December 7, 2014

Blu-ray Review: As Above, So Below (2014)
(aka Yeah, Let's Go Down There.)
Release Date: December 2nd (BD)
Country: USA.. 
Rating: Unrated.
Written by: Drew Dowdle & John Erick Dowdle.
Directed by: John Erick Dowdle.
Starring: Perdita Weeks, Ben Feldman, Edwin Hodge, and Francois Civil.

The Dowdle Brothers have a pretty decent track record when it comes to making Horror flicks: The Poughkeepise Tapes (Review), Quarantine (Review), and Devil all have their strong points, even if they weren't perfect efforts. They can craft a solid story, that much is evident.

With their new effort, As Above, So Below, they have maybe made the best film of their career, or at least their most engaging one.

Scarlett is a QT Scholar of Alchemy who is in search of the fabled Philosopher's Stone; a legendary substance that is said to be able to turn lead into gold, and may also have the ability to heal wounds, and possibly even grant immortality. If only she'd taken the time to watch any of the Harry Potter films, she would have known that it had been tucked safely away at Hogwarts the entire time.

She'll stop at nothing to get the stone (because she's selfish and careless) including risking death in Iran, or conning her claustrophobic ex-boyfriend into traveling into the depths of the massive tunnels that lie far below Paris, where it's apparently hidden. I mean, she abandoned the guy once while searching for the stone, so it really takes some nerve to ask him to help her again, especially considering his petrifying fear of being underground (due to a personal tragedy he suffered as a kid.) She's obviously thoughtful and caring, folks.

She assembles a rag-tag group of young Urban Explorers to take them into the tunnels below Paris, and they waste no time getting started. Soon after they enter the "forbidden zone" of the tunnel system, the path behind them collapses, which forces them to take a new, more perilous path, from which from no one foolish enough to venture down has ever returned. Scarlett thinks that sounds like a great idea, and that nothing bad could possibly happen from delving deeper into the dark, abandoned, forbidden zone, which according to ancient legend, is the home to the Gateway to Hell itself. Sure thing.

Form here on out, shit gets really tight (physically) and creepy (physically and mentally), and it's not long before the group realizes that they should have stayed above ground, because Satan is down here with them, and he's intent on killing them all for being so blatantly stupid. Supernatural shenanigans ensue.

Lots of critics shit on this movie, most of them dismissing it outright as a poor offering that did little right, which we do not understand. Not that most critics that make up the Rotten Tomatoes aggregate don't have a stick shoved up their ass to begin with, but this movie was far from being as bad as they would have you believe.In fact, it's actually pretty good.

As Above, So Below is a very effective Cinema Verite effort that was filled with some great ideas, a better backstory than most other films of its kind would bother to conjure up, and some genuinely harrowing, terrifying, scenes & sequences. Are you claustrophobic? If so, this movie will give you fits. To me, the idea of anybody of sound mind willingly crawling through tight spaces and spelunking into the depths of the Earth is a terrifying prospect, and this movie conveys that sense of danger perfectly.

Any film that deals with the idea of its characters exploring or drawing close to the Gateway to Hell (Event Horizon, for example) is compelling to us. When you take that whole conceit and set it hundreds of feet underground, it of course gets even more compelling, mainly because the idea of being trapped underground makes any scenario extra terrifying. Much like Beneath (Review) or The Descent, both of which involve people being trapped underground while fighting off some sort of evil threat, As Above, So Below plays on the condition of claustrophobia to maximum effect. As we said above, if tight spaces terrify you, then this movie will absolutely give you fits.

The bottom line is that this movie entertained us without making us feel like morons for liking it, and in the end, that's all that really matters.

Anyone who willingly ventures into the bowels of the Earth for any reason, is insane.

Why do so many "strong" female characters come off as pushy, careless, and selfish? Scarlett really does come off as some spoiled little girl who thinks that she can do whatever she wants to achieve her goals, without seriously considering how dire the consequences of her actions could be for not only herself, but for everyone else she's involved in her crazy schemes.

She's really cute though, so I suppose that makes it alright?

This one isn't all that heavy on the blood & gore; one or two graphic scenes, and that's about it.

Nope. Not even so much as a menage a trois.

Don't ever let an overly-ambitious girl talk you into exploring catacombs that are hundreds of feet below ground; she'll only get you killed.

Don't listen to critics who decry this movie as being bland or sub-par, because As Above, So Below is a solid movie that played better than do most Found Footage/POV flicks. The bottom line is that this is an entertaining movie that will most likely give you a good fright or two along the way, and it's definitely worthy of a rent, if not a buy.


As Above, So Below is available now on Blu-ray, DVD, and VOD.

Perdita Weeks is a fairly accomplished actress who isn't afraid to show up n a Horror flick like this one or Prowl (Review), every now and then. She's also fairly hot. She's also got a sister named Honeysuckle and a brother named Rollo, which makes us wonder what their parents were thinking.


  1. i can't wait to watch this, looks cool...

  2. A higher score than 'The Babadook'? Good Joke, this movie was garb. Living in the shadow of 'The Descent'

    1. The Babadook was lame, just like that tard kid that was in it

  3. For the record, we did enjoy As Above more than The Babadook. That doesn't necessarily mean that it's a better movie, just that we enjoyed it more at the time.

    If anything, we should have probably given The Babadook a B+, but honestly, it wasn't until the final act that we started to truly love it. It was brilliant at the end, but overall, it was a bit uneven for our tastes.

    If we graded The Babadook on how much we liked it, it's a C. If we graded it on its quality, it's an A. So in the end, a B felt right to us.

    The reverse is true for As Above; A for enjoyment, C for quality.

    We call them as we see them at the time, Anon. If we went back and adjusted grades based on what we gave other, "better" movies, that's all we'd do. It's all subjective, really.

  4. The way they got stuck in the caves+the continuing decent despite how stupid the decision was, was annoying.

    As they went deeper, the movie's enjoyment ebbed and flowed. At times it was creepy with some solid action, at other times it was rote and uninteresting.

    Nonetheless, the movie felt expensive, like a right spectacle. The production was high quality, and it's always fun to watch a horror movie where they seem to have spent a tad more on the budget than the usual fare.

    I would say this is a three-nosferatu-head effort. Definitely worth a viewing for some good fun.

    As for Babadook- perhaps the emotional tone was not as deeper and the characters more satisfying, but it was definitely a more oppressive/less fun movie, and while the mother's insanity toward the end was creepy, the shift to the child's perspective felt abrupt, and seemed to halt the pace of the movie. I like that it's getting positive attention, but bemoan the fact that As Above, which is solid in its own way, got totally railroaded.

  5. Well said, Mob.

    They're both solid efforts in their own way, and they both have issues. Personallly, I think that Babadook got a bit too much love, and As Above got a bit too little.

  6. That was a solid movie, not as much quality than Babadook in many regards but more fun and this is a fine thing. I have only one complain: why the hell is she that grande but can't read the words written on those stones? Are you kidding me? Such a noisy chick with more intelligence blessed than good for her personality and not able or willing to learn this language? Nah, probably crappy plot device to make her ex-BF necessary.

    In the end, I was able to enjoy this movie but don't think that we should build a cult about it.

  7. Great review; you hit the nail on the head. Sure, people can make legitimate complaints about quality or depth, but ultimately this was a pretty fun and satisfying adventure/horror flick. For me, the only real complaint I had was that they didn't have enough hellishness during the climax. The imagery of the guy sitting in the chair (miles under Paris, in Hell apparently) was brilliant and creepy, but the filmmakers decided to keep the horror at a 7 instead of cranking it up to 10. It's kind of like being on a rollercoaster, getting one or two good loops/drops, and then coasting to a stop right when you really want more. But again, overall, good movie and definitely something I'll rewatch.

  8. Myra, Good points.

    And Anon, we wanted the ending to be a bit more "hellish" as well. The ending of this one reminded us of how The Tunnel (2011) ended, interviews and all.

  9. Your point about female characters like Ms Weeks was well taken. I was looking forward to seeing her die messily, hoping she would realize right before she expired what a selfish, bullying bitch she had been putting people's lives at risk to fulfill her ambitions - sigh. The rest of the movie seemed to be a case of missed opportunities. There was little attempt to create mood or suspense despite the wonderfully creepy location, but kept everyone running around so fast in the hope folks wouldn't notice the plot made no sense. There was something about dealing with guilt but why did some survive and others didn't? Hooded ghoulies and rock creatures were decidedly unscary though the piano and burning car were splendid but the former was a throwaway. The most frightening thing in the movie was the girl with the huge eyes and her band of cultists - those I wanted to know more about. There was potential for a powerful horror movie but they squandered it. Final thought: With all that equipment why didn't they think to bring gloves?

  10. I've just brought this can't wait to see it. Its good to see it has a rating of 4/5 on here,even IMDb and rotten t didn't rate it well but they proberly don't like horror flicks as much as the folks on here. PS I regonised that salems lot vampire anywhere. IMO still a great scary movie even today(salems lot)