As Above/So Below

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So this weekend we had the release of ‘As Above/So Below’ which when viewing the trailer seems to come off as another one of those found-footage horror films that everyone’s getting sick of but Hollywood keeps making anyway. However upon seeing the movie we find there’s just a little bit more to it than that. It’s actually a found-footage horror/romance/fantasy with just a little bit of ‘National Treasure’ sprinkled on top. This film is pretty much all over the charts and I’m not exactly sure if writer and director John Erick Dowdle knew what genre he was creating either. So the labeling is a little sloppy but that’s okay. After all it’s not like many people hated ‘National Treasure’ right? Right?

With ‘As Above/So Below’ we have Scarlett played by Perdita Weeks (Titanic *mini series, Prowl, The Invisible Woman) a young explorer who is after the fabled Philosopher’s Stone. After discovering clues that its whereabouts are located inside the catacombs deep beneath the streets of Paris she gets together a dubious team to help navigate her on an off the charts tour of the deadly underground tunnels. In this group we have George played by Ben Feldman (Mad Men series, Friday the 13th *2009, Cloverfield) an old flame of Scarlett’s…possibly? Benji played by Edwin Hodge (Coastlines, Take Me Home Tonight, Red Dawn *2012) the journalist and so, of course, the camera guy. And the gang leading them down the tunnels, Papillon also goes as Pap played by Francois Civil (Macadam Baby, It Boy, Fonzy), Souxie played by Marion Lambert (As Above So Below), and Zed played by Ali Marhyar (Zero Dark Thirty, 18 Years Old and Rising, Elles).

So like most found-footage movies it takes a while for us to get to the heart of the movie and while we wait to get there it’s a little slow. The opening scene with Scarlett’s little adventure in Iran is kind of thrilling but then she has to go to Paris, find people to take her into the catacombs and that just kind of drags. The movie really picks up when they have to crawl through the hidden entrance into the catacombs. When Benji gets stuck and starts freaking out. Like REALLY freaking out. I myself am not claustrophobic but watching that scene I could almost feel myself start to hyperventilate! Really good stuff. Then just afterwards the creepiness begins. Finding furniture from your childhood home, phone calls from the dead, and the sudden return from a friend who had presumably disappeared in these very tunnels.

I have seen sooo many documentaries on these catacombs very many people have supposedly disappeared beneath the streets of Paris and I loved this movie idea of making an exploration of it. However I think they could have done without the Philosophers Stone bit and how Scarlett automatically knew how use the stone for its healing powers…or whatever. There’s even a scene where the stone stops working when George needs it most and Scarlett kisses him and that brings him back to life. Even Disney would be shaking their heads. And the whole cleaning products on the back of historic items to uncover hidden clues made me think; where is Nicholas Cage at?

But besides all the bad there are a few good pointers too. The thrill level is high and Mr. Dowdle did not spare us some good creepy tension and fright moments. Not to mention the ending is a huge; ‘What the Fudge!?’ moment throwing you completely off guard. Off balance too. You’ll get what I mean if you see it.

Right now ‘As Above/So Below’ is at a 31% rotten on Rotten Tomatoes. Ouch.

Rated R for bloody violence/terror, and language.

Like I said, nice and creepy and is kinda scary. But there’s a lot of that already out on video right now. ‘As Above/So Below’ doesn’t really give you anything extra, on the contrary…as a horror/fantasy/romance with a dash of National Treasure it can be kind of confusing. Wait for it on DVD and Redbox it. Sad to say but you’re not missing much.