Title – As Above, So Below (2014)
Director – John Erick Dowdle (Quarantine)
Cast – Perdita Weeks, Ben Feldman, Francois Civil, Edwin Hodge
Plot – Led by adventurer/explorer Scarlett (Weeks) a rag-tag group of people head into the catacombs of Paris in search of treasure and the legendary Philosopher’s Stone after Scarlett discovers some fresh information about its location. Things underground are anything but run of the mill however as things start to quickly get out of hand.
“The only way out is down”
Review by Eddie on 19/05/2015
While it wants you to think it’s an out and out horror, John Erick Dowdle’s found footage film As Above, So Below works far better as a thriller than a film that scares and while everything here is silly with a capital S, going into this film with the right mindset will allow you to have a whole lot of fun with a film that acts as some form of horrific Tomb Raider like adventure.
The main star of As Above, So Below is the Parisian catacombs (where the film was shot) that scour underneath the city of love, endless mazes underlying a bustling city acting as the perfect creation for ominous dread, claustrophobic crawlspaces and a sense of exploration that must surely dwell within us all. Dowdle perfectly captures the time spent underground and it brings back memories of Neill Marshall’s terrific cavern set The Descent in the use of such un-explored spaces, we like the characters are unsure of just what we may find in what is essentially a quite simplistic narrative.
The story that set’s up this tale is essentially taken from such elements relating to Dante etc. and the well-known story of Nicholas Flamel and the Philosopher’s Stone with dogged explorer Scarlett (played well by Weeks) trying to discover what her daddy couldn’t do. While Scarlett’s journey is what’s essentially the hook here there’s not really much point in trying to say her arc is what drives the story as things deep below quickly escalate into a state that requires much poetic licence and forgiving by the audience in what is a flaw filled and at times amateurish collection of events. In saying this though when the film clicks it clicks well and the film has a genuine sense of foreboding and a narrative that will keep you guessing even though we pretty much know who may or may not meet a grisly end in what becomes a – who’s going to die next? Type of play out.
As Above, So Below is a neat little horror/thriller that often excels in being a great example of found footage exploration bringing in a sense of audience participation to the ride that these characters are taking. While it’s dialogue may at time falter and scenarios drop flat with the slightest bit of examination, there is a fine adventure taking place here that has a few well played acting turns, a nice array of surprises and a fine authentic production value that helps create one of 2014’s more enjoyable surprises in a genre that is scarily thin on such things.
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