Movie review: As Above, So Below (2014)


‘As Above, So Below’ is a 2014 horror film that revolves on a team of explorers venturing down into the catacombs beneath the streets of Paris to find the legendary Philosopher’s Stone (reminded me of the chapter one of Harry Potter story…haha). As they goes deeper, they terrifyingly encounter strange phenomenons and eventually uncover the dark secret that lies within the city of the dead. The movie title itself looks interesting, and so does the plot.

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The story relies on many historical aspects to help back up the whole thing as to make it more realistic and trustworthy. It may turns out that those historical elements may be exaggerated or even not real to some point, but it didn’t bother me. Instead, it adds more drama and value to keep the movie engaging. After watching the movie, I do a quick search of the meaning behind the phrase ‘as above, so below’. It is a philosophy under Hermeticism that circulate throughout occult or magical circles. Briefly it means what happens on one level of reality also happens on every other level; the microcosm and macrocosm behave alike. After the movie, I’m also interested to uncover more on the history and mystery of the catacombs, empire of the dead beneath Paris.

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Ok…let’s get back to the movie. I find it enjoyable despite it received low ratings from most critics out there. It has a good story (at least it is not shallow and only shows the horror part). The movie also successfully sets the terrifying mood and haunting atmosphere through the found-footage approach, effective setting set-up (dark and narrow tunnels), creepy sound and echos, good performance by the casts, good-pacing story development, and of course some inevitable jump-scare moments in this kind of movie. There is one scene that really freak me out in that second or two. On the other hand, I will never go through that kind of tunnels (can easily gets claustrophobia) no matter how ambitious, brave or daring I am (like the main character Scarlett).

I also enjoy that the movie gets continuously intense in the last quarter of the film. As mentioned earlier, the casts (Perdita Weeks, Ben Feldman, Edwin Hodge, Francois Civil, etc) delivered impressive performances and I can really felt as though they were really in that fearsome situation. The story also has quite a good ending, not to mention that the deaths of several characters earlier are very much predictable. Overall, it’s quite an entertaining and a solid horror film. Out of 10 points, I rate ‘As Above, So Below’ a total of 7.4. Not bad. After this horror film, now I’m looking forward to ‘The Pyramid’, another horror film set to be released early next month.

(Images in this post are from various sources throughout the world wide web)

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