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Shark Horror Film *Under Paris*: A Review of its Unique Take on Thrills and Chills

Shark Horror Film *Under Paris*: A Review of its Unique Take on Thrills and Chills Jun, 6 2024

Introduction to *Under Paris*

The shark horror genre is a distinctive niche within the broader horror film industry, and *Under Paris* directed by Xavier Gens, adds a fresh take with its intriguing premise. The film follows the story of Sophia, a brilliant scientist portrayed by Bérénice Bejo, who embarks on a quest to hunt down a massive shark wreaking havoc near Paris. Released on June 5th, 2024, and available for streaming on Netflix, this film brings a mixture of science, horror, and climate awareness to the screen.

The Plot Unveiled

Sophia's Backstory

The heart of the story is Sophia, a dedicated scientist who is haunted by a traumatic past. Three years prior, her team was decimated by the shark that now lurks in the dark waters near Paris. The film begins with the reemergence of the shark’s GPS tag, an event that pulls Sophia back into a dangerous chase. Bérénice Bejo infuses her character with a blend of sophistication and determination, making Sophia a compelling protagonist.

The Hunt Begins

The plot thickens as Sophia embarks on a relentless pursuit of the predator. Her journey is fraught with peril as she navigates the treacherous waters, both literally and figuratively. The film’s narrative takes viewers through the murky, ominous waters of Paris, using varied cinematography to create an atmosphere of tension and suspense. The use of dirty river water becomes a significant element in heightening the fear factor, trapping viewers in a claustrophobic experience.

Visual Effects and Cinematography

Visual Effects and Cinematography

Struggles with CGI

One of the notable aspects of *Under Paris* is its attempt to blend reality with CGI to bring the deadly sharks to life. However, this is where the film encounters some of its biggest challenges. The CGI sharks, while ambitious, often fail to convincingly mimic real sharks, sometimes even defying basic laws of physics. This disrupts the suspension of disbelief critical to horror films and can pull viewers out of the immersive experience.

Cinematographic Achievements

Despite the CGI hiccups, the film’s cinematography earns praise for its creativity and implementation. The varied looks and scenes captured by the camera effectively use the environment to build tension. The immersive shots of the dirty and murky river water contribute to a sense of dread and anticipation. These visual elements ensure that even as the sharks become less terrifying, the setting maintains an unsettling presence.

Performance and Character Dynamics

Strengths of Bérénice Bejo's Performance

Bérénice Bejo's portrayal of Sophia is a cornerstone of the film. Her performance adds depth and credibility to the narrative. Bejo’s ability to convey a wide array of emotions—fear, determination, sorrow—gives the film a human touch that resonates. Sophia’s character is well-rounded; her scientific expertise is evident, but so is her vulnerability, making her a protagonist viewers can root for.

Supporting Characters

Other characters in the film, although less developed, serve to push the narrative forward. Their interactions with Sophia help flesh out the storyline and provide moments of warmth and camaraderie that contrast with the intense and chilling sequences. These relationships, while not the focus of the film, add layers to the plot and provide occasional relief from the relentless tension.

Theme and Message

Theme and Message

The Climate Change Angle

At its core, *Under Paris* is more than just a horror film; it delivers a potent message about climate change. The narrative weaves in the consequences of environmental neglect and the havoc it can wreak on the natural world. This thematic undercurrent adds a layer of relevance to the film, encouraging viewers to reflect on the broader implications of the story beyond the immediate thrills and chills.

Terror's Erosion

As the film progresses, the initial terror induced by the shark encounters diminishes. The frequent, graphic death scenes lose their shock value, leading to repetition and predictability. This erosion of fear is a drawback, as the audience becomes desensitized to the carnage. The film would benefit from exploring more varied and innovative scares to maintain its grip on viewers’ nerves.

Potential for a Sequel

Despite its flaws, *Under Paris* offers moments of genuine entertainment and suspense. The film ends on a note that hints at potential future developments, setting the stage for an intriguing sequel. There are unresolved questions and lingering threats that could serve as the foundation for another installment, should the filmmakers choose to continue the story.



In conclusion, *Under Paris* is a mixed bag. Its ambitious blend of shark horror, scientific intrigue, and climate messaging sets it apart. However, the execution falters in areas like CGI realism and maintaining the terror factor. Bérénice Bejo's compelling performance and the creative cinematography are standout elements that enrich the viewing experience. While it may not be the most terrifying shark film, it offers enough suspense and thematic depth to be worth a watch, especially for those intrigued by the interplay between horror and environmental concerns.

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