I’ve been a fan of shark movies since the 70s when as a very young child, I saw the Spielberg classic ‘Jaws’ which mentally scarred me as it did pretty much everyone that saw it. Over the years there have been lots of shark movies and whilst I’m not sure shark movies are a genre, for the sake of this article. I’m making it one. The thing I love about shark movies is that its a really simplistic thing. You have a shark (or sharks), and you have some people (or a person) and you put them in the water (or surround them by water) and then you press play on the story. Shark v Human(s). Yet with each shark movie, so many clever things are done to make sure that you aren’t watching the same film over and over again. You get woman stuck on a rock in the middle of the sea (The Shallows), genetically engineered sharks (Deep Blue Sea), a couple left behind in the water after a scuba dive (Open Water), people who forget to put the ladder down before they leap of the yacht for a swim (Adrift:Open Water II) and that’s just to name a few, there’s also The Meg, The Reef, Bait, Dark Tide, and so many more films featuring the swimming eating machines that most people fear and I don’t think I’ve seen them all yet, but I have seen most of them. So whenever a new shark movie sticks its fin above the water, I do like to check it out, just to see what the writers and filmmakers have done to make their film a little different from the others.
The most recent one I’ve seen is Shark Bait, from a screenplay by Nick Saltrese and directed by James Nunn ( Tower Block, One Shot) and which stars Holly Earl ( TV’s Humans), Catherine Hannay (American Carnage), Thomas Flynn (Bridgerton), Jack Trueman (short film The Conversation), and Malachi Pullar-Latchman (Open All Night) in the main roles.
Shark Bait (also known as Jetski in some territories) sees the group of five spring-breakers thinking that nicking off with a couple of someone else’s jet-ski’s is a fun prank for their final day of their spring break trip. (spoiler: it isn’t a fun prank and is going to turn their good day into a nightmare) When the jet ski’s break down in the middle of the ocean the five friends realise that perhaps taking this sea trip wasn’t the smartest of ideas and this is reinforced even more when a great white shark starts to circle around them.
I’ve been a fan of filmmaker James Nunn’s work for many years now and anytime I see or hear about a new film that he is involved with, it heads onto my watch list. Shark Bait was there since I first heard about it earlier this year and now that I’ve seen the film, oh boy does it deserve a place on my favourite films I’ve seen this year. Perhaps the fact I love shark movies, just makes this even better but I really, really enjoyed Shark Bait. Its runtime is a nice lean 84 minutes, and there is no waste in the film at all. The five main characters in the film (well six if you count the shark) are a great mix, with some of them we hope do end up being chomped by the finned monster and some we really want to make it out alive. its a great blend that helps adds tons of tension to this film and for me this film had buckets of tension, right up to the very end of the film. I also do love a film that makes me talk to the screen when watching it and I did do this quite a few times throughout (pretty sure one of the characters actually heard me at one point as they did what i said to them. Phew!!!!!)
The production side of Shark Bait I also really enjoyed, the locations looked wonderful, the water looked very inviting (other than the shark being in there of course) and the (just to get a little geeky) underwater photography looked great too, there are some really beautiful shots taken from underwater but showing the cast sitting on the jetski’s. Id have those as a print on my wall!. Also Id mentioned locations and whilst the film is set in Mexico. I did quickly recognize the filming locations as being in Malta (a place I’ve been to many times over the years. love that island) Now even though I know there aren’t sharks in Malta, thanks to James Nunn and crew, the next time I am in that ocean. Ill be making sure I don’t swim too far out. (thanks a bunch James and Co!!!).
This is well shark movies work. Water+People+Shark= Oh My God, get out the water!. Its a simple formula but when done right its fantastic and the Shark Bait team nailed it! Whilst trying to find some stills for this article, I found most of them contained spoilers so you just get this one, Showing Greg (played by Thomas Flynn), Nat (played by Holly Earl) and Milly (played by Catherine Hannay) on one of the jetski’s shouting at someone (or something). To go into the plot anymore than that would take away some of the enjoyment and tension and no one did that for me, so I wont do it to you either. I cant even really go into who my favourite character was, but there is one (but i don’t want to spoil anything for you)
So if you love shark movies, movies with tension, and movies with a basic simplistic formula that do wonderful things with that formula then please do check out Shark Bait. I had a blast watching this film and I cant recommend it enough. Just remember though. If you have the urge to drive off with someones jetski…please, please DONT!