Review of the film Under Paris

In early June, Netflix released “Under Paris” (Sous la Seine), directed by Xavier Gens. This film follows scientist Sophia, who must stop a giant mako shark named Lilith terrorizing Paris.
Despite an implausible plot and surreal situations, the film’s special effects and action sequences offer light entertainment for shark movie enthusiasts.

In early June, Netflix released “Under Paris” (Sous la Seine), a dramatic-horror film directed by Xavier Gens. As scuba diving enthusiasts, we felt compelled to watch it, even though the poster alone was quite telling: a shark the size of a bus in Paris… we didn’t expect much.

underwater paris netflix movie

Plot summary

Year 2021: scientist Sophia and her team are tracking a rare mako shark named Lilith, which has grown to exceptional size.
During an attempt to collect a sample, Sophia’s husband and team are killed. Sophia dives in to find out what happened, but nearly drowns when dragged by Lilith, barely making it back to the surface. This harrowing experience leaves her deeply scarred.

Year 2024: Sophia now works at the Paris Aquarium. Environmental activist Mika informs her that Lilith has surfaced in the Seine.
With the World Triathlon Championship approaching, Sophia knows Lilith must be returned to the sea before causing more casualties. With the help of Adil, the captain of the river police, Sophia must stop Lilith before it’s too late.

The plot of “Under Paris” unfolds in the Parisian metro, where a group of mutant sharks rapidly reproduces in the catacombs, beginning to terrorize the city.

Watch the trailer

Main characters of Under Paris film

The actors of “Under Paris” do their best to lend credibility to the characters despite the improbable plot. Bérénice Bejo plays Sophia, while Nassim Si Ahmed portrays Adil, the head of the river police operations. The chemistry between the two leads is palpable, adding a touch of humanity to a story otherwise dominated by typical splatter effects of shark films. The environmental activist Mika is played by Léa Lévian.

The team develops an exceptional series of action sequences that resemble real hand-to-hand combat between the police and the shark. Bérénice Bejo is very convincing, and Nassim truly shines. Fortunately, no renowned actors ruined their careers by participating in this reputation-lowering film. Recall that Jason Statham lost a lot of credibility by starring in “The Meg.”

under paris film scene

A superfluous shark film

In comparison with other shark films, “Under Paris” falls into a similar category as “Sharknado” and “Deep Blue Sea.” While “Sharknado” is known for its total absurdity and deliberately ironic approach, “Deep Blue Sea” offers tight action with genetically modified sharks in an underwater laboratory. Both of these films share with “Under Paris” an over-the-top and out-of-the-box approach but manage to entertain thanks to their self-aware exaggeration.

A film that tackles shark conservation with a more serious tone is “The Meg,” which, despite its sci-fi premise, manages to better balance educational elements with entertainment. Steven Spielberg’s masterpiece “Jaws” remains a benchmark for the genre, managing to scare the audience without slipping into the ridiculous.

scene of under paris film

Final verdict

“Under Paris” is a film that, despite its good intentions to raise awareness, gets lost in an implausible plot and absurd situations. It remains an enjoyable watch for fans of the genre looking for light entertainment but offers nothing particularly innovative or memorable compared to other shark films.

The special effects are well-executed, and some tension-filled scenes are enjoyable for horror enthusiasts. However, the idea of sharks infesting the Paris metro is surreal, to say the least, not to mention the film’s final scenes (which we won’t spoil here).

“Under Paris” attempts to combine elements of various genres but, in doing so, loses its main identity as a shark film. The plot focuses too much on disastrous aspects, straying from the central theme of shark attacks, which can be disappointing for fans of the genre. Additionally, the serious and irony-free approach makes the film less enjoyable, especially when the plot defies logic. Had it embraced its absurd and chaotic side, the final result would have been likely more entertaining and engaging for the audience, albeit still nonsensical.

It’s a film to watch for those seeking a mix of horror and adventure with a touch of ecological awareness, but best avoided if one prefers strict realism or a more serious and profound narrative. Nonetheless, it’s 90 minutes of ‘free’ entertainment for Netflix subscribers. One of the more notable entries among the many aquatic attack horror films that have tried to follow in the footsteps of Steven Spielberg’s “Jaws”… But when the inevitable bloodbath begins, “Under Paris” seems to take cues from the more chaotic shark attack films.

A strong contender for a finalist among the worst scuba diving films.