Directed by: John Erick Dowdle
Reviewed by: Phantomhour (Brendan Graham
It’s been a slow year for horror films, which is a shame, because they are a favorite of mine. So naturally when I saw the trailer for As Above, So Below, Naturally I got excited about it. Not only does it take place in one of the creepiest places I’ve been to, The Paris Catacombs, but it’s from the director of The Poughkeepsie Tapes. So naturally I was expecting big things.
When a team of explorers discover a hidden chamber that may hold a missing piece of our history deep within the Paris Catacombs, they risk life and limb to recover the relic. What they don’t realize is that they are descending into a nightmare that will soon plague their memories and test their worth.
Sometimes I feel like I’m one of the only people who enjoy found footage films. There’s a sense of fun that comes along with them, very similar to walking through a haunted house attraction. This works for and against our adventure into the catacombs. While some sequences are truly exciting and quite frightening because of the movement of the camera, others are so blurry that you can’t tell what is happening in the first place. If you get motion sickness, you may want to avoid this film.
The characters are mostly likable, I say mostly because you barely get to know them enough to care about what happens to them. Character development is tossed out the window to keep the movie swimming by at a frantic pace, and it doesn’t work. The idea of the film is that these explorers are dealing with their inner demons, can’t find it scary if you don’t have enough information about why these are demons in the first place.
Despite some issues with poor planning and blurry camera work, the film still remains an exercise in psychological horror. The Dowdle brothers make quick work of getting you on edge. Plenty of, “Did you really see that?” moments are tossed left and right, and the sound design for the film is chillingly phenomenal. Even the title of the film is explained rather well deep within the catacombs and that made the film that much more exciting. Although, I have to say a lot of the scares do feel cheap, and are rather predictable.
While the film tries a little too hard in the scares department and becomes a bit predictable, the story pulls through better than I thought it would in the adventure department. I wish we had more character development, that’s where the film really struggles, especially with it’s short run time.
6.5 Skulls out of 10.