Horror Movie Review #1: As Above/So Below

Posted: September 5, 2014 in Horror Blog
Tags: , , ,

I’m not really sure why it’s taken me two days to collect my thoughts on what I think of As Above/So Below because I KNOW what I think of it- it’s garbage. Plain and simple, right out there in the open for you. I guess I’ve been spending more time kind of narrowing down what I didn’t like though, which is the challenge.

I’ll warn you that, unlike my typical review style this one ends up being pretty jumbled. Be it because it’s been a few days since I’ve seen the film or because my thoughts on the film itself are messy… or both. So if I keep going back and forth on topics, and reiterating things I apologize.

Also… spoilers. Duh.

 

 

When I saw the trailer for the film my initial reaction was “Hmm, looks like a found footage version of The Descent. I don’t think I’ll waste my time or money.” Well, I had a free movie ticket so really the only thing wasted was my time.  But really I should have heeded my own warning, because all this movie was a rehash of topical found footage tropes and scares as well as scenes taken directly from The Descent. Here, let me show you.

4

The Descent

1

As Above/So Below

Character getting stuck and then causing a cave in? Check.

3

The Descent

2

As Above/ So Below

Lead dropped into a pool of blood? Check.

“The dark plays tricks on you!” quote? Check.

Creatures in the dark? Check.

The list goes on.

 

The thing that really attracted me to this film was the potential, like so many recent horror films I feel. When was the last time we had a good horror film that involved traveling into the underworld itself? And they way the publicized it in the commercials was awesome. Each member of the team essentially experiencing their own Hell. What is torturous to one of them may not be for the others. Hell adapts. I really thought that there was a chance that we’d get a really brutal horror film about this group of young researchers experiencing a Hell on a Clive Barker level of dark.

After the first ten minutes I realized that my hopes were too high. Way too high. Instead this was an hour and a half film about a selfish doctor, who is looking for the philosopher’s stone. When that crucial plot point was revealed I was at least hoping to see Fluffy at some point in the film. Alas, that didn’t happen either.

To tell you the truth I don’t remember a lot about the plot. They go down into the famous catacombs of Paris looking for the stone, and literally all Hell is released upon them. But… the time line in which things occur is all kinds of screwed up. Evil things start happening before we even get to the catacombs, but nobody ever seems to care. And then they talk about it all as if it is myth, even though they’ve seen the apparitions and what not. When they finally go down the catacombs only one entrance is supposed to be evil, but when they go in the normal way it turns them around mysteriously. Are you lost? Good, so was I. Nothing is ever explained, so you have to just go with it real fast otherwise you’ll be stuck wondering why in the first five minutes the lead seeing her dead father hanging doesn’t cause her any alarm, for the rest of the hour and a half.

 

Now, I’ll go back to something I said earlier. I feel like AA/SB suffers from something a good majority of horror films today do- good idea, bad follow through. The creators had a really decent idea on their hands. The problem was it lacked direction, focus, and originality of substance that made up the actual film. There were so many ways this film could have gone other than reusing the same old found footage scare tactics over, and OVER again. Seriously. Anybody who DIDN’T see the scares coming from a mile away must be in a major Antonio Bay like fog of some kind.

The filmmakers didn’t even utilize the title correctly. Now, to many this may seem nit picky, but to me it’s something major. The phrase “as above, so below” is actually a part of Satanic scripture in which it talks about how the world above will be made just like how it is below. Essentially the world as we know it, under the rule of Lucifer, will become a living Hell. Instead this film actually says the opposite- about how life on earth will one day be like it is in heaven, or something along those lines.

Another missed opportunity was when one of the actors exclaims that they have go deeper down in order to escape. What a great opportunity to examine the deeper circles of Hell! But nope. Just another skimmed over plot point, that doesn’t matter at all in the grand scheme of things.

 

I could keep going on about my thoughts and what I would do differently, but I’m going to end it here. Really, in general I feel like the found footage movement in horror reached it’s peek about four or five years ago. They aren’t scary anymore. They are all the same. You could probably take all of the recent found footage films and watch them back to back and literally pick out which scenes and lines line up exactly with the other films.

There are ways to take tropes and still make them scary and fresh.  The Strangers? The Conjuring? You’re Next? Cabin in the Woods? Seriously.

 

So do yourself a favor, skip this movie and go see Guardians of the Galaxy for a fifth time.

 

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