The Requin (2022) Is Shark Horror with No Bite
Title: The Requin
First Non-Festival Release: January 28, 2022 (Limited Theatrical Release)
Director: Le-Van Kiet
Writer: Le-Van Kiet
Runtime: 89 Minutes
Starring: Alicia Silverstone, James Tupper, Danny Chung
Where to Watch: Check out where to find it here
A painful miscarriage brings Jaelyn (Alicia Silverstone) and her husband Kyle (James Tupper) on what is supposed to be a relaxing vacation to picturesque Vietnam. They resolve to go home once they realize that Jaelyn cannot handle the vacation. Their plan is to spend one last night in their hotel room, which floats on the bay, before re-booking their flights and checking out. Unfortunately, a passing tropical storm making landfall overnight sweeps their suite out into the open ocean with the couple in tow. The two must contend with the elements, the wildlife, and each other to make it out alive.
Slapshot writing and directing dull the terror of being lost at sea and weathering shark attacks in misguided The Requin.
The sequence of events in this film are rushed to the film’s detriment. Its initial premise of the couple being swept out to see in a hotel room had to potential to be squeezed more. By destroying the structure so soon and relegating the duo to driftwood so early, The Requin loses any tension that could have been wrung out of a slowly falling apart sea vessel. This happens time and again during The Requin where it rushes through set pieces without much thought or reason.
Some of the most baffling writing decisions are made throughout the course of The Requin are impossible to brush aside. From using water bottles to create fire and creating a mysterious fog that suddenly clears when the protagonist spots another person, there are so many choices that either highlight egregiously dumb decision making in characters or falls into overly indulgent direction. What’s worse, this spills into the dialogue too. Between robotic delivery and a puzzlingly high amount of weird jokes and symbolic word vomit, the script is painful to endure.
The chemistry between Alicia Silverstone and James Tupper is the one highlight of the performances in The Requin. Despite Silverstone’s freewheeling performance and Tupper’s limited screen time, the two make for a very sympathetic couple. It’s clear their characters care for one another even if they don’t make the best decisions as a team.
On their own, or when Silverstone is alone, things descend into something bizarre. Yes, the situation is dire but Silverstone’s decisions feel less rooted in reality or authentic character choices and into something more unhinged. It is even more disconcerting considering that Silverstone is a talented actress who has given plenty of great performances in the past. It doesn’t help that Jaelyn is a rather two-dimensional character. Her backstory drives the film, but beyond that, who is she? From her actions she is fearful and traumatized, but that is the extent of her personality throughout most of the film before finding her ‘inner strength’ in the end.
Even on the technical side, there is very little to appreciate in this plodding and unintentionally hilarious sharkspoliation flick. The shark effects are horrendously bad. The Requin cuts between footage of real sharks milling about before thrusting some cgi monstrosity for the viewer to gawk at. It borders on the offensive how many times the team takes the shark out to dry by repeatedly showing it in continuously hilarious renderings before finally taking mercy on it in the end. The set design too is noticeably cheap and poorly done. Everything looks like it is created on a half-priced sound stage or some hand-me-down Hollywood set that’s weathered a few films too many.
Shark centric horror films are notorious for their ineptitudes, but The Requin takes it a step further by continuously dropping the bar. Despite a heavy budget of reportedly $8.5 million dollars, this aquatic thrill ride barely makes a splash when it comes to creating any sort of tension or dread. Beyond the uncanny fake sets, horrendous special effects, and the dumbfoundingly brainless script, the performances, which should provide some sort of anchor for the film, are abysmal. There is next to nothing to recommend in The Requin beyond the gimmick of its admittedly intriguing premise. Those hoping for a savior on the horizon for good shark horror must accept their fate and swim onward.
Overall Score? 3/10