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As Above/So Below (2014)

tomatometer

27

Average Rating: 4.4/10
Reviews Counted: 59
Fresh: 16 | Rotten: 43

After an intriguing setup that threatens to claw its way out of found-footage overkill, As Above/So Below plummets into clichéd mediocrity.

9

Average Rating: 4.4/10
Critic Reviews: 11
Fresh: 1 | Rotten: 10

After an intriguing setup that threatens to claw its way out of found-footage overkill, As Above/So Below plummets into clichéd mediocrity.

audience

44

liked it
Average Rating: 3.1/5
User Ratings: 15,660

My Rating

Movie Info

Miles of twisting catacombs lie beneath the streets of Paris, the eternal home to countless souls. When a team of explorers ventures into the uncharted maze of bones, they uncover the secret of what this city of the dead was meant to contain. A journey into madness and terror, As Above, So Below reaches deep into the human psyche to reveal the personal demons that come back to haunt us all. Written by John Erick Dowdle and Drew Dowdle (Quarantine, Devil) and directed by John Erick Dowdle, the

$19.1M

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All Critics (59) | Top Critics (11) | Fresh (16) | Rotten (43)

Once upon a time, when someone in a horror movie turned a doorknob or drove toward a storm, you got to feel superior and shout, "Don't go in there!" Now it's more like, "Seriously? You're not gonna put down that camera first?"

September 2, 2014 Full Review Source: Grantland
Grantland
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Once the characters go underground, things start happening. Not scary things, mind you, but things.

August 31, 2014 Full Review Source: Arizona Republic
Arizona Republic
Top Critic IconTop Critic

The movie's signature signage - "Abandon all hope, ye who enter here" - is the only instruction we really need.

August 29, 2014 Full Review Source: New York Times
New York Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

While the film has a reasonably engaging cast and some decent scares, the script feels like an uneasy blend of The Blair Witch Project and Tomb Raider.

August 29, 2014 Full Review Source: Toronto Star
Toronto Star
Top Critic IconTop Critic

An entertainment-free sinkhole of Dramamine-worthy nonsense ...

August 29, 2014 Full Review Source: Los Angeles Times
Los Angeles Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

An intriguing and intensely creepy premise is sqaundered on this rudimentary found-footage horror film.

August 29, 2014 Full Review Source: Chicago Reader
Chicago Reader
Top Critic IconTop Critic

There may be an interesting story about what exists under the streets of Paris. Unfortunately, this film isn't it.

September 18, 2014 Full Review Source: New England Movies Weekly
New England Movies Weekly

It is quite impossible to set a film in the Paris catacombs and completely mess up the sense of grim, suffocating atmosphere... But do they come close.

September 11, 2014 Full Review Source: Antagony & Ecstasy
Antagony & Ecstasy

Scarlett -- a pretty young archeologist who favors allowing her sweater to slip coyly off one shoulder to expose a fashionable bra strap while she's vandalizing ancient relics -- may be the year's most absurd movie character.

September 5, 2014 Full Review Source: Commercial Appeal (Memphis, TN)
Commercial Appeal (Memphis, TN)

Sporadically scary and emotionally engaging, but fundamentally falling apart at the seams.

September 4, 2014 Full Review Source: SFX Magazine
SFX Magazine

It's tough to get too worked up, as head-mounted cameras whip between fleeting figures and panicked faces with all the tension of a jittery recording of a trip through your local haunted house.

September 3, 2014 Full Review Source: Austin Chronicle
Austin Chronicle

Any horror fan knows the entrance to hell is in Brooklyn -- a fact established in Michael Winner's The Sentinel -- and no attempt to transfer this accolade to Paris is worth considering.

September 3, 2014 Full Review Source: Mountain Xpress (Asheville, NC)
Mountain Xpress (Asheville, NC)

For a film that takes place underground in tightly enclosed spaces, it's surprisingly thin on suspense and palpable physical danger.

September 3, 2014 Full Review Source: The Dissolve
The Dissolve

Claustrophobic and frightening,it depends far too much on shaky, hand-held camerawork and jump-cut editing to sustain suspense in an all-too-familiar, found-footage concept.

September 2, 2014 Full Review Source: SSG Syndicate
SSG Syndicate

By the time the truly freaky stuff starts happening you might wonder if it was all worth the wait--not to mention the pounding shaky-cam headache.

September 1, 2014 Full Review Source: Georgia Straight

A lot of fun.

August 31, 2014 Full Review Source: Dread Central
Dread Central

Has a few scares up its sleeve ...

August 31, 2014 Full Review Source: Observer [UK]
Observer [UK]

It's visually incoherent, it's devoid of suspense, and it's propulsive in all the wrong ways...

August 30, 2014 Full Review Source: Movie Mezzanine
Movie Mezzanine

A harrowing tale of survival revolving around an endearing heroine every bit as brainy as she is resourceful.

August 30, 2014 Full Review Source: Baret News
Baret News

gifts us with a lively history lesson on the catacombs of Paris, the history and practice of alchemy, and some nifty insights into ancient engineering practices even as it makes our pulses race.

August 29, 2014 Full Review Source: Killer Movie Reviews
Killer Movie Reviews

The best Tomb Raider movie we're ever likely to get.

August 29, 2014 Full Review Source: CraveOnline
CraveOnline

The best found-footage horror film since the first Paranormal Activity (2007).

August 29, 2014 Full Review Source: Illinois Times
Illinois Times

Scarlett is like the child of Indiana Jones and Lara Croft; she's smart, brave, and adventurous and would be a great subject for sequels. What's more, her brains come in handy during tense moments, which is rare for horror films.

August 29, 2014 Full Review Source: Common Sense Media
Common Sense Media

Relying on predictable jump scares and overused shaky camera techniques to attempt a terrifying experience, As Above/So Below mostly resorts to cliché tactics when it has so much more right within its grasp.

August 29, 2014 Full Review Source: Examiner.com
Examiner.com

Audience Reviews for As Above/So Below

Dan Brown meets The Blair Witch Project in this harrowing horror movie that has good actors and makes expert use of the subjective camera to enhance the sense of claustrophobia, taking a simple premise and fleshing it out into a terrifying, nerve-fraying descent to hell.
September 19, 2014
blacksheepboy

Super Reviewer

Spectacular sound design and an interesting set-up will have you hooked on "As Above, So Below," but never will I recommend this film to anyone, because by the end, it is just a waste of time. Sadly, this film get's so swallowed up in it's plot details that it has nowhere left to go by the end and it just ends with so many unanswered questions. As a student interested in finding the "Philospher's Stone" tunnels in the catacomb's of Paris, she brings a group of specialists with her in order to uncover the secrets of the caves. Sure, the premise is intriguing, the acting is believable, and the sound of the film may be striking, but with a run-of-the-mill screenplay and not enough imagination, "As Above, So Below" is just another film with extremely wasted potential. I had no interest going into this film, and about halfway through all of those thoughts began to change, but sadly, it goes nowhere. To horror fans, you can get a few chilling moments out of this movie, but I would not bet on it being groundbreaking. Intriguing but disappointing.
September 1, 2014
KJ Proulx

Super Reviewer

Neither above nor below average, this Quarantine-d thriller sadly falls somewhere in-between. Sometimes, you wish that some found footage would just remain lost. Shakier than the hand-held footage that captures it, As Above, So Below's story doesn't demand much (faux horror documentaries pretty much just require camcorders and some sorta 'monster')...though it definitely should. Following in the footsteps of such recent similar mockumentary scaremakers as Paranormal Activity and The Last Exorcism, this flick needed to present something different. Long story short, we've seen it all before. Oh, the overall details ring new but the plot points play out beat for predictable beat. The main character (a strong female protagonist, mind you) proves to be an academic (but beautiful, mind you) driven to discover otherworldly secrets (lunging baddies, mind you), which is fine save for the fact that her father hung himself during this same Descent into madness. The use of Descent is purposeful as THAT was a found footage thriller that wrung new thrills out of a similarly claustrophobic setting. Once again, we've seen it all before. Why can't an intelligent woman seek out an ancient evil by her own inspiration rather than be a Lara Croft - Tomb Raider knockoff that falls into the clichéd honey pot called 'daddy issues'? If the thrills actually, well, thrill, the story is negligible, however.

In this R-rated horror flick, a team of explorers (Weeks, Feldman) ventures into the catacombs beneath the streets of Paris and uncover a dark secret lying within this city of the dead.

Here, not even the scares are out-and-out unique. As the writers and director of Quarantine and Devil, brothers Drew and John Erick Dowdle aren't new to this genre but their approach SHOULD be. Instead, loud sound design and lunging creeps rue the day. Again, we've seen it all before. Perhaps, As Before, So Again makes a better title.

Bottom line: City of the Meh
September 2, 2014
Jeff B.
Jeff Boam

Super Reviewer

"As Above, So Below" is a smart horror film packaged to be consumed by the average viewer. Set in the claustrophobic nightmare that is the Paris Catacombs, one has to wonder why it took so long for horror filmmakers to capitalize on the built-in creepiness that comes from the bone-lined tunnels. Unsure where the real Catacombs end and the studio sets begin, the close quarters and claustrophobia really take hold and cause for some extremely stressful situations. With dismal entries already this year and with a trailer that set it on track to be another horror disappointment, "As Above, So Below" actually muscles through its found-footage shakiness and delivers a unique and horrific adventure unlike anything you have experienced before. One part "Tomb Raider", two parts "The Descent", the plot follows a group of treasure hunters into the unknown as they hunt for the Philosopher's Stone.

Putting aside my strong resentment for the recent bastardizing of the genre and even though the shaky camera gets nauseating at times there is enough restraint and some stellar shot choices that eventually make up for it. Just as alchemy attempts to combine the physical world with the supernatural, determining the depths of hell with mathematics, "As Above, So Below" is able to make the existence of hell seem plausible, literally grounding it in some strange reality that makes one feel like it could be just beneath our feet. So give yourself over to the white-knuckle, stomach-wrenching ride that is the hell of the Paris Catacombs in what could be the best horror film of the year.
September 6, 2014
xas5

Super Reviewer

    1. George: Danny, no!
    2. Scarlett: George, stop!
    3. George: That's my brother!
    4. Scarlett: Stop! It's not real!
    – Submitted by Sam G (19 days ago)
    1. Scarlett: No one uses this corridor. People who go in this tunnel don't come out.
    – Submitted by Sam G (19 days ago)
    1. Papillon: It's exactly the same!
    2. Scarlett: No. Everything's upside down.
    – Submitted by Sam G (20 days ago)
    1. La Taupe: The only way out is down.
    – Submitted by Sam G (20 days ago)
    1. Scarlett: According to mythology, that is the inscription over the Gates of Hell.
    – Submitted by Sam G (20 days ago)
View all quotes (5)

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Foreign Titles

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  • As Above, So Below (UK)
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