"As above so below" is yet another disappointing found footage movie with an interesting premise. While the film does being with some intriguing thoughts, towards the end it escalates into predictable and unexplaining territory without knowing how to close the thrill ride.
|One of the most annoying characters in recent memory. The main heroine that makes the audience to wish her a nice slow agonising death|
The plot: Well, here we have a good thing and a bad thing. The good one is that we get an Indiana Jones/Tomb Raider/The mummy vibe as a bunch of archaeologists and urban explorers descend upon the catacombs of Paris to find the philosopher's stone. Interesting idea for a creepy setting that has not seen the cinematic light that it deserves (besides the horror film "Catacombs" with Pink! in 2007). The bad thing is that the story goes nowhere remotely fascinating. There are glimpses of what could lurk in the catacombs (serial killers, ghosts, hell, other supernatural stuff) but nothing really gets explained fully or at least partially. Even with the power of (minor) suggestion the films fails to impress and the film resolves everything in the final act that lacks believability :P
The characters: ... are doing one stupid mistake after another since the plot requires it and when they meet their demise it is actually rewarding. They are pretty much stock characters with zero development or emphasis in their psychosynthesis so it is very difficult to give a damn. In particular, our heroine - a blunt copycat of Lara Croft in ANY WAY - is such an annoying spoilt brat that practically begs annihilation so we can proceed with our lives. Everyone else gets pretty much limited screentime with basic yelling and confusion summarizing the acting in a gloomy and dark environment.
The cast: Most of them have beautiful faces enough with the acting ability of a cuccumber. Add on that hilarious dialogue - "what we will find down there?"-"do I look like a tourist?" and you have a recipe for laughter.
|One of the interesting ideas of the film here (abandon hope all ye who enter here) but never gets explored or mentioned ever again.|
Catacombs: One of the few positive values of the movie is undeniably the setting. The catacombs of Paris (that contain the bones of 6 million people) are a terrific place to shoot a horror film. Ideal to create such thick tension in the hands of a competent director that you could cut it with a knife; there are bones everywhere and the darkness that covers miles and miles of underground passages with Christian rites assigned in the walls can scare the living shit out of you. If you take into consideration that the filmmakers were allowed to shoot in the off limits of this bony labyrinth...come on this is screaming for horror! Such a shame then to discover that not much of the real catacombs can be seen in the final product as when we descend more at the core of the place, we get to see (although well made) sets rather than the actual terrifying corridors.
Direction: As with any found footage horror movies, this relies on the typical cliches when the camera turns out and something jumps in front of you. Basically if you have seen one, you pretty much expect the scares here besides one well placed in the beginning. As I mentioned above at the hands of a competent director, this could have been one of the scariest films of all time. I personally would have loved to see if these are pieces of imagination or actual supernatural stuff or some elaborate prank and would utilize in maximum effect any sounds - like a distinct laughter or a hissing or the wind etc to put well placed terror in the hearts of cinema goers.
Set pieces: Does this contain any quality set pieces? Not really, just the actors and actresses going from one rocky place to another. The jump scares are scarce and between idiotic scenes of dialogue and anytime that something does occur, it is (obviously) so dark that you can barely see it which makes you wonder why go the found footage approach? Certain elements have been lifted straight up from the superior and far terrifying "The descent" so minus points for originality.
Summary: "As above so below" comes with a fantastic idea - combination of real time horror with archaeology but has no clue what to do with it. The characters are flat out unexisting, the story does not progress as much as you want to and given the terrific setting, this should have left me breathless and crying for my mommy. Instead I was looking forward to go home.
+ one well placed jump scare
+ fantastic and authentic setting
+ interesting idea
- awful characters
- ... if they happen to have one
- story goes nowhere
- ideas are being thrown all the time with no effect
- lifting up scenes from "The descent"
- catacombs are severely underused