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As Above/So Below

Coming Soon

Perdita Weeks plays Scarlett, a sort-of Indiana Jones on a quest to uncover the Philosopher’s Stone and redeem her deceased (archeologist) father’s reputation. The Philosopher’s Stone is an ancient alchemical relic with the ability to turn any metal into gold and Scarlett believes the stone lies among the six million corpses in the catacombs beneath Paris. Helping along the way are her brilliant translator boyfriend and a team of French catacomb guides and camera operators (basically, just people there to die). Their reckless quest for wealth quickly detours into an internal struggle for redemption beyond the gates of Hell.

There are fleeting moments of suitable in-your-face shock and chill throughout this movie by John Erick Dowdle (Quarantine, Devil). But they’re all pointless afterthoughts in a film that struggles for an identity. Part Da Vinci Code, part Descent, but failing miserably at either until it implodes into uninspired nonsense and gore. Forget writing; the characters mostly discuss riddles that are way over anyone’s head. This film makes Da Vinci Code look like National Treasure. There’s a romantic tie-in that you won’t care about and people die for inexplicable reasons, while the primary leads are offered an opportunity at redemption. Overall, it’s a smart premise with little respect for execution.

Then there’s that issue with found-footage. I’ve teetered back and forth on the technique since The Blair Witch Project did it back in 1999. At least with that film, the shaky-cam element played an integral role in the narrative, whereas this film completely ignores all logic. There’s no question that found-footage can successfully bottle fear through claustrophobia and put-the-audience-in-their-shoes realism, but that footage had better survive the ordeal. Dowdle’s characters and their convenient head-cams don’t survive, so what’s the point? Horror films play within a flexible set of rules, but this is lazy filmmaking for a cheap scare.

As Above/So Below is streaming now on the following services:
Movie Reelist Contributor: Chris Giroux
Chris Giroux is founder and editor-in-charge at Movie Reelist, an entertainment news and review blog serving the most fanatic moviegoers. Chris started his publication in Detroit in 2010 and has since reviewed hundreds of films and interviewed numerous talent across the country. He is an avid film festival attendee and red carpet photographer, having shot the likes of Steven Spielberg, Bill Murray, Mark Hamill, and more. Chris grew up in New Mexico, where he studied mass media writing while working in post-production and multimedia authoring. It is also where he discovered Big Trouble in Little China and Escape from New York, resulting in an unhealthy Kurt Russell obsession.


  1. A total letdown. The basic premise of As Above So Below had potential but the product put on screen did not reflect that at all. It fizzled.

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