Monday 17 August 2015

"Bait" - UK DVD review

“Bait” (not to be confused with the shark film of the same name) is the new revenge thriller from director Dominic Brunt (actor - TVs “Emmerdale”), which is being screened at this years Frightfest, ahead of its UK DVD release in September, and I was fortunate enough to get a look at an advanced screener to review.
The director is no stranger to dark dramas, despite being better known for his soap opera roles. Having previously starred in comedy-horror “Inbred” as well as directing and starring in zombie film “Before Dawn”. I should point out though, that I was not a fan of “Before Dawn”, so was a little apprehensive about this latest film of his. But as I was soon to discover, this was a whole different kind of movie...
The story concerns a couple of girls, Bex (Victoria Smurtfit) and Dawn (Joanne  Mitchell) who are running a tea stall at their local market, when they accept the offer of a money loan from a "friend" of theirs, so they can start their own specialist coffee shop.
Unfortunately, the arrangement goes sour when it turns out their "friend" got the money from some extremely dubious sources, who now want substantial interest payments from them.
Refusing to pay does not go well, as they and their families then find themselves terrorised and hounded by thuggish loan sharks in the most brutal of fashions, who don't care how they get their money. But after one beating too many, they decide its time to turn the tables on their aggressors in a similarly brutal fashion….
Originally filmed under the title "The Taking", the film features a number of actors recognisable from various TV dramas, including Victoria Smurfit (“Once Upon a Time”, “Trial and Retribution”), Joanne Mitchell (Emmerdale), Rula Lenska (Coronation Street, East Enders), Andrew Dunn (Coronation Street) Ross Adams (Hollyoaks) and even Charlie Chuck (who Vic Reeves fans will undoubtedly recognise), but do NOT expect some sort of TV style melodrama here.
This film really touches on some dark, nasty stuff about criminal money lenders and certainly pulls no punches showing just how brutal these people are. As we see them gleefully beating up pensioners and trashing their houses, knocking women about like punchbags and near drowning one young man in his bath tub, whilst his crying daughter is left unattended in her pushchair outside, all for failing to pay their dues on time.
All this makes for extremely grim viewing, particularly the scenes of them taunting Dawn’s autistic son, making the revenge scenes towards the end all the more satisfying. However, I will say that there were a couple of things that didn’t quite sit well with me. I don’t want to go into too much detail, as I don’t want to spoil the plot, but when one of the bad guys is knocked to the floor, don’t let them get up, keep hitting the b*****d. Also, I wish my sink came away from the wall so easily last time I tried to install a new bathroom suite, but anyway.
Whilst the film may not be a “horror” film in the true sense of the word, it’s certainly a very dark and disturbing drama and I’m sure will play well at the Frightfest (particularly the scenes of Victoria Smurfit wandering round with very little on).
No news on what extras will be on the DVD release, but if you do see this at the festival, or you pick this one up on disc after, be sure to watch right to the very end if you want closure on what happens to one of the characters.

A HUGE thankyou to director Dominic Brunt for giving me the opportunity to review this ahead of its release.

For more info, checkout the Frightfest website
Pre-order the UK DVD from

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