Reviews | Written by John Townsend 04/02/2022

FROM BELOW

Person or persons find themselves stranded in shark-infested waters. The Shallows? 47 Metres Down? Great White? Well, continuing down this well-swum channel comes From Below, originally titled The Requin, and it’s pretty much what you’d expect.

So, there’s screaming, sharks and swimming… why mess with the formula?

Jaelyn (Alicia Silverstone) and Kyle (James Tupper) are on an idyllic Vietnam retreat to help them work through a recent family tragedy. When a monsoon hits the resort, their pier-based chalet is swept away, leaving Kyle injured and the couple lost at sea.

For a film originally titled quite literally The Shark – Requin is shark in French – there’s not an awful lot of the toothy predator in Le-Van Kiet’s aquatic adversity. Nearly an hour of recriminations, falling ins and outs, and Silverstone’s increasingly irritating shrieking passes before a threatening fish finally makes an appearance. Cue more shrieking.

The trouble with not deviating from the formula is that things quickly become rather bland. Other filmmakers played around with the sub-genre, creating new if not entirely original scenarios that at least generated some intrigue. Kiet has instead stuck rigidly to the premise. And done so with a heavy reliance on VFX shots – almost 1,000 reportedly - and you can see every single unconvincing one; you’ll encounter more realistic sharks in Finding Nemo.

Sadly, with the scary fish reduced to cameo roles, the primary reason you’re watching is absent for long periods. But if Alicia Silverstone gazing forlornly through CGI smoke and screaming a lot is your thing, then From Below is for you.

Watch From Below on Altitude.film and other digital platforms from February 7th and on DVD from February 21st