Wednesday, March 25, 2015

As Above So Below Has Surprisingly Original Story

I’ve been on a total horror movie kick lately but as is the case with your average 90 minute fright flick, they are typically easily forgettable.  That being said, I was actually excited to see John Erick Dowdle’s As Above So Below strictly on the basis that its concept was unique.  The movie focuses on amateur alchemist Scarlett Marlowe as she continues the work of her deceased father scouring the globe for clues to the location of the mythical Philosophers Stone.  After obtaining a key whilst searching in Iran, she is led to the catacombs beneath Paris.  Along with a cameraman named Benji and her former lover George, the three ask around and find a guide who will take them beneath the city into the maze of tunnels that make up Paris’ underground.  I didn’t know what to expect when watching in that I wasn’t sure what exactly the “horror” element would be.  I wasn’t sure if the danger would be the tunnels themselves or some sort of supernatural/creature type threat.  In the end, it was kind of a combination which was both good and bad.  I enjoyed it because it kept you guessing.  You weren’t ever quite sure why you were freaked out, you just knew that you were inching closer to the edge of your seat (something any decent horror movie should induce).  The converse is that it can be confusing at times as you struggle to find out what exactly it is you should be afraid of.  After becoming trapped underground, the team is eventually confronted with the choice to either wait for rescue or go through a tunnel which their guide Papillon says is the gate to hell.  Which do you think they choose?  I enjoyed the story of the search for the alchemist’s stone and thought it was a unique way to approach the idea of doing a horror movie centered on the Paris catacombs.  The location is so iconic that the obvious route to go is either A: a group of students get lost and die of B: a group of students get lost and uncover an ancient group of subterranean creatures hungry for human flesh.  As such it was nice to see the film go a different route.  The acting, while subpar is fresh in that the actors are relatively unknown adding to the “found footage” style immensely.  Found footage films almost never work with mainstream actors because duh, you know who you’re watching!  In the end, of the 15+ horror films I’ve watching in the last month, As Above So Below stands out for its original storytelling and surprising ending but I won’t go in to that, you’ll have to watch for yourself.

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