The opening credits for The Requin, (that’s French for shark BTW), take place against the kind of foggy background that you could easily believe you’re about to see a ghost story. Which might not be a bad thing because, while he’s best known for the action film Furie, Vietnamese writer/director Le-Van Kiet also made the very effective haunted house film The House in the Alley.
But The Requin isn’t another supernatural shocker, it’s another shark attack movie. Jaelyn (Alicia Silverstone, Killing of a Sacred Deer, Clueless) and Kyle (James Tupper, Totem, Revenge) have taken a vacation trip to Vietnam to help get over her miscarriage. This calls for some touristy B roll footage and an execrable pop song on the couple’s way to the beachfront resort and floating villa.
Of course, things go wrong almost as soon as they arrive. Kyle injures his foot on a rock, the sight of blood in the water triggers bad memories for Jaelyn and foreshadows what’s to come. That night a storm blows in trashing the villa and washing them, along with the wreckage out to sea. And we all know what lives in the sea, big, hungry sharks. And in a film called The Requin we should be seeing them pretty soon, right?
Having liked both Furie and The House in the Alley I had some high hopes for The Requin. I really wanted to see a new twist on shark films even though the plot sounded a bit like Swim meets Great White. Unfortunately, the pace is much too slow and the thrills far too few. The storm sequence is totally devoid of tension. Even the scene of Jaelyn nearly getting tossed into the ocean is bland, in part because it’s so obviously filmed in a studio tank.
And the sharks? For a film called The Requin, (shouldn’t that be Le Requin?), they take their time showing up. There’s a jump scare with a school of fish, but we don’t see a fin until the fifty-minute mark and that’s a dolphin, the actual sharks show up around the hour mark. So we get half an hour of tourist footage, half an hour of bickering at sea, and then it turns into a shark attack film.
That doesn’t really make things any better though. By this point I was bored and both characters had gotten on my nerves to the point I didn’t really care. And then Kiet goes for what’s supposed to be a big shock but anyone whose seen a film like this, or read any accounts of sharks and shipwrecks we see coming almost immediately.
One thing that is innovative about The Requin is the casting. Usually, it’s the name performer that’s only in the film for five minutes. Alicia Silverstone is in almost every scene in the film, but the shark is the one making a cameo. But then considering how poorly rendered the CGI beast is, that may be a plus after all. How bad is it? Apart from looking like a cartoon, the version we see swimming seems to be about one-third the size of the monster that leaps from the water.
Cap it all off with an incredible non-ending and The Requin is another disappointment in what’s been a rather long string of them lately. Fans of Alicia Silverstone can enjoy seeing her in a bathing suit early in the film. For anyone else, there’s nothing to see here.
The Requin is being released in limited theatres by Saban Films. It’s also available on VOD and Digital platforms from Lionsgate who at least surprised me by finding something worse than Amityville Uprising (2022) Review so quickly. In the UK Altitude Film Distribution will release it on February 21st under the title From Below.