Sometimes a movie just tries too damn hard and it ends up being smarter than it is to the point that even the characters in the movie aren't quite sure what the hell is going on. "As Above, So Below" is actually an interesting concept that descends into absurdity so damn quick that we just don't give a damn what is happening to anybody on screen.
In the maze of catacombs underneath the city of Paris lies a dark secret as a team of explorers on the hunt for ancient relics and buried treasure end up getting much more then they bargained for as they find themselves knocking on the gates of hell itself.
"As Above, So Below" is the kind of movie that is actually hard to hate on because it is so dull and boring that any sort of action that happens is really just a blessing in disguise in the midst of a narrative that actively tries to be more important then it is and goes out of its way to make as little sense as possible.
Co-writer and director John Erick Dowdle does have a decent little premise on his hands to work with and fits inside the confines of the found footage motif but it quickly descends into such a ham-handed and ridiculous mess of a movie that it just feels like they are making it up as they go along. The dialogue is forced to the point of it being absurd and laughable and the character development is just so damn weak that we never give a damn about the strange and scary events happening below us. When we don't care about any of the characters, all the scary crap that happens all around them just doesn't mean a damn thing and while it wasn't visually assaulting in spite of the found footage style which is always a plus, it just never connects and wouldn't scare a room full of preschoolers.
With an ensemble of mostly unknown actors, nobody is terrible per say but the characters are all these random horror movie stereotypes that are going through the motions rather than trying to get us to invest in something that we actually give a damn about. They just spend 90 minutes running around a cave, dumbfounded when weird stuff happens and thank god when the reach the end of the movie and they finally realize that love can save them when confronted by their own fears, which would have been much more believable they hadn't acted like a bunch of idiots when phones started to ring while several hundred feet underground. In some horror movies they run up the stairs when the killer is in the house, here they went deeper into the catacombs. It's the same difference and just as stupid.
Ultimately, "As Above, So Below" is just really dumb and very bland, you may not get mad at it but you'll wish you had taken a nap during it.
1 out of 5 stars.
"As Above, So Below" is now playing at theatres everywhere, check with local listings for show times.