Let’s go to Paris.
As Above, So Below came out along a slew of other found-footage horror films a few years ago, I had honestly forgotten about the movie until a student mentioned liking the concept. I asked if the movie was good and they were elusive on giving on answer.
In short, interesting idea, bad execution.
We follow absurdly reckless explorer Scarlett (Perdita Weeks) who is searching for the Philosopher’s Stone and her path leads her to Paris. She meets up with old friend George (Ben Feldman) who claims to not want to be a part of this (although he never walks away) and her cameraman Benji (Edwin Hodge). The three discover there might be a secret chamber in the tunnels underneath Paris that holds an ancient secret, so they enlist some cannon fodder and head down.
I do the film a disservice by making it sound like they bother getting into the tunnels at a reasonable pace. Too much time is spent above ground with characters who say they are smart but act really dumb. The whole plan is half baked at best and we take too long before finally seeing some weird stuff.
Things start getting spooky after they descend a bit, but here is the major problem of the film: we don’t ever get a good look at anything. The bane for viewers of found footage is that we have to deal with shaky cam and bad angles to try and piece out what we are looking at. Sometimes this can be fun, and even the first couple here are interesting, but after a while it just becomes exhausting. Mixing bad camerawork with obnoxiously shouty characters and we have a great formula for a headache.
Unfortunately, some of the ideas and concepts of this descent into a parallel hell are cool and could have made a good movie. The way it is filmed, and the people we have to make the trip with ultimately make this one worth skipping more than watching.
For found footage it is below par due to the already dark setting, which means we already have impaired visuals without the shaky came, and the scares are often too telegraphed or too quick to mean anything. Twice I had to rewind to get a glimpse at what they were reacting to. Honestly, they should have had the spooky crap happening in the background and the characters not noticing—that would have at least been funny.
The film isn’t great, but it isn’t a total failure, either. It manages just enough intrigue to where I do not think I wasted my time. That is the highest endorsement I can give this one. Watch if you’re starved for some found footage.