Netflix’s new shark movie is being compared to 'Jaws' — and it could be a must-watch

Under Paris poster
(Image credit: Netflix)

A new shark movie has just landed on Netflix, and it could well be one of this summer's surprise blockbusters. 

Directed by Xavier Gens, "Under Paris" is a French-language original that sees Paris terrorized by a wayward apex predator that abandons its home in the open ocean in favor of the Seine. And with a major sporting event on the horizon, the killer creature's arrival could mean disaster for the French capital. 

Given the caliber of so many modern shark flicks, you'd be forgiven for dismissing "Under Paris" before even giving it a chance. But given some early reactions have drawn comparisons between Gens' new release and Spielberg's "Jaws", it's got to be worth a second look, right? Here's what you need to know about "Under Paris." 

What is 'Under Paris' about?

"Under Paris" (or "Sous la Seine," its original title) is a French shark movie that posits a bizarre scenario: What would happen if a giant shark took up residence right in the middle of Paris? 

Just as the city is poised to host the World Triathlon Championships on the Seine for the very first time, scientist Sophia ("The Artist" star Bérénice Bejo) learns that a giant mako shark known as "Lilith" is in the water. Sophia has a history with this particular beast; in the prologue set three years prior, we learn that her team fell foul of Lilith in a bloody encounter below an oceanic trash heap. 

And since the mayor is determined that the event will go ahead, Sophia teams up with a river policeman, Sergeant Adil Faez (Nassim Lyes), to send the creature packing before it turns the race into a bloodbath.

What are the critics saying about 'Under Paris'?

"Under Paris" only arrived today (Wednesday, June 5), and it didn't have a score on the review aggregate site, Rotten Tomatoes at the time of writing. However, there are still a few "Under Paris" reviews online already, and you might be surprised to learn that they're quite positive!

Writing for Variety, Michael Nordine said, "Few movies deserve the “often imitated, never replicated” designation quite like “Jaws” does, as every truly great shark movie that has followed in its wake can be counted on one hand with a few missing fingers. “Under Paris” might just be the best of them, which isn’t the faint praise it might sound like".

Daily Dead's Matt Donato was similarly impressed. He claims "Under Paris" 'blends the bureaucratic foolhardiness of "Jaws" with "Deep Blue Sea"'s tempo", adding, '"[it] isn't the most sensible Shark Horror example, but it's an absurdly entertaining experience'.

Should you stream 'Under Paris'?

Sophia face to face with Lilith the giant shark during a dive in an early scene from "Under Paris"

Lilith, Sophia's formidable fishy foe. (Image credit: Netflix)

As a longtime shark movie aficionado, I couldn't not check "Under Paris" out, and it feels a cut above many of the poorer creature features out there.

Sure, "Under Paris" is aping "Jaws" in a lot of ways, but it's hard not to copy the best shark movie ever when you're ... making a new shark movie, and there are still things worth celebrating here. Bérénice Bejo makes for a formidable lead, and the movie makes use of its unique setting well. Plus, there's a truly chaotic, outlandish finale in store that is sure to delight anyone with an appetite for destruction.

Not convinced? Check out our round-ups of the best movies on Netflix or what's new on Netflix in June 2024 to help you find your next watch.

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Staff Writer, Streaming

Martin is a Streaming Writer at Tom’s Guide, covering all things movies and TV. If it’s in the theaters or available to stream somewhere, he’s probably watched it… especially if it has a dragon in it. Before joining the team, he was a Staff Writer at What To Watch where he wrote about a broad range of shows that stretched from "Doctor Who" and "The Witcher" to "Bridgerton" and "Love Island". When he’s not watching the next must-see movie or show, he’s probably still in front of a screen playing massive RPGs, reading, spending a fortune on TCGs, or watching the NFL.