Sometimes the scariest things are perfectly natural human emotions. Claustrophobia. Paranoia. Delirium. These are feelings we as humans experience on a normal and regular basis. Yet when you mix them with the catacombs of Paris, creepy ghosts and a quest for the Sorcerer’s Stone, you’ve got yourself a horror film. Released in 2014, As Above, So Below follows Scarlett and a group of people on their journey into the depths of Paris to locate the mythical Sorcerer’s Stone. Many have tried to retrieve this object and died doing it, but that doesn’t stop Scarlett from risking any and everything.
As Above, So Below starts out with a kickass premise and a nice, slow build. There’s a lot of backstory before they even get into the catacombs, which is nice. The characters are relatable and developed. Everything is in place for a great film. And then somewhere in the depths of Paris the film just gets kind of lost. It’s hard to explain, but it seems to lose its footing and the viewer with it. As the characters move deeper and deeper underground, the story gets more and more convoluted and less frightening. In the beginning, the idea of being underground without knowing the exit and having a limited supply of batteries for your headlamp is pretty freaking scary. But then strange ghosts appear and explanations are left out and things just get weird. And then finally with about 20 minutes left everything gets really gory and then the movie ends. It’s almost as though the writers put together an amazing first half but then just quit.
The movie toes the line of really spooky but never quite crosses over to scary. More scares spread evenly throughout the film would have been an asset. Also, this movie is found footage - but, to give it credit, it’s done extremely well and totally justifiable. I felt bad for this movie because people will hate the found footage only because other films have done it so poorly.
Overall, As Above, So Below is more of a fun sleuth film than a horror. It starts out a promising horror film, but struggles to maintain it in the second half. It’s a shame to see such a great horror premise go to waste.
If you liked As Above, So Below, you might also like Paranormal Activity, Paranormal Activity 2 and Sinister.