So this week Bob and I watched As Above, So Below. Yeah yeah, we’re late to the party a little, but it is what it is. Despite somewhat negative things I’ve heard around the water cooler, this movie seems to still be hanging around, being talked about on social media quite often, so we figured what the heck, let’s check it out. Written and directed by John Erick Dowdle (Devil, Quarantine) and co-written by his brother Drew, the film centers around a crew of explorers who go in search of ancient artifacts via treacherous, centuries-old labyrinths and catacombs beneath the city of Paris. The concept is simple and effective; straight forward.
The movie comes flying right out of the gates with some tension and excitement which was an unexpected surprise, though it does trickle off albeit temporarily. I don’t go into super nerd mode with terminology and fancypants tongue twisters about abstract camera work and so on and so forth, so I’ll just simply say that the setting is gorgeous. These Parisian catacombs are indeed real, and they are absolutely beautiful to see.
One thing that immediately caused me discomfort was the tightness. The crew is jammed into these very narrow, very shallow places all throughout the film, and I’m certain like it did for me, it automatically pays off with ANYONE who experiences even the mildest case of the claustrophobia heebie-jeebies. It was a winning move, no doubt. It’s a common phobia, so to hone in and target that right away was nothing short of well-planned and sinfully smart.
Despite the many horrific things that occur in the movie, it was definitely more psychological than physical horror. Not to say that psychological is any better or worse, of course. As I watched it, I couldn’t help but be reminded of movies like Flatliners and even It; movies that bring back personal demons and create and expose terror that starts from within. Those films did it with success, and to a degree, so did As Above, So Below. Truthfully, it almost reminded me of a movie you’d rent to watch with your girlfriend, though you have no intentions of paying attention to nothing more than getting your p w. I certainly didn’t hate it, and though it may not be the film that gets added to my collection anytime soon, I enjoyed it exactly for what it was. The Dowdle brothers executed admirably, no doubt.
I’m giving this title a solid 6, and any previous hopes of traveling to Paris and exploring are now a distant memory.
You can read more about the movie on its imdb page here, and follow the Dowdle brothers on Twitter @Jedowdle and @DrewDowdle.