In the latest outing from writer/director Le-Van Kiet, The Requin follows a couple (Alicia Silverstone and James Tupper) seeking refuge and relaxation in Vietnam following a traumatizing stillbirth. They vacation during monsoon season and surprise! A monsoon happens, sweeping their floating villa out to sea. Their relationship is put to the test as they must fight for survival. Fighting for survival, in this film, mainly means yelling for help at distant planes or boats.
If you, like me, were titillated at the promise of sharks, then prepare for disappointment. At nearly an hour in, it seems the sharks have finally descended, only for it to be a pod of friendly dolphins instead (which was actually a pretty funny moment). Unfortunately, this further delays the arrival of the promised carnage until the last 30 minutes of the film. Once the sharks finally arrive, it is laughably obvious that they are plasticy models splashing around in bloodied water. If Jaws could figure out how to make a subpar shark model scary back in 1974, then The Requin has no excuse for looking like a ride at Universal Studios.
The visual quality of the image certainly doesn’t help things. Despite some cool shots (Silverstone flailing mid-air as waves buffer the room, a crane out from the broken window to reveal the floating wreckage), the digital cinematography feels flat. Once the survival portion of the story kicks off, it becomes painfully obvious that Silverstone and Tupper are lounging in some sound studio with the SoCal sun beating down on them. Even the VFX of a harsh storm or a roaring fire feels flaccid.
The film is clearly trying to pair a taut relationship drama with a survival story. That said, neither narrative hook feels all that gripping. The worst thing a film can be is mediocre, and unfortunately, The Requin has mediocrity in spades. Sometimes it tries to be interesting, but it fizzles out like a candle in a damp cave. Get your survival drama/shark attack fix somewhere else. – Audrey Griffin
The Requin is available on various VOD platforms.