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Posted on Thu. Aug. 28, 2014 - 12:01 am EDT

Movie review: 'As Above, So Below' lacks horror-flick credibility

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Film review

‘As Above, So Below’

WHAT: This hapless would-be horror flick stars Perdita Weeks as a tomb raider leading a search for the eternal life-giving Philosopher’s Stone in underground Paris, where they encounter paranormal threats.

WHERE PLAYING: Carmike-Jefferson Pointe, Coldwater, Huntington 7

RUNNING TIME: 1 hour, 33 minutes

RATING: R for bloody violence and terror, and language throughout.

No star rating available

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LOS ANGELES — “Abandon all hope, ye who enter here,” is the inscription uncovered by a gang of 20-something treasure hunters in the catacomb-hopping horror flick “As Above, So Below.”

But the warning could easily apply to viewers checking out this rather hopeless mash-up of “The Descent” and “(Rec),” not to mention a dozen other found-footage movies that have clogged the screens over the last five years.

Hardly credible, even for a film claiming that the gates of hell lie a few hundred feet below Paris, this low-budget effort from director John Erick Dowdle and writer-producer-brother Drew Dowdle provides a few late scares after plenty of eye-rolling setup, with said scares due more to the heavy sound design than the action itself.

First seen wearing a headscarf as she explores an off-limits cavern in Iran, gorgeous tomb raider Scarlett (Perdita Weeks) claims to be a black belt in Capoeira while holding a doctorate from University College London. While she never uses her fighting skills and fails to cite Dante when coming across the above-mentioned quote, she’s still brazen enough to continue her dead father’s lifelong quest to discover the legendary, eternal-life giving Philosopher’s Stone.

Teaming up with an ex-pat clockmaker (Ben Feldman, aka Ginsberg on “Mad Men”), who also speaks fluent Aramaic, and a guy named Benji (Edwin Hodge, “The Purge”), who’s been brought on as the requisite cameraman-who-keeps-shooting-at-all-costs, Scarlett uncovers a few clues that lead her to the Paris catacombs, which famously house the bones of 6 million dead, buried there up through the late 19th century.

The three Americans then contract the services of three spelunking Frenchies (Francois Civil, Marion Lambert, Ali Marhyar) and together they head underground, the treasure hunt taking them further and further down as things inevitably get out of hand.

“As Above” never passes the credibility test from the get-go, only partially salvaged by a few chilling moments that pop up in the final reel.


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