Monday, January 4, 2016

"As Above So Below" (2015) d/ John Erick Dowdle

 photo 50531121112014_1416381974591_zps3tpmztmh.jpg
Welcome to 2016, folks. Hope you did right by yourselves,  as I sure did, and partied your way in like champions. We'll kick it off here with a newer genre release in 2015's American found footage horror offering, As Above So Below, as directed by the fellow who gave you stuff like 2007's Poughkeepsie Tapes, Quarantine (2008), and 2010's Devil, and starring the enchanting Brit, Showtime's own Mary Boleyn herself,  Perdita Weeks. It's a hellaciously original effort, for sure, packed with enough alchemy to send Jodorowsky walking a groovy yin-yang path with a baby hippopotamus and two bald, topless chicks and a pretty good start to the new year for genre films, I'd surmise. It's like this...

 photo as-above-so-below-movie-trailer-paris-catacombs_zpsawng5wtl.jpg
"These are some cozy bones, I'm telling you."
Enter Scarlett Marlowe (Perdita Weeks), a chick that obsessively grooves on alchemy the way Lorraine De Selle got off on ecology, that twat. With two PhD's, a Master's, six languages (two dead languages that are not Aramaic, which later introduces her old bell tower-prowling, Aramaic-translating flame, George (Ben Feldman ) to the mix), and a Krav Maga black belt, she's Tomb Raidering her way around the globe in search of the famed Philosopher's Stone, to prove her suicidal father, an alchemy historian himself, had not sought the same in vain. Her travels get her into hot water, more often than not, as evidenced by a close call in Iran, when a collapsing tunnel nearly swallows her, just as she's discovered  the "Rose Key" and documented it with photographs that she lays on George to decipher. George has made his way to Paris, having been abandoned in a Turkish jail by his former lover, who's not only looking to get her translations from him, but also to drag him into the darkest nether regions of the French catacombs on the information. She's bossy. That's right, I said it.

 photo Hai_zpslrbd6crv.jpg
I think I've gone out with this chick once. Twice, tops.
Naturally, she assembles a crack team of catacomb-crawlers, each equipped with obligatory head lamp and Go Pro camera to document their findings, as guided by a street rat named Pap (Francois Civil), and with Benji (Edwin Hodge) the cameraman, George, and two of Pap's homies, Souxie and Zed (Marion Lambert and Ali Marhyar, respectively) in tow. Of course, the adventurers get stuck hundreds of feet below the Paris streets, with a crudely cordoned corridor being their only option. It just so happens that Pap's sewer-savvy pal, La Taupe, or "The Mole" (Cosme Castro) went missing down that corridor, which just so happens to display a quotation legendarily displayed above the gateway to Hell. Yeah, uhh...File under: Never enter here in a million years, under any fucking circumstances. Take a guess who blindly presses the group into the pathway in question? Hint: It's none of the rightfully spooked guys eager to face eternal damnation. What goes down, I'll leave for you to discover for yourselves.

 photo as-above-so-below6_zpsymgoy64n.jpg
"Charlieeeeeeeeeeee! They took my thumb!!"
I found tonight's feature perfectly fine, despite relying on the familiar camera shudder of the "found footage" sub-genre, which one would have to think, was nearing full-on exhaustion by now. Not nearly the case, as Dowdle provides several claustrophobic chills along the way, a smattering of gore, and solid performances from the entire cast. I'm pretty sure most of you will enjoy the experience nearly as much, so snag yourselves a copy and see if I'm right (Always am, no need to test that theory). On the scale, three Wops sounds like a fair assessment.

 photo 18188623639_1650bef5eb_zpsnl28rqly.jpg
You could tell this guy how fucking awesome King Diamond is, but I'm pretty sure he already knows.
 photo nu3w_zps21ec95cd.jpg


CowboyX said...

I liked the sets, the found footage, yuck, but I'm never a big fan of that. Being able to figure a way back seemed like a cheat to me but it was done well.

beedubelhue said...

"Find Your Way Back" by Starship just popped into my head as I was reading your comment. At least it wasn't "We Built This City".


Connect with Facebook