Remember when the found footage genre seemed new and exciting? No, me neither. But that doesn’t stop them coming.
Scarlett (Perdita Weeks) is a young alchemy student in Paris trying to complete her late father’s work to find the Philosopher’s Stone. Her research takes her under the streets of Paris. Along with her friend George (Ben Feldman), cameraman Benji (Edwin Hodge), and guides Papillon (Francois Civil), Souxie (Marion Lambert), and Zed (Ali Marhyar), they search the hidden depths of the Catacombs. However they soon discover much more than they bargained for.
Considering how bloated and uninspired the found footage genre is, it comes as a surprise that As Above So Below isn’t a complete disaster. The claustrophobic setting of the film is a plus, especially as it was filmed within the actual Catacombs of Paris and had the cast filming a lot of the footage themselves. The scariest scenes are the ones where Scarlett and co have to walk and crawl their way through the remains of the millions of bones buried beneath the city of Paris. Like with The Descent the most nerve-wracking parts are in the beginning before the more supernatural occur. There are also some effective jump scares in the film, although eventually the film does become over reliant on them. The ending was also a bit confusing. I had to do a quick search afterwards to get all the references and explain the climax. Perhaps a bit of knowledge of alchemy and the works of Dante may come in handy.
Most of the characters are barely two-dimensional, although at least George is sympathetic, as the one person in the whole of the group who does not want to enter the Catacombs – due to a tragic childhood experience – until he is forced by outside forces to follow his friends. Scarlett is irritating, and basically to blame for everyone being in danger although that’s more to do with the writing than the actress herself.
As Above So Below doesn’t bring anything fresh to the Found Footage Horror genre but for anyone looking for a serviceable horror with a creepy atmosphere may enjoy whats on offer.
Rating 3/5 – claustrophobic and fun while it lasts but does nothing to rejuvenate this worn out genre