Director: John Erick Dowdle
Writers: Drew Dowdle and John Erick Dowdle
Cast: Perdita Weeks, Ben Feldman, Edwin Hodge, Francois Civil
Studio: Universal

“As Above So Below” wasn’t screened for critics, so I watched it almost a week after the fact. For those that like your reviews on-time, take that issue up with the various studios that are scared of early word on their releases. This movie wants to be many things, but it comes across as Dan Brown writing a horror version of “The Goonies”. The lead is a Professor of Archaeology who has hunted down the Philosopher’s Stone to the catacombs of Paris. Pinning together a trusty team of explorers, she delves into the mysteries that lie under France. If you’ve seen “Event Horizon”, then you have a fairly strong idea of what she encounters.

The Dowdles never know when the inherent claustrophobia is enough to carry the tension. So, they throw in found footage cliches and related tired horror tropes to keep the picture moving. Unfortunately, it keeps slamming into a brick wall while hoping for some degree of change. What kills me about the found footage angle is that no explanation is given for who found the footage. Plus, there’s a ton of setup with the Iranian map that doesn’t pay off. Why do that?

I’ve seen worse movies this year, but movie reeked of just missing being good by a few degrees. While some have taken it apart for being a collection of screams in a dark, wet area…that’s what most of “The Descent” was outside of Marshall’s masterful direction. That is the main division between these movies that explored similar environments. It takes a steady hand and a sharp eye to know how to craft a horror tale on what appears to be a very small budget. Otherwise, you’re just copying similar movies and hoping for the best. No viewer should have to waste their money on that.


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