Have you ever wondered what National Treasure would be like if it were a found footage horror movie?! Well wonder no more, because someone made it!
I am such a hypocrite. I have talked before about my love of horror movies. And my hatred for found footage movies that aren’t The Blair Witch. Anything after that is just trying to be The Blair Witch. Do I still go spend my hard earned (ok… not HARD earned) dollars at the theater to see them when they come out. Yet I still feel the need to chastise people for seeing crappy movies. Then people wonder why studios keep making crappy movies!! But at the same time, it is something I have in common with my niece, and gives me a chance to spend time with her before she runs off to college and I never see her again. So I’ve made my peace with it.
I’ve always said my problem with found footage movies is two fold. One, they’re all the same. A demon has possessed the house! Or someone in the house! Or something in the house! And two, why the hell doesn’t anyone put down the f**king camera when the house is possessed? Who cares at that point?! So these are the two points where As Above, So Below got it RIGHT.
The movie is about Scarlet Marlowe (Perdita Weeks), an alchemy student, who is continuing her father’s search for the Philosopher’s stone. Which I had never heard of, but turns out was a real thing. So kudos for putting real history into your movie. The search takes them to a museum where they (stop me if this sounds familiar) borrow a headstone while no one is looking because she is convinced there is a riddle on the back. When none can be seen, she takes cleaning products from a near by cart and creates a solution that makes a riddle appear as if from no where. (cough, National Treasure, cough). The trail leads them down The Catacombs in Paris where they are forced further and further down until they reach what seems to be the literal gates of Hell.
What I liked about this movie is how different it is than your typical horror movie these days. There were no demons in someones house. No possessed dolls that are clear ripoffs of Chucky. I was happy to see something, ANYTHING that was different. Was it fantastic? No, not by any means. Was it as bad as some other reviews make it out to be? Not at all. I also was happy with the fact that they had cameras on their head lamps. Yes, they had a handheld camera that they carried. I wish they would get rid of it. But at least the movie acknowledged me and my totally legitimate arguments for how stupid it is to hold onto a camera while you’re family is about to be killed. I should totally work for a studio. If anyone is reading this, I will work for a reduced salary. I know times are tough down there in Hollywood. I am rather brilliant.
There were plenty of problems with the film. In the climactic scene, Scarlet has to run through endless corridors in Hell and she absolutely destroys a couple demons on her way. Seems like if they are this easy to get rid of, there really isn’t anything to be afraid of right? Just stiff arm everything in your way until you find the exit! Am I the only one who thought of this?
Anyway, it was rated R (oh right! horror movies cannot be rated PG-13! That’s not horror! I don’t care what you call it, it’s not horror. Pet peeve #3) which made me happy. I am very much over the entire found footage genre. Every preview I see gets an over the top eye roll like this one, but As Above, So Below certainly could have been worse. Apparently that’s the nicest thing that’s been said about this movie!