“I’m kinda picky about horror movies. I find a lot of them simply boring. Unless Eli Roth’s name is attached, you’ve really gotta work hard to convince me to see it. Some combination of an intriguing premise, good cast, and (prolly most important) looking like you know what you’re doing. Something about As Above So Below felt like it hit that third point. Maybe it was the fact that it’s kind of reminiscent of The Descent, which is a pretty baller horror flick. The fact that I had an invite to a free screening and right now is otherwise kind of a movie graveyard helped too.
As Above So Below sends a team into the catacombs of Paris in search of a mystical Macguffin. In this case, it’s the philosopher’s stone, which had me giggle every time they mentioned it or Nicholas Flammel since I’ve been re-reading Harry Potter lately. Anyways, the Macguffin isn’t important, just an excuse to get a group of people under the earth. After much protesting from their guides, they of course wander thru the possible evil tunnels, and one weird happening after another eventually find themselves at what must be the gates of hell.
It all sounds kind of silly, right? It kind of is, if you think about it too much. Still, it was effective. Normally, I’m not too phased by horror films, but if i’m seeing one alone in a theater, I do let my guard down a bit and allow myself to get scared. Now of course my rational brain is saying that I’m never going to find myself in the Paris catacombs, so I’m in no danger of accidentally crawling into hell, but that doesn’t make some of the images any less freaky. The claustophobic feel of having nowhere to go really heightens the stakes. Again, that’s part of what made The Descent so scary.
What really got me was a sequence that was just vaguely reminiscent of a recurring nightmare I had in childhood. Things looked completely different, but the set up was just similar enough that it had me start quoting scripture in my seat (God has not given me a spirit of fear, but of power and love and a sound mind) to calm myself down. Again, the fact that they had just been walking thru the personal hells of several characters and then hit mine had me freaking out a bit.
Shortly after that though it lost me. Maybe the scripture helped, but the movie did kinda change too. Suddenly we were rushing towards a conclusion, and the quick rapid fire thrills weren’t nearly as impactful as the slow burn suspense. And then suddenly lose ends were tied up so quickly you didn’t really know what was going on and then it was over. I guess they didn’t really know how to end it so they just threw something together and hoped it’d be over before you noticed?
Still, it made for a fun night out. I’m sure Eli Roth would have approved of this one. I certainly wasn’t happy about going home to my solo apartment with only the cats to protect me.
As Above So Below – \m/ \m/ \m/