We’ll be adding some reviews of movies and TV Shows you can find on various streaming services; Netflix, Amazon Prime, On Demand, Hulu, etc. Some of these might be films you missed in the theater or original shows.
I’ve been stuck home sick for more than a week, so what better time to watch waaaaaay too much TV? Besides tearing through The Americans (review coming soon) I’ve been checking out films I missed during initial release or things I outright passed on the first time out. I watched As Above, So Below the other night and actually enjoyed it quite a bit more than I expected to. As always, what follows will be a brief, spoiler free review of my impression of the film.
I’ll say this up front, it is a “found footage” film. I mention that because I know a good portion of our fans just don’t care for this genre outright (either due to nausea or being unable to handle the visuals). I’m sort of on the fence about these films…I think their time has largely passed, but I loved Chronicle and Cloverfield so there is something to be said for that.
I was interested in this film because it takes place in the Paris Catacombs. I visited these myself before, and I can tell you they are as creepy in real life as they are impressive. The catacombs are formally known as l’Ossuaire Municipal or Catacombes officiels and have been called “The World’s Largest Grave” due the number of individuals buried, over 6 million if you’re counting. The crypt was founded when Paris officials were faced with two simultaneous problems: a series of cave-ins starting in 1774 and overflowing cemeteries. Upon entering the portal to the ossuary you’re greeted with inscription “Arrête! C’est ici l’empire de la Mort” (“Stop! This is the Empire of the Dead”). Seems like the perfect setting for a horror film! The movie actually was largely shot on location in the Catacombs beneath the city.
The basic premise of As Above, So Below is a modern day archaeologist, Scarlett, is carrying on her deceased father’s quest to discover the legendary “Philospher’s Stone”, an artifact that holds the power to transmute elements and grant eternal life…at least according to the legend in the movie. Driven to extremes, Scarlett stops at nothing to achieve her goals…taking her friends and workmates along with her in this hazardous outing. Her downfall is her perfectly logical mind that refuses to acknowledge the possibility of there being forces at work that science cannot explain.
The film did do well with it’s fixed budget and limited camera work. The claustrophobic atmosphere was not lacking. Director John E. Dowdle (Quarantine 1 & 2, Devil, No Escape) who also co-wrote the script with his brother Drew, handled the tension and pacing well. There was certainly a fair amount of moments added to make you jump, but the film didn’t overly rely on them to force the tension. Also the “maggot factor” was not really used (when a horror film throws a close up scene of maggots or some other gross thing just to make you uneasy). The script added the right amount of believable history to help immerse you in the story line. Another thing worth noting is the sound (both effects and dialog) were handled very well. Just enough background noise and eerie effects to place you on edge. The dialog was clear when it needed to be, but there were places where it is intentionally left ambiguous which added to the chaotic feeling in some scenes.
As horror films go, this one delivered…it was scary, kept me feeling edgy throughout, and was fun to watch (there were at least two unintentionally funny scenes that made me laugh out loud). The perfect “Netflix and Chill” movie, especially if your significant other is the type to cling to you when they are scared 😉
source: wikipedia, IMDB