Since Steven Spielberg unleashed the classic blockbuster Jaws upon audiences everywhere back in 1975, other filmmakers have tried tirelessly to replicate the formula. Since then, the “shark movie” genre has given birth to some of the best, brightest, and most camp-fueled thrillers in cinema, including Deep Blue Sea, 47 Meters Down, The Meg, and even Sharknado. Now, it seems that another shark film has arrived, topping the Netflix charts and becoming an instant cult-classic. The film, titled Under Paris, takes massive man-eating sharks to bold new locations, including the catacombs that line the underbelly of the French city. Under Paris is, predictably, a French-language film, that has somehow managed to completely dominate the streamer, accumulating more than 41 million views in less than a week and a half.

So, what happens in this movie? How do the man-eating sharks end up in their eponymous new location? And what makes the film such a massive hits with audiences? Let’s unpack all that and more, while getting to the heart of the film’s shocking conclusion. Be advised that there are major spoilers for Under Paris lurking ahead, so you shouldn’t be afraid to bookmark this page and come back after catching the film if you want to go in as blind as possible. Without any further preamble, let’s take a dive into the Seine, and see what we can catch.

What Happens In Under Paris?

The plot of Under Paris centers on Sophia, a marine biologist with a special interest in sharks, who travels to the middle of the Pacific Ocean to study the effects of the notorious floating garbage patch. After enjoying a few celebratory dives with her crew, Sophia’s husband encounters a shark that has grown nearly three times in size since they last tagged it just a few months earlier. This should not be scientifically possible, but before Sophia and company can focus on the logistics of this exponential growth, the shark, deemed Lilith, begins a bloody massacre of the entire crew. Sophia lurches into the waves to save her husband and fight back against the shark, but she barely manages to escape with her life. After an oddly-placed slo-mo shot of Sophia emerging from the ocean’s surface, covered in blood and fear, the movie jumps forward three years.

At this point, Sophia has all but sworn off of ocean exploration, and has taken her deep-sea knowledge to a new career doing speaking engagements and educational aquarium tours. Though she has tried to move on from the incident, she still reels from the trauma of losing her friends, and struggles to get through the day when the story is brought up in conversation. That is, until a young woman named Mika approaches her, with a terrifying realization. Apparently, Mika and her team of oceanic conservationists, known as the Save Our Seas organization, have used Sophia’s trackers to follow Lilith’s movements, discovering that the now 21-foot-long shark has somehow gotten into the Seine river.

Can A Shark Really Swim In The Seine?

As Sophia is quick to point out, there are a number of reasons why it should be functionally impossible for Lilith, or really any shark, to get into the Seine. For starters, the Seine is a body of fresh water, meaning most species of sharks would be injured or immediately die if they got inside. Furthermore, the Seine is regulated by numerous locks, which should be impossible for a creature of this size to traverse. Regardless, the data indicates that Lilith is alive in the Seine, and thriving, taking massive bites out of people who fall into the river as well as the trash that sits on the river floor.

To make matters worse, the city of Paris is in the midst of a major overhaul of the river, in order to make it safe for an upcoming triathlon event that could bring billions of dollars in revenue to the beautiful European locale. As Sophia and Mika begin to investigate the river, the police interfere, arguing that any bad press for the recently-cleaned body of water would reflect poorly on Paris, and create a media frenzy. Of course, it soon becomes impossible to deny that a massive shark is present, when Lilith starts developing a taste for police divers and magnet fishers.

Mika Derails The Removal Effort

Just as the police finally agree to work alongside Sophia to remove Lilith from the river, Mika heel-turns, arguing that the police would hurt the shark if given the chance, and claiming that she can control the shark’s behavior using a medicine ball that emits sonic frequencies. If you’re thinking that this is an absurd plan, you are absolutely correct, as Mika gets herself swallowed by the massive aquatic monster almost immediately after luring it into the catacombs beneath Paris. This causes a frenzy among followers of the Save Our Seas movement, who turned up in the restricted catacombs to film Mika’s efforts, resulting in numerous civilian deaths.

As Lilith reaches a nearly triple-digit body count, Sophia discovers that the beast has evolved to reproduce asexually, and has given birth to a litter of incredibly dangerous and bloodthirsty offspring. Sophia and the police petition the mayor for assistance, but the mayor refuses to acknowledge the threat, much like the authority figures in Jaws. With the triathlon set to go down in less than 24 hours, the police officers go rogue, in an effort to plant explosives that wipe out the growing shark population for good.

How Does Under Paris End?

The final scenes of Under Paris play out disastrously, as the police ultimately fail to wipe out the sharks before the triathlon begins. As the swimmers breaststroke carelessly through the canal, Lilith emerges at the finish line, and begins gorging on a veritable French breakfast buffet. To make matters worse, members of the army arrive, with the intention of protecting the international community. As the soldiers open fire into the Seine, one of them strikes a World War II era mine, causing a massive explosion that all but wipes out the entire city of Paris. The explosion triggers a tsunami of sorts, turning the rooftops into an archipelago of small island havens atop a rising tide of shark infested waters. The final moments of the film see Sophia and her newfound cop buddy Adil trapped on an overturned boat, as shark fins rise out of the water all around them.

Ending Explained & Analysis

The ending of Under Paris is quite shocking, and sees the supposed “good guys” completely failing in their mission. While this is surely a surprise to the audience, the film’s themes seem to set up the catastrophic ending from the very beginning. Global warming and man-made climate change are referenced throughout the movie, and framed as a large part of why Lilith has evolved to become such an effective man-eater. Early in the film, a student poses a question to Sophia, arguing that it’s pointless to care about the environment because it’s already too late to stop the world-ending impact of climate change. Sophia scoffs at this notion, and argues that it’s worthwhile to try anyway, even in the face of defeat.

Another key theme of Under Paris is political apathy in the face of disaster. Throughout the film, the mayor of Paris continually refuses to acknowledge the city’s problems, arguing that bad press could reduce the financial boost that will come with the successful triathlon. This mirrors the real-life response of Parisian government officials in the lead-up to the 2024 Summer Olympics, which are on pace to begin in Paris next month. In real life, the French government has spent over $1.5 billion to purge the Seine of contaminants and pollution, in order to make the famously disgusting body of water safe for humans to swim through. A “historic bathing” event was even set to take place before the big events, though it has since been postponed for political purposes.

Will There Be An Under Paris Sequel?

Given that the film ends on such a massive cliffhanger, fans around the world are wondering if Under Paris filmmaker Xavier Gens has any plan to expand the IP into a larger franchise. While sitting down with Variety last week, Gens explained that he has no existing sequel in the pipeline, though it is something that he’s considered, especially after seeing the film’s massive fan response. Specifically, Gens explained “Right now, as of today, we’re not on it but there’s a chance that we’ll be discussing it soon. If there is a sequel, it will take place in a Paris that is entirely submerged under water.”