On August 29th, the conservatively budgeted "As Above, So Below" opens nationwide. The latest feature length horror flick from Legendary Pictures, follows a group of eager explorers into the heart of Paris. Lead by a young archeologist, in search of a lost relic, the explorers venture into a previously unknown section of the catacombs. As they delve deeper into the mysteries of this city of the dead, unknown forces rise to unleash their darkest thoughts and fears against them.
Opening this December, "The Pyramid" (previous title, Site 146) seeks to unearth and evoke the same thrills and chills. Once again, an eager team of archeologists explore the depths of a newly discovered three sided pyramid. Perhaps the first and only pyramid of its kind, the team rushes in to explore this new wonder, ignoring the warnings carved into the walls around them. Immediately getting lost in an endless maze of catacombs, they quickly find themselves running for their lives, as an ancient evil takes out its anger upon them one by one.
While set in very different locations, these two movies bear some incredibly obvious similarities. Both feature archeological exploration. Both feature an ancient ancient catacombs. Both are likely to contain lots of screaming, crawling, running, more screaming, something undead, and of course blood. Putting all of that aside, there really isn't much to set these films apart, in regards to their plots and likely outcomes. Both of these films could be horrible or fantastically horrific and thrilling. It's difficult to say, but based on the trailers, one of these must be a sequel or a prequel for the other. The situation and characters are generally cookie cutter variations on what you'd expect in any serious horror flick. But it almost feels like the writers of both films sat in on the same brainstorming sessions.
Shot in the catacombs of Paris, directed and co-written by John Erick Dowdle, "As Above, So Below" takes advantage of its close quartered, bone laden, and mold encrusted environment. "The Pyramid" on the other hand, is obviously set on an environmentally regulated soundstage for much of what is seen. Directed by screenwriter Grégory Levasseur, best known for his work on "The Hills Have Eyes," "The Pyramid" has a seasoned maker of horror at its helm, while "As Above, So Below" has a seasoned master of the thriller calling the shots. This being the case, it may come down to what audience find more chilling, psychological twists or blood and guts action.
These films may have proceeded down very different roads to completion, so it is difficult to label them the same movie, but they are far from unique. Of course, having only witnessed a small portion of each film, as depicted in their trailers, one can only hazard to guess at their theatrical success or failure. The first official trailer for "The Pyramid" was released on the 26th, immediately over selling the concepts of ancient curses and doomed archeologists. While I'm sure that some may be intrigued, others may voice a sigh of frustration, as very little is left to the imagination by the trailer's end. It may as well be call 'The Catacombs Have Mummies.' As summer comes to a close, reviews are mixed and comparisons and conclusions (Bloody-Disgusting.com) are definitely being made, as "As Above, So Below" (Hollywood Reporter) inches its way into theaters.