“As Above So Below” doesn’t live up to potential of a great plotline.
“Quarantine” director John Erick Dowdle sets the stage for a unique and exciting horror flick in “As Above So Below,” but, ultimately, the promising idea falls flat in execution. For a film with a location as fantastic and grim as the Parisian catacombs, it’s hard to pinpoint exactly where and why this film fails to live up to its potential.
It opens interestingly enough, with archaeologist Scarlett Marlowe on a frenzied search for Nicolas Flamel’s rumored philosopher’s stone. She recruits the help of her ex-boyfriend George (played by Ben Feldman from “Mad Men”) and a group of urban explorers to delve deep into the depths of the underground French cemetery.
Things start to head south for the group when they get lost and start experiencing their innermost demons coming back to haunt them. They enter a section of the catacombs that is cursed and seemingly meant to be hell.
Unfortunately, this is where the plotline starts to get muddled and Dowdle begins to throw in frightening elements for the sake of being frightening, with little regard to a cohesive storyline. The overly shaky camera to produce a “found footage” effect à la “Blair Witch Project” is good in theory, but eventually becomes overkill and is often uncomfortable to watch.
The plot alone had a lot of promise, though Dowdle fails to provide the audience with any kind of answers to the random string of cliché horror gimmicks.
I wish I could recommend this movie on its premise and handful of scary scenes alone, but overall it was an incoherent disappointment. Don’t waste your time.