As Above So Below Review (2014)

A promotional poster for the movie As Above So Below

(Warning there will be spoilers for this 2014 horror flick in this review).

I am a fan of horror movies. One of the many reasons why I love October is because all of the streaming services stock up on horror movies (good and bad alike) to show their viewers during the month of October. Whenever I heard about this film, I was curious, to say the least. I have been to the actual Paris catacombs, the setting of this movie. It is incredibly eerie because it really sinks in that all those bones used to belong to live people.

The movie is essentially a treasure hunting movie that takes place in the Paris catacombs. The young woman protagonist recruits a friend and some local French people to help her navigate through the catacombs. However, things take a dark turn with numerous references to Hell. We see burning cars, a telephone ringing in the catacombs, as well as monstrous creatures. The movie is shot in a “found footage” type style. Some people love these film styles, others hate them.

Personally, I was not a fan of this movie. Some horror fans absolutely love it, while others really dislike it. Rotten Tomatoes gives it a 39% for audience score and 26% for tomatometer. Google Movies gives it a 4.1/5 stars of the 3k people who have reviewed it. IMBD gives it a 6.2/10 from nearly 69k people who have rated it, to give you an idea of how audiences are reacting to this movie.

I found the scares honestly dumb and non-sensical. I understand there has to be quite a bit of suspension of disbelief when it comes to different types of horror movies, but this was just bad in my opinion. I’ll be honest, when I heard an American director was behind this movie (John Erick Dowdle), I had my doubts. The Paris catacombs are a staple to France. This would be on par with say a Spanish director saying “I want to make a horror movie based off of a spooky landmark or important area in Australia”.

A telephone ringing in the catacombs, a corpse that has been a corpse for 700 years but looks like it just died a few days ago in a cold area, people dressed in cult robes chasing the protagonist group, turning around a corner and suddenly seeing a car on fire with a person in it, I couldn’t help but shake my head.

As stated earlier, the Paris catacombs are inherently a very spooky and eerie location. They didn’t need all that extra fluff to make the movie scary. I feel like if this movie was done by a French director who actually did their own in-depth research of the area it could have been handled much better. I understand the metaphors for Hell and everything in the movie, but there’s been a million and one movies done about the Christain concept of Hell.

Overall this movie had a semi-interesting premise, great setting, but very poor execution. I’ve always been on the fence about found-footage style movies (especially if I feel like I’m going to get motion sick because they can’t keep the camera still or sliding from side to side), but this movie just didn’t do it for me. I give it a 1.5 out of 5 stars.

I’m a queer adopted healthcare worker who writers in their spare time. I have a MPH degree.