I do not know when Hollywood is going to learn that Found Footage movies just do not work out. I can understand that they are really easy to make but even the best movies of the genre are usually panned by many critics. Look at movies like Cloverfield and The Blair Witch Project. They are typically seen as two of the best in the genre and Cloverfield is said to make people queasy while The Blair Witch Project is often reevaluated as garbage in the eyes of critics who lost the rose tinted glasses after the gimmick was done to death. Then we get away from our Blair Witch Projects and Paranormal Activitys into the realm of absolute garbage that is the rest of the genre that features such ‘gems’ as The Devil Inside and The Chernobyl Diaries.
So needless to say that my opinion of As Above, So Below was not very high. Coming from the desolate wasteland that is the August film season just as the Blockbusters are winding down and the shit that wasn’t good enough for June and July is rolled out, I knew this was going to be painful to watch and it was. At best it is Cloverfield and that is not saying much for the movie. At the worst, well we get what we got. A strange alchemy movie that isn’t worth the time of day. As Above, So Below is the story of an intrepid crew of students going into the catacombs of Paris to uncover the Philosopher’s Stone. The leader of the expedition, a young woman named Scarlett Marlowe (Perdita Weeks), after finding the Rosa Key is anxious to complete her father’s work and find the stone to grant eternal life. Together with her ex love interest George (Ben Feldman) and a group of French people who she convinces to come with her into the underground areas of Paris. Once down there the movie turns into a found footage movie as the group is attacked by weird and strange things and even come face to face with the Devil itself.
There Was An Attempt To Make Something Different
Using the concepts of Alchemy and the Philosophers Stone is certainly a different concept. It certainly turns away from the stereotypical gigantic monster or crazed zombies. So I will give it to As Above, So Below that their was some thought that went into this movie. It wasn’t just a cash grab… Well as much of a cash grab. They were attempting to do something a little different with the genre and for that I will give a gentle nod to the creators for at least putting forth the effort of taking what could have been unwatchable garbage and making it slightly interesting unwatchable garbage.
Different Doesn’t Mean Better
Just because you try something different, does not mean that the movie is instantly a better movie. This film is still terrible. You have a cast of characters, most of which you know are going to be dead so there is little to no reason to become invested in them and a plot that just seems too outlandish to even become invested in. Suspension of disbelief I can get behind but this film goes into the extremes of my patience.
All of this going on in the underground of Paris is asking a lot of me for certain. The characters are clichéd and one note and the concepts of Alchemy and the Philosopher’s Stone are so poorly explained that it might as well be, we are here for thing X, collect thing X, bad things happen, the end, YAY! Give me your hard-earned money. What is thing X? Huh Alchemy, because fuck you that is why!
Found Footage Clichés and Problems
What can I say? It is a found footage movie and even if they tried new and different things they still have the same problems. The camera is still shaky and nauseating, the cast is one note, the story is a non point, and the only real reason people even want to watch it is to see people die in strange and hard to see ways. It feels like the creators wanted to do something different but got cold feet halfway through. Let’s get an original concept, but oh god!? What if we deviate from the tried and true methods?! What are we going to do? Go back, go back! I don’t know what is more shameful, watching a movie that you know is shit and is proud to be shit or a movie that had some ambition but got too afraid so it went back to its shitty ways.
I do give the film some points for trying to do something different, but very little. The film like all other found footage movies suffers from shaky nauseating camera work, unlikable characters, and a predictable plot. If you have seen one of these movies you have seen them all which makes watching this one a moot point. To see it on cable TV I can understand, but try to spend as little as possible if you have to see it. It isn’t worth the time of day.
Final Score 1/5
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