Netflix Jaws Rip-Off Proves You Can’t Beat The King

By Zack Zagranis | Published

under paris

Why is Jaws the only great shark movie out there? It’s weird right, that no one since Spielberg has managed to make a killer shark movie that even approaches the 1975 masterpiece? Well folks, I recently watched Under Paris, the new Netflix movie about sharks living in the Seine River and I can safely say–Jaws still has nothing to worry about.

It Starts Off Good, Until It Stops Being Good

When I say “great,” I’m obviously talking about movies that attempt to be relatively serious. Cheesy made-for-SyFy movies like Santa Jaws and Ghost Shark can be fun and all, but they’re obviously not trying to be real movies. Under Paris, on the other hand, isn’t so bad it’s good. It’s just bad.

The movie starts out OK. A team of marine biologists is searching for a tagged mako shark named Lillith near the Great Pacific Garbage Patch when a much larger shark appears.

The underwater scenes being full of human refuse adds a certain novelty to the usual shark vs divers scenario. On top of that, the effects are decent, and even though Lillith is obviously CGI, she looks pretty good.

For the first ten minutes or so, Under Paris actually feels like it’s going to be a decent movie.

Until the shark drags a woman with no scuba gear hundreds of feet underwater that is. I can suspend my disbelief enough to accept a mako shark mutating into a bigger shark because there is a certain level of fantasy already baked into the genre.

But I draw the line at people being rocketed to the bottom of the ocean at 60 miles an hour—mouth open the whole time—and surviving.

The Environmental Message Goes Weird

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That, coupled with the fact that the CGI suddenly goes from good to PS2 cut scene for no reason, really put a sour taste in my mouth. After that, I was less inclined to lose myself in the world of Under Paris.

Even if I had re-immersed myself in the movie, there were plenty of other scenes that would have yanked me back out again.

Under Paris then picks up three years after the accident at the trash flotilla, with Sophia (Bérénice Bejo) now working at a Paris aquarium.

One day, a pair of environmentalists—Mika and Ben—inform her that Lillith’s tracking beacon is still on. Not only that but the shark has migrated from the Pacific Ocean to the Seine River.

I’ll admit the idea of a shark swimming around Paris is interesting. The movie explains everything with climate change. I can get behind that.

Changing ocean temperatures have caused real-life sharks to go cuckoo bananas for a while now. Under Paris confuses its own message, however when the environmentalists suddenly become villains.

Eco Terrorists And Dumb Mayors

Under Paris begins near a literal garbage island suggesting the movie is pro-environmentalist. However, when Sophia and the police try to use Lillith’s beacon to track the shark and kill it, Mika shuts it off.

Yeah, despite the fact that this freak-of-nature shark has killed several people, Mika and Ben become eco-terrorists and decide that Lillith is the one that needs saving. Huh?

This decision leads to many more deaths once everyone loses track of the murder shark—including Mika’s. So now Under Paris wants us to see Animal Rights activists as morons?

Are we pro-environmentalism, or are we making fun of it? I’m not sure the movie’s director, Xavier Gens, even knew.

Under Paris Vs. Jaws

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So far, I’ve avoided comparing Under Paris to Jaws, but I can’t put it off any longer. We’ll start with the trope that nobody believes the shark attack victims were killed by a shark—least of all Paris’s mayor—no matter how obvious it is.

The mayor even refuses to close the beaches—er—postpone the upcoming triathlon that will see scores of swimmers race in the Seine. She’s such a mayor, Vaughn, that it’s not even funny.

Sophia and her cop friend Adil (Nassim Lyes) are the Chief Brody and Matt Hooper of Under Paris, except reversed. In this movie, the scientist is the main character, and the police officer is there for backup. What a twist!

Stream It Now


I felt bad for everyone who worked on Under Paris because you could tell they were trying to make a real film with a message. What we got instead was a movie that manages to be a decent Jaws clone one minute and Sharknado the next. Everything about the movie is wildly inconsistent, from the special effects to the character’s motivations to the acting.

Under Paris is caught between two worlds. It’s not quite a cheesy F-tier stinker, and it’s not quite a competent Jaws clone. In the end, it’s a confusing mess with a few good kills, but not much else going for it.

Naturally it’s in the #3 movie on Netflix today…*sigh* If you want to watch Under Paris and decide for yourself how good or bad it is, you can stream it on Netflix.