As Above, So Below directed by John Erick Dowdle
Starring – Perdita Weeks, Ben Feldman and Edwin Hodge
The only way out is down.
Archaeologist and historian Scarlett (Perdita Weeks) dedicates her life to continuing her fathers work, trying to discover Flamel’s Philosophers Stone. As her and a team of explorers descend into the catacombs beneath Paris, all is not as it seems and the dark secrets of the underground world are discovered.
With the closing credits rolling, and the pillow moved away from my face I think its time to review the events that just took place. So the film begins and introduces the central protagonist, Scarlett, doing what she does best; exploring and discovering. From the offset we get the impression all is not as it should be and from then on it only gets worse and worse and worse.
The unique storyline relies mostly on the audience interpreting the spooks and scares to a deeper level which really makes it ten times scarier. Though the story in itself is clever and unique, there is so much that is left unexplained as the ‘found footage’ elements of the narrative come from the characters perspective who also don’t have much in the way of explanation for the events unfolding. Whereas the characters have no time to process whats going on, the audience try to form their own interpretations which in a sense makes them think more about it and focus more on the action.
The seamless editing within the film then ensures that the focus on the film, makes it more eerie and unnerving. Objects that aren’t there one minute suddenly appear using invisible cuts, the very same cuts that lengthen the action and don’t allow you to pause and take a breather. The film maintains tension and even manages to up it half an hour before the ending. In fact the film seems to up the level with each level the characters descend. The entirety of the film links well and keeps increasing the level of horror experienced for the both the characters and the audience. The setting is claustrophobic and the increased levels of tension start from the minute the film does.
I absolutely love this film, its my second viewing and I was still just as spooked this time round. My only grievances with it are the slightly annoying and generic characters. I mean for starters Scarlett is depicted as a headstrong and self assured woman, as a result of this she leads the entire team into danger and never really seems to show any regret or apology for doing so. George (Ben Feldham) is a clever but traumatised male who is apparently unable to stand on his own two feet without relying on Scarlett, making her a lot worse.
Overall I really think the film is a unique twist on the found footage genre and the narrative is something totally different to what I’ve seen before. Ignore the characters and allow the horror and narrative to take you deeper. Would definitely recommend, just have the pause button at the ready and a blanket to hide under.