'Shark Bait' Review – Another Mediocre Shark Attack Movie That At Least Has Gory Bite – Bloody Disgusting

'Shark Bait' Review – Another Mediocre Shark Attack Movie That At Least Has Gory Bite – Bloody Disgusting

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‘Shark Bait’ Review – Another Mediocre Shark Attack Movie That At Least Has Gory Bite
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‘Shark Bait’ Review – Another Mediocre Shark Attack Movie That At Least Has Gory Bite
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James Nunn‘s Shark Bait earns its praise only by comparison in today’s grim state of contemporary fin flicks. Anyone could record more thrilling aquatic horrors than 2021’s Great White or 2022’s The Requin with a handheld camera, a kiddie pool, and a Street Sharks puppet. Not since 2020’s Deep Blue Sea 3 has shark cinema been shown any justice, but there’s enough of an upswing in Shark Bait to inspire hope for the future. There aren’t any discernible qualities aside from the nature of capsizing and different swimsuits on characters, yet Nunn oversees enough bloody gore and special effects competency to rise above other indies that mistake Steven Spielberg’s Jaws for splish-splashy child’s play.
The only difference between The Reef or Open Water and Shark Bait is the method of oceanic isolation. In Shark Bait, five spring breakers steal two jet skis and ride them miles into Mexican coastal waters, where they stupidly collide while playing chicken. One buoyant vehicle sinks, Greg (Thomas Flynn) severely breaks his leg — exposed bone around salt water, yikes — and Tyler (Malachi Pullar-Latchman) might be concussed. Mexico’s shorelines aren’t in sight, no matter the direction. To make matters worse (for dramatic effect), Kansas good-girl Nat (Holly Earl) finds out her boyfriend Tom (Jack Trueman) cheated with bombshell Milly (Catherine Hannay). I’m sure the hungry and aggressive shark that surfaces will allow Nat, Tom, and Milly to sort through their emotional baggage in peace.
Friend of multiple Bloody Disgusting writers Chris Evangelista proclaimed on Twitter: “CGI werewolves in movies should be illegal.” I’ll extend that sentiment to include sharks because indie horror films have since bastardized the art of aquatic horror with cheapo, Tomb Raider on PS1 lookin’ predators from the depths. The Shallows or 47 Meters Down get away with digitizing their swimming villains because they have the funds to execute lifelike animated sharks that look the part — so let’s get to the point. What’s up with the titular shark in Shark Bait?
Shark Bait review 2022
Maybe the film’s executive producers learned a lesson after scoring rave reviews with 47 Meters Down and then heaping criticism with Great White. Nunn’s background as an action director (frequent Scott Adkins collaborator) and his special effects team’s efforts don’t equal the computerized greatness of The Shallows — but dare I say Shark Bait‘s torpedoing terror doesn’t look that bad in most glimpses? The moments where an underside attack means Big Chompy attempts to swallow everyone on the jet ski but ends up clamping down on legs, unable to bite through the fiberglass hull, are its weakest visual shots. We’re right back to The Requin or Great White when water splashes, snouts thrash, and an unfortunate-looking animated beast just doesn’t belong in frame. Elsewhere, Nunn uses darkening seabed depths or frantic quick cuts to give us something more ferocious and more natural.
Again, maybe this is coming from a sufferer of multiple horrendous cinematic shark attacks in recent memory (King Shark aside) — but Shark Bait generates a monster worth fearing in tension-drenched bursts.
Screenwriter Nick Saltrese attempts what many have before: convince audiences that characters are dumb enough to get themselves stuck in shark-infested waters. That’s less successful, as still-drunk partiers ignore local warnings and steal rentable vehicles only to slam them together miles (and miles) from shore. Once stranded, it’s hard to sustain their bickering, and schemes unfold with the most predictable outcomes. Like, of course Nat is adrift, crammed onto a two-person at best vessel with her cheating scumbag lover and their friend, his last sexual partner. This soap opera tactic adds nothing because Shark Bait isn’t 2022’s latest Shakespearean epic. Nor are survival instincts anything but foolish because plots must advance — or, more correctly, Nunn must endanger victims to stain the waters red. Performances are never offensive, but character arcs are soggy with stuck-at-sea clichés, and there’s never any attempt to elevate Shark Bait.
Why does the shark continue to pursue? How did Nat’s tourists travel so far away from land on jet skis? Why do the dum-dums keep separating themselves? Because you watch shark flicks for the feeding frenzies! No matter how filmmakers chum the waters.
Shark Bait review
To Shark Bait‘s credit, cinematography saturates all the deepest aqua blues and electric bathing suit colors, so it’s never outright ugly to behold. Better yet, inflicted wounds when the shark attacks get vastly more gruesome than one might predict. A significant death as one character clings onto another for dear life — their body submerged waist-down as crimson clouds sell what’s happening below — is pretty freakin’ exceptional for gore fans. Other moments of excitement are more about panicking swimmers bouncing into the air like a SeaWorld trick gone wrong, but that extreme glimpse of gore — albeit VFX heavy — is still a rad dielight for horror fans. Nunn’s highs reach for the sky, but lows find the Mariana Trench.
Shark Bait is another mediocre at best animal attack movie that adheres to countless tropes which plague the genre. It’s markedly better than the last few guppies but ain’t worth a trophy mount. It’s never as hoot-and-holler enjoyable as Shark Night 3D or terrifying as The Shallows. Shark Bait is an appetizer and not a very filling one — but if you’re craving blood as bright as Kool-Aid and a holdover shark movie until the next exceptional subgenre example? Maybe you’ll find that jet skis and Kansas City Chiefs trivia (don’t ask) add enough to shark formulas worth a quickie genre snack.
Shark Bait is now available on VOD outlets.

Bloody ‘Shark Bait’ Clips Suggest This May Actually Be a Fun Shark Attack Movie
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The writer and director Friday the 13th Part VI: Jason Lives, Tom McLoughlin is a huge fan of the Friday the 13th franchise, so much so that he’s been hungry for many years to get a new Friday project off the ground. Of course, the franchise is shackled at the bottom of a lake due to legal issues at the moment, but that hasn’t stopped McLoughlin from writing scripts.
As you may recall, McLoughlin chatted with us back in 2020 about his concept for Jason Never Dies, a screenplay for a direct sequel to Jason Lives that he recently put together.
Bloody Disgusting can exclusively reveal that Tom McLoughlin has also come up with an entirely different screenplay for a Friday project, this one titled Diary of Pamela Voorhees.
McLoughlin worked alongside James Sweet on the concept, a screenplay for a theatrical feature/limited series that he’d love to someday get the chance to bring to life.
McLoughlin tells BD, “Keeping this under wraps for almost a year now, the fan side of us thought it’s the ONLY Friday the 13th this year. And the day of Jason’s birth. If there’s a day to announce, can’t think of any better. And YES, we are heartbreakingly aware that our script, as reported yesterday by CNN, has currently no chance of getting made due to the rights settlement far from resolved. And who knows, maybe whoever finally gets the shared rights might only want to make a hockey masked Jason.”
“When James mentioned wanting to do a story that starts with the birth of Jason, my head exploded with so many episodes and character events we can create,” he continues. “We both just took off on it. The objective was also to reveal how they became the iconic horror legends they are. In fact, we created so many characters and storylines we realized we had a Limited Series as well as a feature length movie.”
Here’s the idea for Diary of Pamela Voorhees, straight from Tom McLoughlin…

Diary of Pamela Voorhees is of course based on Victor Miller’s characters of Pamela Voorhees, and her young son Jason. The story takes place in Post-World War 2 Middle America. People are uncertain, afraid of the unknown, and untrusting. This is the world Mrs. Voorhees and Jason must face. On the night of June 13th, 1946, an abused 16-year-old Pamela gives birth to a facially disfigured, mentally challenged, boy she names Jason.
Over the next ten years we see the painful life this shunned single mother must survive to raise and protect her Jason who most of all these people treat as a freak. Her psychopathic mind turns darker, then vengeful as she brutally kills any detractor of her son. They then move on, Pamela fantasizing on finding some place that’s truly theirs. Both the film and limited series conclude with their arrival at Camp Crystal Lake May 19th, 1956. (The rest we know.)
McLoughlin explains, “Pamela’s diary allows us deeper insight into how she feels. It’s particularly even more unsettling as we hear her psychopathic and sociopathic thoughts and plans. I wanted to approach this as if this was a true story. Every event and character are believable. No supernatural aspects. As extreme as her murders are they are passion kills. Serial killers like Aileen Wuornos (Charlize Theron in ‘Monster’) are more emotionally horrifying being connected a belief or honest rationalization. There’s also a deeply disturbing and creepy aspect seeing the child Jason watching, maybe learning from his mothers’ savage murders. Blood splattered; Mrs. Voorhees embraces her son with a genuine mother’s warmth. Gently explaining to him why these wicked people need to die. ‘If we don’t kill them, Jason, they’ll keep hurting more people like us. There’s no God who will punish them. Only us, Jason.’”
“So, we will all continue to wait for the outcome of the settlement. And James and I will keep tinkering and tweaking the script,” McLoughlin finishes out his chat with BD. “Meanwhile…Happy Birthday, Jason. And Happy Friday the 13th to all you Friday Fans. And keep making those Fan Funded Films. You guys may truly be the future of the Voorhees Family.”
Happy Friday the 13th indeed. Check out McLoughlin’s concept poster below!
Diary of Pamela Voorhees poster
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