Perdita Weeks gets into claustrophobic territory in the catacombs of Paris in As Above

Perdita Weeks gets into claustrophobic territory in the catacombs of Paris in As Above

Reel Reviews: As Above, So Below is dead man spelunking

If you’re in the mood for a decent descent into horror, As Above, So Below will do, for now.

  • Sep. 7, 2014 7:00 a.m.

Scarlett (Perdita Weeks) is a young archeologist, continuing her father’s work, seeking out the Philosopher’s Stone, a legendary alchemical substance said to turn base metals into gold or silver as well as having rejuvenatory powers, possibly creating immortality for the holder.

When clues point her to the catacombs under Paris, she and a group of unofficial spelunkers descend under the City of Light, seeking the stone and finding the gates of hell.

We say, “It will do, for now.”

TAYLOR: It’s always exciting to see new horror movies. Horror is the most inventive genre of film. So, as long as the film isn’t another sequel to some film that has spent its originality, it’s likely to at least be some fun.

As Above, So Below is a naturally scary film that doesn’t rely on gimmicks, or even very unique imagery, despite having one of the more awesome posters I’ve seen in a while. This is a film relying on common, shared, ancient fears: the unknown, the dark, claustrophobia and plain old-fashioned evil.

HOWE: Plus, adding the fact that we haven’t seen a good ol’ fashioned horror in a long time doesn’t hurt.

I thought this was a pretty decent movie for what it is. It made me jump a few times, which we know is a cheap gimmick to get scares, but hey, it works.

Like many horror films, As Above, So Below is shot in shaky cam mode the entire movie. When the characters are running around frantically underground, this style gets the hairs on the back of your neck to stand up.

There’s also some lighthearted moments early on in the As Above, So Below that try to make the film seem real, but I noticed that a few of the actors couldn’t pull it off.

TAYLOR: Perdita Weeks is the most famous actor in the film. She’s done a bunch of TV shows and a couple of movies. I’d never seen her before.

John E. Dowdle, the director and writer with brother Drew, are known for previous horror films, Devil and Quarantine.

As Above, So Below, like many horror movies, is made on the cheap with less expensive actors, crew and techniques. It’s still an effective film and although it takes you through a more generalized horror experience, it didn’t do anything to annoy or otherwise distract me.

There are some good jumps, some genuinely creepy moments (I particularly don’t like weirdo satanic choirs) and cringe-worthy events.

HOWE: The storyline  wasn’t that strong, but I did find the film itself was moving along at a nice steady pace, building momentum till it reached the climax. Sometimes movies done this way are let down by a poor ending, but I found As Above, As Below didn’t really fall into that category.

TAYLOR: I’m certainly not saying this is anything to write home about. There is nothing novel about people in a scary situation dealing with their own personal demons.

If you’re in the mood for a decent descent, As Above, So Below will get you your fix.

– Taylor gives As Above, So Below 3 empty chairs out of 5.

– Howe gives it 3 church bells out of 5.

The film is currently showing at the Galaxy Cinemas in Vernon.

– Brian Taylor and Peter Howe are film reviewers based in Vernon, B.C. Their column, Reel Reviews, appears in The Morning Star every Friday and Sunday.