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Thursday, June 13, 2024

Under Paris: Netflix Delivers a Top-Tier Shark Thriller

Under Paris: Netflix Delivers a Top-Tier Shark Thriller

Netflix’s new release, “Under Paris,” directed by Xavier Gens, has emerged as one of the best shark movies ever made, despite its wildly improbable premise. A decade ago, the horror film “As Above, So Below” failed to make the Paris catacombs truly terrifying. However, “Under Paris” corrects this by introducing a massive shark into the mix, and it works brilliantly.

Directed and co-written by Xavier Gens, known for “Lupin,” “Gangs of London,” and “Hitman,” “Under Paris” is an ambitious and entertaining action-horror-disaster movie. The story centers on a giant shark that somehow ends up in Paris. While logically questionable—given that sharks are saltwater creatures and the Seine is a freshwater river—the film smartly addresses these inconsistencies with humor and faux-scientific explanations.

Despite the absurdity, “Under Paris” is compelling, akin to a French version of “The Meg.” It balances human drama and hidden monster thrills, reminiscent of “Godzilla Minus One.” The plot follows a woman whose husband is devoured by a shark in the Pacific, only to have the same shark follow her back to Paris.

The movie also serves as an allegory for the climate crisis, initially explicit but growing more symbolic as the story progresses. The humans in the film are so consumed by their own conflicts that they fail to see the larger disaster unfolding around them, culminating in a spectacular climax.

True to any shark movie, “Under Paris” features plenty of people getting eaten. Halfway through, the action ramps up to an almost slapstick level of brutality, evoking comparisons to the intense opening scene of “Saving Private Ryan.” Variety has called it “a truly great shark movie,” which might be an understatement.

“Under Paris” proves that adding a shark can enhance any horror movie premise. Inspired by its success, one can imagine a “Paranormal Activity” where a shark watches someone sleep or an “It Follows” with a slow-motion shark pursuit. Even a remake of “Rosemary’s Baby” featuring a shark could be terrifyingly entertaining. The possibilities are endless.

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