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As Above, So Below | Film Review

As Above, So Below is yet another found-footage horror movie that combines The Descent with The Blair Witch Project.

Source: As Above, So Below

Have you ever seen a horror film? Then As Above, So Below may not be the film for you.

John Erick Dowdle ( QuarantineDevil) has obviously been caught up in the never ending craze of found footage horror. The writer/director has decided that combining The Descent with The Blair Witch Project would equal horror perfection! Sadly this is very much not the case.

The film opens in an Iranian mine/cave where leading lady Scarlett (Perditta Weeks) is searching for a missing piece to a mysterious ancient quest for the Philosophers Stone. She manages to escape a collapsing cave just in time whilst filming the entire event on her camera. We then find ourselves in Paris where she meets up with her old friend who can help her read some ancient artifact which leads them to spooky Parisian catacombs. What will happen to our adventurers and random French co workers on their trip to the unknown? A lot of horror cliches? Yes sir!

Every inch of the film is completely unoriginal, almost as if the filmmakers were just flicking through all the horror films of the last ten years and then making a note to cherry pick as much as they could. If any character is having a conversation it is only to telegraph what may happen to them in a few scenes time. Oh look one of the French guys has a burn mark, but he is being a bit coy and defensive about it . They have a friend who got lost in the catacombs and was never seen again, I wonder if we will meet him. There is a spooky lady in a nightclub who stares constantly at the camera. I wonder if she will make a cameo later on.

The script is worse than playing a 90’s adventure game on the Amiga. Every inch of dialogue only exists to tell the audience why we should be scared. The actual scary parts are the claustrophobic tunnel scenes where the cast squeeze through human bones and crawl into darkness.  These sequences are the more frightening and create far more tension than any of the spooky goings on down in the catacombs.  Where we come across an old fashioned piano, a ghost child, some creepy naked ladies singing for no reason and worst of all granite guys. Men dressed as gargoyles who move around slowly in the dark flapping their arms slowly. The idea is that they are getting closer to hell as they move further down the catacombs, and closer to the Egyptian tomb. As they get deeper into the tomb, each characters worst nightmares begin to come true. Luckily the Egyptians whom oddly buried their most powerful treasure in Paris, write on all the walls so that Scarlett can then know exactly what to do and let us the dumb viewer to understand everything that is happening. Thank you kind Egyptians. But even though they describe everything you need to know about the tomb and all its powers, they seem fit to booby trap the entire place. Make your mind up guys!

Obviously with all ‘found-footage’ movies the characters have to film everything at all times. They introduce the film as an American Documentary Film Maker following Scarlet’s next adventure. Which means he is so willing to bring the documentary to an audience he will carry on filming even though his friends are being killed in front of him and at no point thinks actually I may just turn back and film a documentary about a shrew. If he hasn’t got the camera the rest of the team always make sure they are filming in focus and never drop think of leaving the camera behind, even though they seem to constantly lose their backpacks and water and all other more useful supplies. Also who edited all this together and then delightfully made a soundtrack for it. Thank you very much phantom editor.  All budding film directors, please stop making ‘found -footage’ films, no one cares they are utterly ridiculous and do not make the film any more exciting.

As Above, So Below would be a fine, creepy movie if it hadn’t all been done so often before.  The cast do their best to work with the cliche, exposition dialogue, but all the real scares are before they find their ghosts and if you want to watch a terrifying cave film, then watch The Descent.

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