Day 5 (Alex): As Above, So Below

Plugging right along with the 31 Days of Halloween.  Here we are at Day 5 for me with As Above, So Below.  Let me start right off with the premise, will you?

As Above, So Below features a smart protagonist, Archaeologist Scarlett Marlowe, as she follows her father's legacy in the search for Flamel's legendary Philosopher's Stone.  This stone purportedly grants eternal life and turns any metal into gold. Once she learns Flamel's stone resides in the catacombs under Paris, the claustrophobic adventure ensues, as she and a band of spelunkers dive down below Paris.

I am a fan of found-footage films, when done well, and this film does it fairly well, but I feel the clever attempts at using camera mounts on all of the spelunkers seemed a bit forced. The main gripe I have on this film centers around an excess of characters and their stories, which causes it to fall prey to the old cliches of small groups being picked off, one by one, as the film's monster/villain attacks.  I believe the story would improve greatly focused on fewer characters, and leading the audience to develop a stronger relationship with each of them. Instead, we have several peripheral characters we know little about, and care little about. 

Don't get me wrong, I really had a LOT of fun watching this one, especially as they crawled through the piles of bones.  Plus, in a very rare moment for me, I actually had to turn away as one man struggled to pull himself through a tight crevice laden with human bones. Being claustrophobic myself, I felt tightness grip my throat leading to short, quick breaths. The framing of that shot as well as many others captured the tension of the scenes very well, and served their purpose.

The story itself contains an outstanding premise, and promises to take us on a horror-filled journey that will keep us on the edge of our seats, gasping for breath, all the while, hoping we don't choke on our popcorn. And it did that for me (minus the popcorn - didn't make any, cue sad face here).  I sat there, enthralled, but over time I saw the old tropes and cliches, and over time the wonder faded, and I found myself, not so full of wonder, but rather amused.  

In summary, I believe this is definitely worth watching, and would make a great party film with your friends and family.  

My overall score?  5 bits out of 8.

Follow this link to see where you can stream it.  It's not free this month, but can be rented for 3 bucks, which is not bad.