Let’s take a moment to credit Steven Spielberg’s Jaws (1975) for spawning a whole new genre of film – the shark movies. Besides holding the honour of being the greatest shark movie ever made, the iconic blockbuster is probably also one of the greatest horror films ever made. With a budget of less than $9 million, the movie grossed $472 million worldwide across all its releases, so it’s no wonder studios and filmmakers have been churning out shark movies ever since.
For more than 40 years, audiences have been spoiled with a variety of shark movies across various levels of quality. Aside from the rather abysmal sequels from Jaws, there were the various subject adjacent copycats, including Piranha and Alligator, but in recent years, there have some decent ones, including the truly terrifying The Shallows (2016), the adequately thrilling update The Meg (2017), and of course, who can forget the fabulously ridiculous, made-for-television Sharknado series (2013-2018). Heck, we can even throw in the cute animated Shark Tale (2004) into the mix.
Then we also have bland forgettable titles, such as Shark Bait looking to take a bite of the pie but getting a bad toothache in return. This UK production, directed by James Nunn, has all the elements you’d expect from a shark movie – it’s spring break (the perfect excuse for teenagers to get into trouble) and we see a group of five friends enjoying a night of drinking and partying on a Mexican beach. A mysterious local whose legs are missing dishes a stern warning to the rowdy kids (which they conveniently dismiss, of course), and you know trouble is looming in the distance.
Early next morning, the gang decides to go jet skiing. However, the rental office isn’t open yet and despite advice from the only sensible girl in the group, they proceed to take two skis out to sea anyway. As expected, an accident happens and they sink one ski while playing a silly game. The group becomes stranded in the open sea (with no phone signal, oops!) and becomes fresh food for any predator lurking in the waters. Oh, we haven’t mentioned that one of the chaps broke his leg during the accident, and blood is flowing freely into the sea, so no prizes for guessing which kid is going to die first.
The 85-minute movie does not try to do anything more than what it is supposed to deliver. From the moment the spring-breakers begin huddling to the only working ski for survival, we know they are going to be off-ed one by one by the killer shark, which has been swimming quietly across the screen in the background. It is also easy to guess who is going to live through this ordeal, who becomes shark bait and in what order.
The characters are not exactly likeable and they are played by unknown actors: there is the level-headed Nat (Holly Earl) who is constantly trying to come up with solutions, her obnoxious cheating boyfriend Tom (Jack Trueman) who gets to show off his bod, the well-endowed and predictably foolish Milly (Catherine Hannay) who gets to flaunt her bosoms, the rowdy daredevil Greg (Thomas Flynn) who gets more than he asked for, and the token black friend Tyler (Malachi Pullar-Latchman) who, well, gets his fair share of screen time.
The thrills from the movie are essentially from seeing how the CGI shark attacks the kids. While the effects are not top notch, the blood and gore are enough to make you think twice about going out into the open sea on a jet ski. The movie relies on jump scares more than suspense, and maybe it is for the better because let’s face it – this average but dispensable flick isn’t going down history as an awesome shark movie.
GEEK REVIEW SCORE
Take a guess which annoying spring-breaker lives and who becomes shark feed (bonus points if you get the sequence correctly) in this average but ultimately dispensable movie.
Story - 5/10
Direction - 5.5/10
Characterisation - 4/10
Geek Satisfaction - 5.5/10