Skip to main content

New Promo For #LADYBIRD

As Above So Below Review: Shaky Camera Spawns More Evil Shaky Cameras

Although it tries for something new, the horror flick As Above So Below delivers the same old thing.
The found-footage/shaky camera genre feels irrevocably stuck: once a celebrated visceral experience, directors now make us more motion-sick than truly terrified, letting half-baked scripts and shoddy acting turn things into decidedly B-level fare. But rather than evolve it by utilizing standard camerawork and handheld devices - thus celebrating the best aspects of both - we've seen just the opposite: a move to add more cameras and even more shakiness. Such is the state of As Above So Below, a film that dabbles in pseudo-science, dispenses too many horror film cliches, and tries its best to frighten us.

Scholar/explorer Scarlett (Perdita Weeks) is a kind of female Indiana Jones: impetuous but highly intelligent, she's carrying on the good work of her deceased father, looking for the mythological Philosophers Stone. Her early journey takes her to Iran, where she barely survives their efforts to blow up a series of catacombs that hold the Stone's possible location in Paris. Returning home, the adventurer hires a team of catacomb hunters and the Aramaic linguist George (Ben Feldman), who just happens to be her former lover, to venture into the ancient tunnels in search of the healing stone. Unfortunately, they're not ready for the madness they'll find, and those discoveries will push them to edge of death while Scarlett seeks the elusive Stone.

Above tries to elevate itself into a smarter genre horror film, as science and mythology clash in classic speculative fiction; but it too often loses that edge. Focusing nearly 30 minutes of time before they even descend into the catacombs, our characters sing and establish their backstories for too long before ultimately agreeing to work with one another. It's not until then that the film finally starts to look and feel like I'd expect, flipping back and forth between history lesson and tense build-ups before releasing some fairly scary moments. But then the ridiculous genre cliches begin to pop up, including principal camera guy Benjy (Edwin Hodge) making the decision to follow noises and mysterious tennants of the tunnels that will ultimately lead to his death. Dumb. Visually, we're forced into too many close-quarters camera shots where we can't even tell what is happening. The last 10 minutes of Above is just that, as Scarlett runs (and keeps running into) all sorts of danger as she seeks to understand the Stone's allure.

The one bright spot is Weeks: her striking features and tough-mindedness keeps the film from utterly hitting the skids. She's not a well-known property, but perhaps a leading director will make the smart decision to cast in future projects. The rest of the troupe is a collection of no-names that will probably (and should) remain so, their screaming and blank stares serving as 90% of their efforts. Director/Co-Writer John Erick Dowdle doesn't help at all, utilizing too little of the history of Paris and the stone mythology in favor of cheap scare tactics and too much shaky cam. The story of the Philosophers Stone sounds interesting, as does Scarlett's backstory, but Dowdle does little to keep that going through a terrible third act, where the team is just running through catacombs while Paris' dead try to catch them.

As Above So Below takes too long to get started, is too random in many parts, and too shaky and ineffective in others. Weeks does her best to keep this thing from going off the rails, but its mix of pseudo-science and Indiana Jones history soon gives way to a standard fright-fest that could have been so much more. The genre is in real trouble, and it's going to take a director with vision to pull it out of the muck before we see things truly evolve...lest horror fans abandon it altogether.

As Above So Below is Rated R for bloody violence/terror, and language throughout and has a runtime of just 93 minutes.

Discuss this review with fellow SJF fans on Facebook. On Twitter, follow us at @SandwichJohnFilms, and follow author Matt Cummings at @mfc90125.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Morbius: The Living Vampire Film In The Works

The Spider spin-offs keep on coming! With Venom now shooting, an even more obscure character from the web-slinger's extensive comicbook past has now been unearthed, with plans for a movie. Power Rangers writing duo Matt Sazama and Burk Sharpless are in talks to craft the script for Morbius: The Living Vampire.

Sony is pushing ahead with another potential Spider-movie, which, like Venom, is unlikely to be linked to the MCU. What it will boast, however, is the story of Michael Morbius, a Nobel Prize-winning biochemist who tries to cure a rare blood disease using an experimental treatment that combines electroshock therapy and vampire bats. The results are predictably catastrophic, and he's transformed into... well, the title should be a clue. He has some of the traditional vampiric qualities – he ingests blood to live, and conversely is not fond of bright light. He can fly, has superhuman strength and healing capabilities. When he bites victims and drinks their blood, his attac…

Enter For A Chance To Win A Family Four Pack To See COCO In Minnesota

© 2017 Disney/Pixar Enter for your chance to win a family four pack to see COCO in Minnesota on November 15th at 7:30PM.

In Disney•Pixar’s “Coco,” aspiring musician Miguel (voice of newcomer Anthony Gonzalez) teams up with charming trickster Hector (voice of Gael García Bernal) on an extraordinary journey through the Land of the Dead.



In theatres November 22!

CLICK HERE TO ENTER-

Website: movies.disney.com/coco
Facebook: /PixarCoco
Twitter: @pixarcoco
Hashtag: #PixarCoco

While supplies last. Once all allotted passes are redeemed, the code will no longer be valid. Supplies are limited.

NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. Limit one (1) admit-two pass per person. This film is rated PG. Must be 13 years of age or older to win passes. Employees of all promotional partners and their agencies are not eligible. Void where prohibited. Entries must be received by [12:00PM], [11-19-2017] to be eligible to receive pass. Winners will be contacted via e-mail to receive their pass. Sponsors not responsible for…

Enter For A Chance To Win Passes To See DARKEST HOUR In Dallas

Enter For A Chance To Win Passes To See DARKEST HOUR on December 5th at 7:00 PM in Dallas

During the early days of World War II, with the fall of France imminent, Britain faces its darkest hour as the threat of invasion looms. As the seemingly unstoppable Nazi forces advance, and with the Allied army cornered on the beaches of Dunkirk, the fate of Western Europe hangs on the leadership of the newly-appointed British Prime Minister Winston Churchill (Academy Award nominee Gary Oldman). While maneuvering around his political rivals, he must confront the ultimate choice: negotiate with Hitler and save the British people at a terrible cost or rally the nation and fight on against incredible odds. Directed by Joe Wright, DARKEST HOUR is the dramatic and inspiring story of four weeks in 1940 during which Churchill’s courage to lead changed the course of world history.



CLICK HERE TO ENTER-

#DarkestHour
http://www.DarkestHourFilm.com
https://www.facebook.com/darkesthourfilm
https://twitter.c…