Film Reviews

The Requin (2022)

It’s not often that movies are actually filmed in and take place primarily underwater but if done right, it feels like the perfect angle for a horror movie.

Alexandre Bustillo and Julien Maury’s The Deep House gives you just enough time to take in one big breath before diving head first into the cold waters of a French man made lake for the rest of its runtime.

In this particular lake is an abandoned mansion that conjures a young haunted travel vlogging couple, Ben and Tina played by James Jagger and Camille Rowe, to monetarily explore its eerie presence.

Expecting to find only the large structure left standing on the lake floor, what they find inside is much more than expected and with absolutely no means of escape. This mansion is enormous and that’s clear when the couple descend upon it and swim around its exteriors but once inside the completely boarded up place, the many creepy rooms still mostly preserved in completely surrounding watery darkness makes you feel uncomfortably claustrophobic.

The dark and sinister history of the Montegnac Mansion is awakened by the arrival of its latest guests and so this aquatic exploration quickly turns into a horrifying race against time and the terrors that still lurk within this sunken purgatory. Sanity levels deplete even faster than the supplied oxygen tanks do and it fully illustrates wave after wave of dreadful and hopeless panic.

Bustillo and Maury have collaborated on a handful of horror movies since the early 2000s. From their first and still best work on the 2007 film Inside, each movie sadly seemed to get worse from there, especially their 2017 Leatherface film. This movie is easily their 2nd best movie so far. The Deep House is a rather straightforward horror movie but with technical design that is just exceptionally incomparable to any other horror movie out there.

Check it out on Hulu or Paramount Plus.

If you come across The Requin wherever you may be, you’ll see the decent looking poster with the shark plastered front and center and think to yourself “Now this looks like the latest great shark movie!” and then you’ll find out it stars the wonderful Alicia Silverstone against that monstrous looking great white and so this cinematic combination may be enough to lure you in.

It’s with great sadness that I report that neither of these aforementioned components work, together or on their own, it’s a bit too misleading in its marketing and as a result the movie is not good at all.

Director and writer Le-Van Kiet does achieve a decently original premise regardless of how ridiculous it really is. 

Alicia Silverstone stars as Jaelyn who is on a much needed vacation with her husband Kyle played by James Tupper. The two leave behind a traumatic past miscarriage and the stresses of work for a luxurious but empty beach side resort in Vietnam. It looks like a great deal of the film was shot on a soundstage with green screens.

Passive aggressively ridiculed by her husband, Jaelyn is haunted by what she’s left behind and lost but it quickly becomes irrelevant in the deadly face of survival. A late night monsoon tears apart their floating villa and then washes them out to sea. But if that’s not enough, insult is added to their injuries after their villa burns down after an attempted smoke signal, sharks begin to circle the bloody waters and feast on the lost drifters. This comes at about an hour into the film and from out of nowhere as far as the plot goes. So really the movie is more a stranded at sea survival story than it is a shark attack. 30 minutes can be enough to produce some zoological thrilling goodness. But once the sharks are revealed past their fins the awful CGI is exposed and what was left of the narrative threat is no longer there. It looks like every single shark was created differently but not intentionally or anything, like they used different CGI models and it’s painfully obvious. None of the blood shed or damage done is believable and none of the action works at all, just add it all to the pile of issues. Although the climax provides us with the best looking shark of them all, it also appears to be created differently than the sharks that initially attacked. Alicia has one final fight with this behemoth and miraculously manages to kill it in the most ridiculous way, but at this point you just have to go along with it to see the movie finally come to an end.

I really feel bad about feeling so negatively about the film because you can tell that an attempt was made to produce a thrilling survival drama. The concept’s originality is there and probably best represented on paper and Le-Van Kiets direction appears to be knowledgeable of the medium, even if it’s as straightforward as possible. James Tupper’s performance is lacking but even Alicia Silverstone, once a young and promising actor puts herself out there with an animated performance… just not very good at all. Nothing seems to land quite like it’s intended to and I feel bad about it. Emotional moments are meant to feel powerful, horrifying, life or death but they never achieve any of it. And then the bad CGI work wraps an anchor around the movie and drags it down into the darkest depths of the ocean where it will quickly be forgotten.

Despite how bad I feel about my opinion of the movie, The Requin just doesn’t provide anything  more than an hour and a half of riffing fun.

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