As Above, So Below (film)
As Above, So Below is a 2014 American horror film written and directed by John Erick Dowdle and co-written by his brother Drew. It is presented as found footage of a documentary crew's experience exploring the Catacombs of Paris. The film was produced by Legendary Pictures and distributed by Universal Pictures, making it the first film in Legendary's deal with Universal. The film was released on August 29, 2014, and stars Perdita Weeks, Ben Feldman, Edwin Hodge, François Civil, Marion Lambert, and Ali Marhyar.
|As Above, So Below|
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||John Erick Dowdle|
|Music by||Keefus Ciancia|
|Edited by||Elliot Greenberg|
Brothers Dowdle Productions
|Distributed by||Universal Pictures|
|Box office||$41.8–41.9 million|
Scarlett Marlowe, a young alchemy scholar, continues her dead father's work searching for the philosopher's stone, a legendary alchemical substance capable of turning base metals into gold or silver and grant eternal life, discovered by Nicolas Flamel. After finding the "Rose Key" in a cave in Iran which she narrowly escapes as it collapses, she travels to Paris, where she enlists the help of George, her former lover. Along with Benji the cameraman, they translate Flamel's headstone, which contains a riddle that leads them 370 feet underneath the streets of Paris. She enlists the help of a guide called Papillon, his girlfriend Souxie, and friend Zed to search the Catacombs of Paris. George refuses to go but is driven into the caves with the group when a policeman spots them. After crawling through a narrow tunnel which collapses, they encounter female cultists who are singing and appear possessed. They find themselves in a blocked tunnel that Papillion is reluctant to breach, as the only people who have gone through, including Pap's friend La Taupe (The Mole), have never been seen again.
After venturing deeper into the catacombs, they encounter La Taupe, who agrees to guide them out and informs them the only way out is down. They eventually find a tomb with a preserved Templar Knight, a mound of treasure, and the Flamel Stone. Removing the stone, Scarlett realizes too late that the treasure is a trap, and the room collapses. La Taupe is lost under the rubble and is left behind by the group.
With the Flamel Stone, Scarlett magically heals the group's injuries. They find a drawing of a door on the ceiling along with a Gnostic Star of David, symbolizing "As above, so below", revealing a door hidden in the floor. Going through the opening, they find a tunnel marked with the phrase "Abandon all hope, ye who enter here" in Greek, identical to the entrance to Hell in Dante's Inferno.
Passing through, they find a dark reflection of the room they left, including La Taupe, who kills Souxie, before disappearing in the narrow tunnels. They realize they must continue and go deeper to escape. Along the way, Benji the cameraman is pushed to his death down a hole by the lead female cultist. They encounter a burning car and an occupant, an incident from Pap's past who pulls in Papillon and sinks into the floor. They fail to pull Pap out of the ground. As they continue, they see apparitions of terrifying spirits and demons. Statues in the wall come to life, and one violently attacks George. After trying to drag him further, George murmurs, "Vitriol", another riddle from earlier, and Scarlett realizes the Flamel stone itself is yet another trap. Only by returning it will she find the real stone.
As she races back to the crypt, she recognizes a man who hanged himself as her father. After nearly being drowned in a line of blood by an unseen force, she returns to the crypt and finds a polished mirror, which is when she realizes she has the magical abilities of the stone. She returns to George, kissing him as heals him. She explains they must confront their torments, as this place provides an alternate form of reality. As the hooded demons chase them, they find and jump down a deep hole. They first believe there is no logical way of surviving the fall but survive. At the bottom, they see the hole is no longer there. Eventually, Scarlett, George, and Zed find a manhole on the floor, which when pushed down delivers them right side up onto the surface, on a street overlooking the Notre Dame. Scarlett and George hold each other while Zed walks away, finally safe. In an ending log, Scarlett concludes her documentary by stating that her mission has been accomplished.
With permission from the French authorities the film was shot in the real catacombs of Paris. There was very little use of props, as the actors had to use the environment around them. Production in the actual catacombs was difficult for the cast and especially the crew as there was no electricity or cell phone service in the centuries-old tunnels. As Ben Feldman suffered from claustrophobia, he had to keep taking breaks to cope.
The first trailer of the film was revealed on April 24, 2014. YouTuber PewDiePie and his girlfriend Marzia Bisognin promoted the film by embarking on a quest into the catacombs, where they would be scared in a variety of ways.
As Above, So Below was released on DVD and Blu-ray on December 2, 2014.
On Rotten Tomatoes, the film has an approval rating of 25% based on 72 reviews and an average rating of 4.4/10. The website's critical consensus states, "After an intriguing setup that threatens to claw its way out of found-footage overkill, As Above, So Below plummets into clichéd mediocrity." On Metacritic, the film has a rating of 38 out of 100 based on 23 critics, indicating "generally unfavorable reviews."
Peter Debruge gave the film a mixed review in Variety, writing, "It all makes for clumsy-fun escapism, not bad as end-of-summer chillers go, but small-time compared with other Legendary releases." Debruge called the ending "unspeakably corny." Bruce Demara wrote in The Toronto Star, "As Above, So Below has some good scares and a decent cast. But it's yet another found footage thriller, so jittery camera sequences may induce nausea." Drew Hunt expressed similar sentiments in The Chicago Reader, writing "An intriguing and intensely creepy premise is squandered on this rudimentary found-footage horror film." Terry Staunton gave the film a mildly positive review in Radio Times, stating, "It's a perfectly serviceable addition to the 'found footage' genre of chillers from director/co-writer John Erick Dowdle (Devil), who puts cameras in each character's helmet, allowing quick cuts from one scene to another. But despite the claustrophobia of the setting, he never quite racks up enough tension for a full-on fright-fest." The entertainment oriented website JoBlo wrote, "Not the worst example of found footage by a long shot, and it moves a decent pace with a couple of good scares. However, this could have been a far more frightening feature if only it had expanded on its scary premise."
The film grossed $8.3 million its opening weekend, finishing in 3rd place. As of November 4, 2014, the film had grossed $21.2 million in North America and $18.9 million in other territories, for a total gross of $40.1 million.
- "AS ABOVE, SO BELOW (15)". Universal Studios. British Board of Film Classification. August 11, 2014. Retrieved August 13, 2014.
- "As Above/So Below (2014)". British Film Institute. Retrieved December 23, 2015.
- "As Above, So Below - The Numbers". Retrieved September 2, 2014.
- "As Above, So Below". Box Office Mojo.
- Kroll, Justin (April 22, 2013). "Legendary and the Dowdle Brothers to Make Low Budget Thriller". Variety. Retrieved March 7, 2014.
- Kroll, Justin (January 30, 2013). "Legendary, Universal Date Guillermo del Toro's 'Crimson Peak' for October 2015". Variety. Retrieved March 7, 2014.
- The Deadline Team (June 26, 2014). "Universal Pulls 'The Loft' From Sked, Moves Legendary Pic 'As Above/So Below' Into Slot". Deadline Hollywood.
- "Filming in the Paris Catacombs". Retrieved September 29, 2014.
- Anderton, Ethan (April 24, 2014). "Explorers Find the Gate to Hell in 'As Above, So Below' Horror Trailer". Firstshowing.net. Retrieved April 25, 2014.
- Bauckhage, Tobias (August 29, 2014). "Social Media Buzz: 'November Man' Labors to Overcome 'As Above, So Below'". Variety. Variety Media, LLC. Retrieved March 16, 2015.
- "As Above, So Below DVD Release Date December 2, 2014".
- "As Above, So Below (2014)". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango Media. Retrieved August 21, 2018.
- "As Above, So Below Reviews". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Retrieved September 4, 2014.