As Above, So Below (2014)

Found footage! I think you can guess what kind of movie this is, can't you? Yup, it's a horror film with the never-before-seen-except-for-everywhere trick to making your movie on a shoestring budget and get lots of jump scares for cheap, cheap, cheap. Now, you need to add a bit of claustrophobia or a house that is completely wired with cameras. This movie goes for claustrophobia.

We join a group of adventurous friends, with Perdita Weeks as the pretty leader, as they decide that they want to explore the catacombs under Paris for some lost something-or-other that none of them are really sure about. So, we need to go down our checklist of important stuff when going to a foreign land to do something that is not particularly bright like this:

  1. Local guide who doesn't seem to actually know anything.
  2. Stories about people like them doing what they are doing and never being heard from again.
  3. Buddies who complain about everything.
  4. A leader who ignores warning signs.
  5. Vague warnings for him or her to ignore.
  6. Sexual tension. 
  7. A point at which they should turn back and don't.
We're firing on all cylinders.

We're 25 minutes into this film before they even venture underground. Normally, you'd expect this to be because they were busy developing characters and explaining their personalities so that they might layout seeds of conflict for when the group finally enters the catacombs that they prep for during all that time. Bad news. See, it's hard to tell a story without needless exposition when you decide that things need to fit into the found footage style. So, they intersperse these clips of an interview taken before the whole thing started to tell the story of how they actually got to where they are.

Effectively, the main portion of the movie is taken up by panicky people making bad decisions in extensive catacombs under Paris. They just keep going further and further down in an attempt to get out of the maze that they foolishly got themselves stuck in. Sure, to you and me it may seem silly to try to get out of a hole by going down, but these are frightened and not particularly bright professionals, so you have to accept that they know what they are doing.

The interpersonal relationships get pulled at the whole time, as some people want to do one thing and other people want to do another. In these situations in a Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson movie, everyone just looks at The Rock and then does whatever he says. Well, we don't have any strong, charismatic types in this movie, so we just have a constant damn argument. I don't know who thought that would be entertaining.

Acting was tolerable
Direction was not good at all
Camerawork was terrible
Story was pretty bad
Dialog was not good

Bottom Line: Don't go into a catacomb or a darkened theater with these people.



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