Bait 2012 Jaws in a Grocery Store

Bait 2012

I finally broke down and watched the Australian/Singaporean horror film Bait. In a film that can be best described as Jaws in a grocery store, my sights weren’t aimed very high.

But, I was surprised to find, I liked it.

Directed by Kimble Rendall and starring, sort of,  Julian McMahon  of  Nip/Tuck fame (who looks like he’s had a nip or a tuck, or at the very least a shed load of Botox) and a host of Australian character actors it was actually fairly entertaining.

It might have something to do with my low expectations going in. Although, to be honest, I always try to keep them low  when watching any film, it tends to make them all that bit more enjoyable. At the heart of the movie it is just an old-fashioned disaster film that, in this case, takes the recent (and somewhat disturbing) trend of tsunami films and adds in a few great white sharks.

The film opens with a couple of good looking Aussie fellas (read the previous sentence with an Australian accent, it helps set the mood) who are lifeguards. One is extremely hungover from his bachelor party the night before and his best mate goes out to “set the buoy” in the water.

Hangover boy goes to see his fiancé who happens to be his best mates sister. While they are visiting, a great white shark makes a snack of an old loud mouthed swimmer and then goes on to his best mate. In the best tradition of shark films everywhere, the best mate gets almost  rescued before he dies.

Fast forward and hangover boy has obviously lost the girl and works in a grocery/department store and Julian McMahon is about to rob it. As soon as the action starts (the robbery action) everything is interrupted by a tsunami.

We are then treated to some jolly good Aussie stereotypes who are trapped in the store with one man-eating monster and a trio of more stereotypes who are trapped in the underground car park. The action moves between the two groups until near the end of the film.

All the characters were fun except for McMahon. His biggest problem was his accent. He didn’t (again, read this bit with an Australian accent) “sound like a Yank” and he didn’t sound like “an Aussie.” No one even brought up the fact that this robber wasn’t a local lad.

Okay, so they were all trying to keep away from a giant great white shark, but hey, his accent was pretty noticeable. I could not for the life of decide if he’d been living in Australia in real life and his accent was just the result or if he was trying to sound Australian.

Either way, it was a bit off putting.

Still, accent problems aside (as well as the fact that the film was obviously film for 3D, which I don’t have) the film did one thing very well, it entertained.

All the characters were pretty much two dimensional and for some reason that didn’t bother me. To be honest, to expect multi-layered characters in what was essentially a disaster film is being a bit foolhardy, not to mention optimistic. If you want depth, go watch Oliver’s King Hamlet.

Besides, if you’re going to keep killing your cast off,  just how deep do you want them to be?

The film looked great. The cinematography was crisp and looked so inviting that even after the tsunami hit, I wanted to head over there and throw a few more “shrimp on the barbie.”

I’d have to say that this was a 4 out of 5 stars just for the entertainment value (and the novelty) of sharks in a car park and a grocery store.

A fun film to watch.

jaws in a grocery store

Dream Home (2010): Chinese Urban Horror

This cross genre Chinese film about a girl seeking her “dream Home” is a must see. Here are my thoughts about the film. Enjoy.

We are the Night (2010) German Vampires

A German vampire film that’s on Netflix at the moment. Good gory fun.

Berberian Sound Studio (1012): Sounds like a Winner!

My take on this brilliant low budget British film!

Sleep Tight (2011): Scary Spanish Thriller

Sleep_Tight

Directed by Jaume Balagueró who is the man behind REC, REC 2 , Fragile, and Darkness; so his bona fides in the horror/thriller genre are beyond question. He has not disappointed with his latest entry into the genre with Sleep Tight. Even with such an impressive pedigree of horror films under his belt, Wikipedia states that this is the first film that Jaume has directed solo since the 2005 horror/thriller Fragile.

The Plot: 

Concierge Cesar appears at first glance to be the capable and ever helpful  sort of man who has everyone’s best interests at heart. We soon learn that this facade is paper thin and he only wants to spread misery and unhappiness amongst his charges. He develops an obsession with the eternally cheerful Clara who has thus far resisted his attempts to wipe the ubiquitous smile off her face. He goes to great lengths to ensure that her life is ruined. This spreading of misery is what truly makes Cesar happy and he will stop at nothing to reach his goal.

The Cast:

Luis Tosar
César
Marta Etura
Clara
Alberto San Juan
Marcos
Petra Martínez
Sra. Verónica
Iris Almeida
Úrsula (as Iris Almeida Molina)
Cesar aka Luis Tosar.
Cesar aka Luis Tosar.

The Device:

Cesar uses his position as the apartment’s Concierge to gain access to all the tenants private lives.

The Twist:

Cesar himself is the twist, but you will ask yourself, was the woman in the hospital really  his Madre (mother)?

The Characters:

Cesar is a real piece of work. He has a smile for everyone and is pleasantly charming while he weaves his nasty spell. Señora Veronica is a older single woman who has dogs instead of children and is lonely. Ursula is a nosey and perhaps younger version of Cesar; she knows what he’s doing. Clara is the beautiful, friendly and eternally optimistic tenant who Cesar wants to ruin. He feels that his life’s purpose is to share his pathological unhappiness with the world.

Watching this film, I could not help but make a connection between Cesar and Stephen King’s milkman, Spike Milligan, in his short story Morning Deliveries. Both this film and the short story created the same feeling of unease crossed with distaste bordering on alarm.

The eternally cheerful Clara aka
The eternally cheerful Clara aka Marta Etura.

The Action:

This film kept me on the edge of my seat. Halfway through the film, it became almost unwatchable as Cesar gets more and more daring in his pursuit of unhappiness for Clara. There are some scenes towards the end of the film that had me clenching my teeth and white-knuckling my chair. The suspense was nigh on unbearable and the tension was excruciating.

The Verdict:

All the actors did a marvellous job selling their characters. Louis Tosar, who made me think so much of Joaquin Phoenix that I began to wonder if they were indeed brothers, as Cesar was beyond brilliant. And Marta Etura kept up her end of the acting bargain. Even the little girl who shadows Cesar’s actions does a superb job. Actor Alberto San Juan who shows up towards the end of the film as Clara’s boyfriend Marcos also does a more than adequate turn in the limited time given to his character.

This was a real 5 star film filled with slow moving Dionysian pathos and unbearable tension as we wait for Cesar to get caught, arrested or killed. If this the work that Juame Balagueró is capable of when he directs solo, they should let him do all his further projects alone.

Watch this film.

I wouldn't want this guy in my closet.
I wouldn’t want this guy in my closet.