Movie Reviews

Published on August 29th, 2014 | by Matthew Leasor


As Above So Below

Review by Matt Leasor

The film “As above so below”  is part horror, part treasure adventure, and
all shaky cam. This found-footage film could also be more aptly titled as
“Lara Croft goes to hell.” The story centers around an excitable young
adventurer with a British accent named Scarlett on a search for the
mythological Philosopher’s Stone. A self-professed scholar of alchemy, she
hopes proving that the stone exists will fulfill her father’s legacy and
prove to the world that he wasn’t crazy. This search leads her and her
partners through the secret areas of the haunted catacombs of Pairs, France
into what could be hell itself. The movie starts with her traveling to Iran
for clues on the location of the Philosopher’s Stone.

The action opens without introductions which I enjoyed, as it gets right
into the action and sets the a good pace for the rest of the film. After
retrieving clues to the location of the stone and narrowly avoiding
security and a cave-in in Iran, our heroine sets off to Paris, France to
gather the rest of the crew for her adventure (the rest of our films
characters). These characters include her old friend Benji, a translator, a
group of French miscreants:  Papillion (the leader), Zed and Souxie (the
Banshee, no kidding) all of whom are experts on the secret underground
catacombs. Her loyal documentarian George rounds out the crew who has
followed her around since the film’s opening shot.

Up until this point, the horror element of this film is non-existent. Once
the crew journey into the secret catacombs is when things begin to get
eerie. Plot and circumstance is good and all, but it’s a horror movie, is
it scary? Well, I wasn’t scared at all, neither was my wife whom I saw the
movie with. I’d call it more of a psychological thriller, a slight one at
that. Lots of supernatural happenings occur in the caverns akin to what
you’d find in a haunted house movie. Things like phone’s ringing
inexplicably in an area devoid of electricity and hundreds of feet below
the ground, spooky ghost like figures chanting occult hymns, and dead
drowned children. There isn’t much gore in this film, the little found is
reserved for the last 3rd of the movie. Some fear and wince inducing
moments are supplied via claustrophobia as the group squeezes themselves
through tight corridors and underwater channels. They did a pretty good job
of getting your heart racing. These scenes were reminiscent of a greater
horror entry “The Descent.” If you’ve seen that film, then you know what to
expect when it comes to the 1st person moments of claustrophobia.

Once in the catacombs what follows is a maze of twists and turns and
strange occurrences as the crew tries to solve the mystery of the hidden
Philosopher’s Stone as one by one the crew members get killed off in their
attempt to escape the demonic maze of underground tunnels. As for the
ending? Well prepare to be underwhelmed. The definitive worst part of the
film is its ending. It is so mundane and handled extremely poorly as to
come to an abrupt and seemingly rushed finish without any sense of
accomplishment or endearment to any of the characters or what they have
been through. Although they don’t all make it out alive (naturally this is
a horror film) those that do give off the impression of a group that has
just passed out of the end of a haunted house maze similar to those at the
upcoming Halloween Horror Nights at Universal Studios.

-2 stars out of 5

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