“Jaws” it’s not. Nor is it in the same category as “The Shallow”. Heck, I wouldn’t even lump it in with “The Meg”. But “The Requin” has sharks in it so at least they all have that in common. Unfortunately for it, the presence of sharks alone doesn’t make a movie entertaining. And in this case, when they do finally show up, they only add to the litany of problems that make this one of the worst movies of the year despite its good intentions.
“The Requin” is written and directed by Le-Van Kiet whose other 2022 film, “The Princess” was an underwhelming yet considerably better effort. With “The Requin”, the filmmaker’s story is all over the map. He tries to make an emotional family drama and a genre thriller at the same time. Sadly neither lands well and both are hampered with their own sets of problems that they simply can’t overcome.
Alicia Silverstone plays Jaelyn who is vacationing with her husband, Kyle (James Tupper). The couple are working through some heavy issues, namely losing their baby during a recent childbirth. It’s put a strain on their marriage as Kyle pushes to put it behind them while Jaelyn still struggles with PTSD and overwhelming feelings of guilt. So they’ve come to a luxury beach resort in Vietnam to try and save their marriage. But things start a little shaky and you can (sorta) feel the tension between the struggling couple.
Kyle has rented out an expensive above-water cabana with all the amenities, an exquisite ocean view, and snorkeling right outside their back door. Everything seems ideal except for one small detail – Jaelyn and Kyle came during monsoon season (smart). And wouldn’t you know it, a tropical storm hits in the middle of the night, shaking them from sleep. Before they’re able to escape, the storm knocks their cabana off its stilts and sends it drifting out to sea (don’t you hate it when that happens).
Thanks to this preposterous scenario, the movie quickly shifts from a relationship drama to an open-water survival thriller. But just as the undercooked relationship stuff is hard to get into, so is the survival angle, mainly because of the laughably hokey dialogue, the exaggerated performances, and the incredibly dumb decisions our two protagonists make. And when the CGI sharks finally arrive (nearly an hour into the movie), they actually make things even more ridiculous. It all culminates in an ending so mind-numbingly absurd, that it kills any sympathy you may have held for the film.
When watching “The Requin” you can see the gears turning as the film tries to bring something different to the screen. But the cheesy (and at times cringe-worthy) melodrama never remotely feels authentic. And the ludicrous character blunders and the laughably bad CGI make the whole man-versus-nature elements impossible to buy. And while its great to see Alicia Silverstone in a lead role, it’s a shame she’s give such bad material that more or less sets her up to fail. “The Requin” is now available of VOD and is streaming on Hulu.