"AS ABOVE SO BELOW" from Legendary/Universal opens Fri., Aug. 29, 2014.
STARRING: Perdita Weeks, Edwin Hodge, Ben Feldman and Francois Civil.
DIRECTOR: John Erick Dowdle ("Quarantine", "Devil")
SYNOPSIS: Archaeologist Scarlett Marlowe (Weeks) is in hot pursuit of alchemist Nicolas Flamel's legendary Philosopher's Stone the fabled artifact that has been said to turn metal into gold and grant eternal life to whoever possesses it. Her motivation comes from a desire to prove that her father, who went mad and killed himself in the same pursuit, isn't crazy. She also hopes to prove to everyone that the stone is real. To that end, she, her colleagues and several hipster explorers head into the underground catacombs of Paris to find the stone amongst grave that holds over six million skeletons.
Despite the French people's questionable usage of mass graves, there are several mysteries to be solved. For example, why this film is called a 'found footage' film. It's one way to explain the narrative approach but calling it found footage is a stretch.
Other films of this genre don't bother with any form of justification. Most of them just blunder into the story and trust the viewer to accept what happens. It usually works just fine for most people except those over-analytical critics who want a reason for fiction to be real. There's nothing that deep here. A reasonably pretty girl is semi-altruistic in herr effort to justify her father's suicide with her quest for the Philosopher's Stone. She and her friends go underground in Paris, a lot of creepy things happen and the ending is left open (more or less) for a sequel just in case this film makes a lot of money.
It's not a great film and it's difficult to care about these people. The part of the film that is the adventure ends much too soon. The rest of it that is the horror has been done to death. It might be time to bring this junk above ground where lighting tricks are easier for dull filmmakers to accomplish. Even the rank amateurs who make films for Chiller Network do better work than this. Some of those films are almost scary. This one is not.