Every now and again a film from this genre manages to break into the mainstream of Hollywood blockbusters and I get excited. As Above, So Below is a Paris catacombs Found Footage horror that had quite an impressive marketing campaign behind it.
I was looking forward to reviewing it….
It Didn’t Disappoint
I’ve been burned by this type of marketing campaign many times before but I’m pleased to report that this film lived up to all the hype – I loved it!
It is the brainchild of the dudes behind The Poughkeepsie Tapes, Quarantine and Devil.
There was a general feel of ‘upper class’ Found Footage throughout the whole film with scenes that felt well thought out and planned in advance. The quality of the lead actors and general cinematography seemed to be a cut above the rest and the whole package was a very polished horror yarn.
The film opens up with our lead character Scarlett ( Perdita Weeks ) ducking and diving through an aggressive Arab state following up a lead on an ancient artifact.
This artifact holds a special place in her heart due to her father’s lifelong journey to try and locate it.
She follows up this lead in a rather breathtaking series of initial film scenes and discovers information that directs her search back to Paris, France.
When she arrives back in Europe she manages to twist the arm of an old colleague ( who just so happens to be an ex-lover ) to aid her in her final journey to locate this mythical artifact – through the catacombs of Paris!
They manage to locate a sort of ‘extreme explorers’ group in a Paris nightclub that claim to know the entrance to a forbidden section of the catacombs. After convincing this French motley crue that there is lost treasure inside the forbidden area they willingly jump on board and join the expedition.
Once inside the catacombs a collapsed ceiling manages to block off the route they took to enter the system forcing them to travel further into the catacombs to find a way out.
But things are certainly not what they seem in these dark tunnels as the group of explorers begin to realize that hell is a lot closer to the surface than they ever imagined…
I Couldn’t Catch my Breath!
When this film takes off it’s hard to find time to catch your breath – I found myself glued to the screen throughout.
The idea of being stuck in a claustrophobic space with only one path in front of you is frightening enough. Once you add the ‘Hell on Earth’ factor to the equation the film becomes VERY frightening.
You really have no idea about what is around the next corner and the atmosphere this creates is blinding – real edge of your seat stuff!
The lead character of Scarlett had a sort of ‘Lara Croft’ Tomb Raider feel to her that bred confidence throughout the start of the film. It was pretty cool the way she descended into a state of complete despair with the rest of the group when the shit hit the fan!
Actors and directors alike worked really hard to create an authentic and unique atmosphere throughout this film and it worked. Once you have atmosphere in a Found Footage effort you have the vital ingredient in place – this film had BAGS OF ATMOSPHERE!
Loved every minute of it and I’m pretty sure the majority of Found Footage fans out there will love it to!
The whole Tomb Raider feel gave the film something unique considering the Found Footage genre hasn’t really covered this subject matter before. It’s sort of like a cross between The Descent and The Omen – two films you’d never really try and put in the same sentence!
The film does a great job of not really letting you know what’s going on. We are aware of the search for this mythical artifact ( The Philosopher’s Stone – Harry Potter alert! ) but for long periods of the film we do not know why these demonic situations are arising.
A lot of Found Footage movies suffer from extreme ‘shaky cam’ syndrome but this offering managed to avoid this ( for long periods anyway! ). This was down to the use of head cams on the members of the group which allowed the filmmakers to switch between viewpoints constantly – it worked well.
Totally worthwhile experience that I would happily sit through again! It had ALL the elements needed to create a top Found Footage film.
Great movie – don’t miss this one!