Director Xavier Gens is known for directing big-scale action blockbusters including some episodes from Netflix’s “Lupin.” Now, he returns to the streaming giant with “Under Paris” (Original title: Sous la Seine), an action horror-thriller flick that feels like a distant cousin to Steven Spielberg’s “Jaws.” Starring Berenice Bejo in the central role, it shows a scientist who realizes a large shark’s presence in the waters under the city of Paris. Written by Sebastien Auscher, Yannick Dahan, and Xavier Gens, the script presents a shark horror with an ample amount of thrills.

Spoilers Ahead

Under Paris (Sous la Seine, 2024) Plot Summary & Movie Synopsis:

Xavier Gens’ “Under Paris” (Sous la Seine) is a new shark horror flick on Netflix. It follows a scientist who learns that a shark is in the Seine River under Paris. With the help of some dedicated officers, she tries to protect the lives of citizens to the best of her ability. Along the way, she faces many systemic challenges, which make her journey even more difficult.

 What is ‘Under Paris’ on Netflix about?

“Under Paris” (Sous la Seine) begins with a group of scientists over an ocean for their research about different species of sharks. They are surrounded by a pile of plastic waste floating over the water. Upon noticing the presence of a whale shark, the male scientists, Chris (Yannick Choirat), Juan (Inaki Lartigue), and Sam (Victor Pontecorvo), enter the water to track it down. Suddenly, they find themselves surrounded by a pack of sharks. Within a matter of moments, the sharks take their lives. Then, Sophia Assalas (Bérénice Bejo) decides to enter the water herself.

Sophia shoots a device over a shark and follows it. But as the shark drags her down, her blood vessels soon start popping out. So, she immediately gets out of the water. About three years later, the cops find some shells in the river flowing through Paris. Still, they assure the press that everything is fine before the city-wide triathlon. Meanwhile, Sophia tries to get past the loss of her colleagues. After Sopfia offers an educational tour to some school students, a woman, Mika (Léa Léviant), follows her. She mentions ‘Beacon Seven’ and claims to know where it is. Then, she brings Barbara to their ocean defense organization, SOS (Save Our Seas).

Mika’s Discovery with SOS

Mika and SOS are determined to protect the lives of sharks among other creatures in the ocean. She tells Ben (Nagisa Morimoto) to reveal the movement of the Beacon Seven. It tells them that Lilith, the shark that Sophia escaped from, is in the fresh water under Paris. Mika attributes Lilith’s behavioral change to rampant climate change and increasing pollution. She stresses the importance of letting Lilith return to her natural habitat. Mika claims that she and Ben can communicate with Lilith. Although reluctant at first, Sophia realizes the severity of the situation and decides to join their mission.

By then, Mika & Ben had entered the water to look for a shark. The police find them both and take them to the station. Meanwhile, Sophia tracks the beacon’s movement to reach the docks. At the station, Officer Adil Faez  (Nassim Lyes) asks Mika for an explanation for her actions. Mika notes that there is a shark in the river. Adil finds it to be impossible. Soon after, the cops find a mutilated body in the water. Mika & Sophia guarantee that a shark did it. But the cops need to make sure that a shark exists in the river. A team of three officers enter the water and notice the presence of a large shark. Meanwhile, Mika orders Ben to disconnect Lilith’s beacon.

The Shark’s Reality

Sophia confronts Mika about her decision to disconnect the beacon. Mika defends, saying that the cops could have shot and harmed the shark. Meanwhile, Adil informs his senior officer, Angele (Aurélia Petit) about the shark. Angele expects the mayor to cancel the upcoming triathlon in the Seine. While Mika shares a public message about the safety of sharks, Adil and Barbara team up to control the situation. But, the Mayor is more concerned about her public reputation than being the reason for the probable death of her constituents. Naturally, she doesn’t cancel the triathlon.

Under Paris, (Sous la Seine, 2024) Movie Ending Explained:

Under Paris (Sous la Seine, 2024) ‘Netflix’ Movie Review & Ending Explained
A still from “Under Paris” (Sous la Seine, 2024)

Ben tells Sophia & Adil that a group of people, led by Mika, are at the catacomb to find the shark. Since Mika is out of control, Ben hopes the cops will handle the situation. Adil, Sophia and a few other officers reach the specified location to locate the shark. Mika enters the water and gets next to the shark. Sophia insists she handles the situation cautiously. But Mika doesn’t listen to her. Eventually, it leads to her death, followed by the deaths of a couple of officers and bystanders. After recovering Lilith, Sophia cuts open its body to realize it is pregnant. That is surprising, considering Lilith is barely two months old.

Sophia deduces that Lilith is reproducing by parthenogenesis. This means Lilith can get pregnant without a male. It leads Sophia to realize that Lilith is the first of a brand-new species. So, the impact of its reproduction is unpredictable. Upon experiencing this horror in person, Sophia, Adil & Angele try to convince the mayor, once again, to cancel the triathlon. But the mayor is still concerned only about her public image. She takes a press conference to note how the shark’s presence in the river can mean the water is depolluted! Alas, since the mayor is of no help, Sophia and a couple of cops decide to take the matter into their own hands.

Was Paris Saved from the Shark Menace?

As the triathlon event begins, the cops begin their operation to locate the other sharks. They break a barrier and initiate a blast to take care of the sharks. However, before that gets done, the sharks surround a cop and kill him immediately. The other cops and Sophia get out of the water. After the blast goes off, they try to find their next course of action. But shortly after, the sharks start showing their fins makes them understand the gravity of the situation. In the middle of the triathlon, a shark starts killing the participants.

The situation quickly worsens and results in absolute chaos as the sharks’ rampage sets off the WWII-era underwater shells. Bridges collapse, and the city gets filled with water. Sophia gets out of the water and drags Adil’s body outside. However, Adil is on the verge of losing his life. So, Sophia looks around the city while sharks continue to surround her. In the end, she cannot save Paris from the deadly shark attack. It shows how humans’ disregard toward other species and encroachment leads to other beings losing their natural habitat. So, the ending portrays a terrifying, possible result of humans’ awfully selfish actions.

Under Paris (Sous la Seine, 2024) ‘Netflix’ Movie Review:

Under Paris (Sous la Seine, 2024) ‘Netflix’ Movie Review & Ending Explained

Xavier Gens’ “Under Paris” brings back the genre of shark horror to the table. It shows the city of Paris under the threat of a deadly attack by sharks. Although terrifying as a situation, the film navigates it like an adrenaline rush-inducing thriller. It builds enough tension to make us invested in the horrifying spectacle of it all. Like director Gens’ works, “Under Paris” feels most impactful when it operates on large-scale set pieces. It works wonders in especially tense scenes that involve life-or-death situations. It doesn’t break any new ground but builds just the right amount of suspense to make us hold our breath.

Besides being a horror-thriller, “Under Paris” also sheds light on an impending ecological crisis in our real lives. It shows the effect of over-consumption and pollution that makes the natural habitats of non-human species inhabitable. This leads them to look for another place to stay. So, at its core, the film also serves as a cautionary tale about apathy and ignorance toward scientific evidence. However, the film operates in the rudimentary formula of a disaster film and doesn’t explore its themes in depth. Overall, it is an exhilarating horror blockbuster, although not a very cerebral one.

Read More: The 10 Best Shark Movies, According to Rotten Tomatoes

Trailer:

Under Paris (2024) Movie Links: IMDb, Rotten Tomatoes, Letterboxd
Under Paris (2024) Movie Cast: Bérénice Bejo, Nassim Lyes, Anne Marivin, Iñaki Lartigue, Julien Jakout, Ricky Tribord, Aurélia Petit
Under Paris (2024) Movie Genre: Horror/Mystery & Thriller | Runtime: 1h 41m
Where to watch Under Paris

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