[Blu-ray/DVD Review] THE REQUIN
Courtesy Lionsgate
I love shark movies. From Jaws to Deep Blue Sea to The Shallows, shark movies are great for tapping into our fears of what’s lurking deep beneath the surface. Vietnamese-born filmmaker Le-Van Kiet, known for his 2019 martial arts/crime thriller, Furie, the highest-grossing Vietnamese film in history, has taken a dive into aquatic horror territory with his latest film, THE REQUIN. Having dabbled in the horror genre with films like 2012’s House in the Alley and Bay Cap 3, I had hoped that Kiet would be able to navigate these rocky waters, but unfortunately, THE REQUIN sinks faster than a capsized boat.

In THE REQUIN we meet Jaelyn (Alicia Silverstone) and Kyle (James Tupper), a couple who have experienced a tragic loss after a home birth goes wrong. Deciding to reconnect, the couple travels to Vietnam during its off-season for some R&R. While there, they are notified that a storm is approaching but after being reassured by hotel staff that their overwater bungalow would be safe, the couple hunkers down. However, when the storm crashes into their bungalow, they find themselves drifting off into the sea with no way to communicate for help. As their situation becomes more dire, the couple finds themselves not only fighting against the elements but for their lives as sharks begin to circle their bungalow.

I’m not going to sugarcoat anything. I couldn’t have disliked this movie more. Let’s start with the story, which is an absolute joke. None of the decisions that any of these characters make makes sense. I get traveling to another country during their off-season. That makes sense finance-wise. But then to do everything opposite of what was needed to make sure they were safe was flown right out the window. One could argue that they trusted the hotel staff and didn’t think anything would come of it, but it’s not like they couldn’t see the violent storm approaching. And, once the inevitable happens, they continue to make brainless decisions such as letting Kyle’s blood-soaked foot dangle in the ocean, and then feigning shock when sharks arrive, to leaving their only source of clean water baking in the sun (even though they have shade) resulting in “scorched balls” for Kyle.

What also makes this movie so aggravating is that there’s clearly talent there. Alicia Silverstone is beloved and iconic, having given us great performances in roles from films such as Clueless to even small bits in horror films such as The Lodge and The Killing of a Sacred Deer. So to see her reduced to an unhinged, screaming woman with cringe-worthy dialogue was a total bummer. Literally, the movie is 90% Alicia Silverstone screaming, and believe me, it grates on you quickly. Alicia Silverstone deserved better! As for James Tupper, he’s had great turns in series such as “Big Little Lies” and “Revenge,” but it’s clear that in THE REQUIN, he’s just here for the paycheck. With barely a reaction to their grave situation or the injuries he sustains, he felt more like a cardboard cutout than a real person.

I thought at the very least we would get some stunning beach visuals, but that was stripped away in favor of cheap-looking CGI. If you’re familiar with the Universal Studios backlot, it’s easy to deduce that they opted to use the massive swimming tank – which is fine, some of the most accomplished films have done the same. However, they chose a cheap backdrop of the ocean which did nothing to make the situation feel real. Even more unusual were the compelling shots featured during flashbacks of the birth sequence. However, we never return to that style at any point during the remainder of the film. It felt very out of place with the rest of the film. On top of all that, there was nothing about the ocean that looked real. The water is pristine, the sharks are, well, CGI sharks and the blood looks like someone dropped a pitcher of Kool-Aid. Don’t even get me started on the makeup.

Overall, THE REQUIN is a hard pass. Sure, there’s one moment that had me giggling as a shark jumped out of the water and over Alicia Silverstone’s head, but outside of that, there’s nothing to save here. Honestly, I’m exhausted from writing this review and I wish I could get back the 90 or so minutes I lost from watching this movie. In a sea filled with great shark movies, THE REQUIN is the least jaw-some of all.

THE REQUIN is now available to own on Blu-ray™ + Digital and DVD from Lionsgate.

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