No, well read on, boys and girls.
Like all of the disaster movies Irwin Allen made before this, a ragtag motley crew of people from all walks of life (career criminals, exes, shoplifters, folks with woes, Julian McMahon) are introduced and given as much individual screen time necessary before they all wind up stranded together in a seemingly-inescapable environment after the unthinkable strikes. And surely, a shark in a supermarket is about as unfathomable a situation as can be. Amidst an indisputably failed attempt at a robbery, the aisles of a coastal grocery store are flooded once a huge wave hits the land — trapping one very hungry shark in along with 'em.
From there, it basically is an Irwin Allen film, only with that undeniably pleasurable sharksploitation vibe to it that b-movie lovers such as myself enjoy so. Fortunately, unlike the umpteen million SyFy specials about killer sharks that attack airwaves every week, Bait takes a serious approach to its subject matter — creating a once-your-disbelief-has-been-properly-suspended "believable" atmosphere and sense of foreboding that any movie featuring a silent underwater predator should contain.
And it's in 3D, too, kids!
Less than three weeks after its limited theatrical engagement in America and a mere two days before its general cinematic release in its native Australia, Anchor Bay takes us on an out-of-the-ordinary trip to the store with Bait on Blu-ray. The MPEG-4 MVC/1080p presentation that is really quite grand considering the film's low-budget, and the disc presents the option of viewing the film in 3D as well as 2D. As it isn't a very bright film, the colors don't exactly leap off the screen here, but they're still very strong. The detail is quite nice here, while the black levels are just as noteworthy. The only weak factor here are some of the film's poorer (CGI) effects.
Bait also lures us in with an alluring (heh) Dolby-TrueHD 7.1 lossless soundtrack that delivers quite well, with an endless array of sounds and music to keep your speakers active. Special features are limited to a storyboard gallery (in HD) as well as a Standard-Definition DVD of the film. The narrow degree of bonus items might be a bit of a letdown here, considering this is a movie about a shark in a supermarket (I can't emphasize how cool that is, people!), but then, where else are you going to see people construct a makeshift shark suit out of shopping carts?
My point exactly.