AS ABOVE, SO BELOW (REVIEW)
Dir. John Erick Dowdle
Reviewer. Martyn Wakefield
In 2007 a film was released under the title CATACOMBS, set in the depths of the Paris Catacombs. Starring pop superstar Pink! in her first feature film it was set to be a new frame of horror, but top cut a long story short it was awful. Not only did it date very easily but held a weak plot on the fine thread. Now comes along another attempt at bringing the atmospheric tunnels to the forefront of horror and director John Erick Dowdle knows just how to do it.
First things first, this is found footage horror at it’s best, you know the story. An investigative type (Perdita Weeks) seeks something supernatural so bands together some documenters (Ben Feldman, Edwin Hodge, Francois Civil) to find what they are searching for, in this instance the Philosopher's Stone. However, once the easy part of finding the relic has been achieved, the catacombs come alive to torment their inner demons and literally turn their lives upside down.
AS ABOVE, SO BELOW may not slip off the tongue as easy as a scream but it sure as hell packs a spooky punch. Cleverly using the best of the hand held shaky cam to explore the claustrophobic labyrinth that is the Parisian catacombs. Every drip of fear within the tunnels is frighteningly real that even when a chilling rock monster decides to jump out it feels like part of the ride.
While there is nothing ground-breaking here, it’s passion to scare the living daylights out of you surpasses the mediocre script and challengingly novice performances especially from lead Perdita Weeks. Despite it’s high budget production values, it’s difficult to see past the first thirty or so minutes before the tension really cranks up and watch the usual cliched storytelling swamped in the found footage genre. Yet instead of throwing a few ghostly scares left right and centre, Dowdle introduces some great techniques to take advantage of the beautiful setting and make sure your ass is firmly on the edge of your seat.
Just when you think the found footage genre is done, here comes a treat to show how it can be done correctly and while AS ABOVE, SO BELOW doesn’t break new ground, it sure as hell brings a good scare and entertainment to boot.