A scary journey let down by a disappointing ending
With The Poughkeepsie Tapes, Devil and Quarantine already under his belt, John Dowdle has a habit of producing interesting and entertaining horror film on shoe string budgets, so when it came to As Above So Below, I was looking forward to seeing what he could do with such an interesting concept, think Blair Witch Project meets Indiana Jones, but set in the catacombs beneath the city of Paris.
Staring Perdita Weeks as Scarlett Marlowe, a ridiculously brainy scholar, with degrees in the range of subjects and a drive to follow where her father started off and find the fabled Flamel Stone, she enlists former lover Georg (Ben Feldman), camera man Benji (Edwin Hodge) and a group of urban explorers to help track down the stone that’s rumoured to turn items to gold and grant eternal life, deep beneath the streets of the French capital, surrounded by the millions of bodies that were buried there between the 18th and 19th centuries.
The build-up of tension as the group delves deeper underground is something that is missing in most modern horror movies, showing the pressure on each of the individuals and as the scares begin to happen, you’re not sure if it’s in their psyches or real, following in the footsteps of The Decent and Paranormal Activity, getting you to an almost fever pitch of anxiety.
Sadly the only downside to the film is the failure to keep this going till the end, in fact the ending was a bit of a disappointment, with 89 minutes of building layer upon layer of fear and worry, only for it to be wasted on an ending that feels like a bit of a cop-out that was used so to leave the door open for a sequel.
Overall the film is an above average found footage film, filled with Indian Jones type hidden puzzles, riddles and ancient languages that adds a slightly more intellectual side to a genre that’s not known for highbrow science, while the plot itself showcases just how humans will react to being forced to delve deeper and deeper underground in the hope of escaping the unseen forces that encircle them, all whilst dealing with their own personal demons and the hope of stumbling upon untold riches, all of which is driven on by Perdita’s wonderful performance that helps drive on the rest of the cast and make it slightly more believable that they would continue to keep going deeper with the hope of escaping the endless tunnels.