"The Shallows" seems to be an attempt to forge a marriage between critic friendly drama ("Open Water"?) and plebeian friendly entertainment ("Shark Night"?), although the relationship ends up being somewhat turbulent, if passionate.
"Bait" gave me some awesome stuff to chew on: The creative premise, excellent set design, good animatronic shark effects, effective suspense and grotesque violence. But I had to spit out some unsavory seeds, such as crappy character writing, melodramatic drama, inconsistent CGI and a bi-polar tone.
“The Reef” coasts off the formula designed by “Jaws” and “Open Water”, never doing ANYTHING new or unique itself. Yet the problem is that even though it’s a storm of shark movie clichés, it actually executes the formula fairly well. Even if the majority of its scare tactics were invented by Steven Spielberg 40 years ago, at least the filmmakers of “The Reef” applied them effectively.