Found footage films get a lot of hate. So much that now when any movie is filmed by a character in that movie, that is what it is called regardless of the reason. Most of the time it is a simple style reason. But because The Blair Witch Project was first, that places this silly title on to the genre. Then people get nitpicky, especially if no one finds the footage. I had to note in my review of Into The Storm that just because it was camera, doesn’t mean that it was found footage, but hey, people still raged.
For what it is worth, it looks like As Above, So Below night be a found footage standard horror film too. Found Footage films that are true to the word are annoying, because they usually mean no survivors. Knowing there is no survivors can be annoying. Back in the day, lots of people survived horror films. More and more recently they seem to want to make it one or no survivors.
Oh well. Hopefully based on the setting it is at least full of history?
And hopefully this is the biggest hole in the movie.
I guess it is based on history. History…and magic!
Scarlett (Perdita Weeks) is a young archaeologist and scholar, with several degrees. More than one would expect for someone so young. Her father helped pick out her career path and was big in the field. However, some say he went mad trying to discover the true location of the Philosopher’s Stone. That’s right. They want immortality.
Well, after going to Iran and finding out some Rosetta Stone like artifact that would allow her to decipher a code, she heads back to Paris where the one and only Nicolas Flamel died. Rumor has it that Flamel achieved immortality by being a cool alchemist and discovering the Philosopher’s Stone, which also made him super rich! And since then people have wanted to find him or find the stone to get some of that wealth action.
Scarlett isn’t doing it for money. She is doing it for science. Along with Benji (Edwin Hodge), a man who wants to make a documentary on the search, and her good friend George (Ben Feldman) (who can also translate some stuff for her), they are going to scour Paris looking for it!
But, below Paris? That means the Catacombs! Which have only been partially explored still. It is really easy to get lost down there and lose track of where you are going. Would be scary without a guide to get them to where they need to go. Like Papillon (François Civil) and his two friends (Ali Marhyar, Marion Lambert)! They know those catacombs and the superstitions behind them.
Pro Tip 3: Crawling on bones is probably not bad luck.
For what it is worth, only parts of this movie could be considered found footage. Multiple cameras and people with cameras dying, you are going to have cameras being left behind. So technically someone can find those.
I also thought at times things were pretty scary. Based on the score and framing you can tell when something spooky was about to jump at you, so I might have looked far to the side of the theater, or behind me to make sure no one was about to jump on me in real life. Going to a theater in the slums that is a real fear.
Also, at times the movie felt a bit intelligent. They were doing a lot of smart things, which is good because the two main leads are supposed to be smart characters. So that is nice. A lot of leaps of logic by the end though.
As Above, So Below was a strange movie. It was interesting in that it was unique and felt more like a thriller early on. I had some scares. By the end it was pretty dang crazy and felt harder to follow. Everything they were doing made sense, sure, but as to why it made sense is the bigger question.
Overall, a good use of the “found footage” and an okay movie.
2 out of 4.