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Why is the killer shark movie Under Paris so popular on Netflix right now?

A woman examines a dead shark in Under Paris.

Netflix has had a wide assortment of B-movies rise to the top. And the latest addition to the most popular movies on Netflix is Under Paris, a shark film that has taken the streamer by storm. This isn’t the typical low-budget flick that finds a new life in streaming. Under Paris is a Netflix original, even though the story is anything but original.

Fans are flocking to this flick in part because it’s still pretty new to Netflix, and because it’s surprisingly entertaining for a giant shark attack movie. Under Paris may be not be Oscar-bait, but it’s winning the streaming race so far. And if you’re considering making this your next movie, we’re here to share four reasons why you should watch Under Paris on Netflix.

It’s Jaws in Paris

A diver is cornered by a giant shark in Under Paris.

After Jaws was released in 1975, almost every shark movie that came after it was some variation of that movie. Under Paris takes that more seriously than most shark flicks by actually emulating aspects of the plot from Jaws. As ludicrous as it may sound to have a giant shark swimming around under Paris, there’s a clear parallel between the mayor of Paris (Anne Marivin) and Mayor Larry Vaughn (Murray Hamilton) in Jaws. Both politicians ignore warnings about the sharks in the name of tourism. Some things never change, even five decades later.

Even the leading heroine of Under Paris, Sophia (Bérénice Bejo), seems to step into the leading role that was filled by Roy Scheider’s Martin Brody in Jaws. The key difference is that Sophia has more of a personal stake in the battle against the giant shark she calls Lilith.

Bérénice Bejo gives an absolutely committed performance

Bérénice Bejo in Under Paris.

American audiences may remember Bejo for her roles in A Knight’s Tale and The Artist, but she’s mostly known for her French films. And she is terrific in Under Paris. It’s almost as if no one told Bejo that this was a B-movie, because she is never anything less than genuine when portraying Sophia’s grief over losing her husband and friends during their initial encounter with Lilith. She carries that with her all the way to the end of the movie, even when things start to get really silly.

There’s not a lot of gravitas in this movie, but what little it has comes from Bejo’s performance. She’s already a star in France. Maybe it’s time Hollywood considered giving her more to do over here as well.

It’s unintentionally hilarious

A very unconvincing CGI shark eats a man in Under Paris.

Under Paris is not played for laughs. This isn’t Sharknado or even a winking parody of Jaws. The film takes itself so seriously that it becomes comical even during shark attack scenes. Let’s just say that the CGI is very unconvincing in some of those sequences. Some of the funniest moments in the movie come when Lilith and the other sharks start treating Paris like it’s an all-you-can-eat French restaurant.

There are occasional scenes where the sharks seem genuinely threatening at a distance, but it’s almost always broken up by something that probably shouldn’t have been as funny as it turned out to be. This movie would be perfect for a great episode of Mystery Science Theater 3000.

It has a conclusion that you have to see to believe

The cast of Under Paris.

As audacious as Under Paris‘ premise is, the end of the movie is even more so. Without spoiling the dramatic conclusion, we can say that this film doesn’t share an ending with Jaws. Instead, the scale of the action goes wildly out of control. It’s both funny and oddly admirable that Under Paris took such a big swing even if it doesn’t land with much impact.

The ending of the film also suggests that sequels could be in the works for Under Paris. As unlikely as that sounds at the moment, if Under Paris keeps hanging around at the top of Netflix’s movie list then you can bet that we’ll see more films like this one.

Watch Under Paris on Netflix.

Blair Marnell
Blair Marnell has been an entertainment journalist for over 15 years. His bylines have appeared in Wizard Magazine, Geek…
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