Cinematic Releases: As Above, So Below

The handheld style horror film gets a major jolt to the system with this week's As Above, So Below.

"Indiana Jones was never
this scary!"
This type of film making is definitely here to stay and As Above, So Below is the exact definition of why and how it can be used to its maximum potential. This is a gruesome tale that perfectly blends the classic archaeological adventure type story with the confined, dim lit horror we've all grown so accustomed to. For the first time in years, this viewer was absolutely enthralled by how the "found footage" method can be applied while delivering a unique and altered perspective in horror. 

As Above, So Below is one of the best genre entries of 2014 and by far one of the most blood curdling claustrophobic tales of terror of the past decade. This is exactly how it should be done. The director takes typical horror tropes and finds wise and unfamiliar ways to topple stagnant cliches with chill inducing camera work, nightmarish jump scares, and atmospheric undertones reminiscent of movies like The Descent and Quarantine. The film is dark, tightly wound, and always aware of its influences while still managing to deliver something original and freaky as hell. No pun intended. As Above, So Below mixes psychological horror and religious underpinnings with the supernatural to near perfect effect. 

"I'm here looking for that
bloody chick from The Descent.
Anyone seen her?"
Although it's lead by a skilled director, the weight of the movie is carried by adept young actors that are believable and faithful in their presentation of true human fear. Each of them bring a natural sense of dread and hard boiled anxiety to a film that might have suffered under a big name cast. Besides Ben Feldman, these are all relatively unknown actors. This ultimately adds to the reality factor and makes their grim journey through the catacombs of Paris a believable and frightening experience. 

For some, As Above, So Below might be a hard watch. Like many other films in this genre, the camera work is unsteady and nausea inducing at times. Yet, this is one of the strong points of the film. The use of the style totally fits here and doesn't feel like a gimmick. Numerous cameras are used offering several perspectives from each of the differing characters and much like Chronicle, there is a solid reason why the cameras are being used. For me, this was slightly refreshing. 
"Well, you said if it were our last
day on earth, we'd finally do it.
Let's get down to business!"

From one horror hound to the next, it's easy to say that As Above, So Below gets it right. The story is smarter than most and brings something raw to movie theaters this week. Yes, it's mildly derivative and reminiscent of other (maybe) better films, but at least it let's us know what it wants to be. This is modern horror through and through, right to its rotted bloody core. I can't wait for the sequel.