‘As Above, So Below’ Lets Movie-Goers Down

This week, “Indiana Jones…” meets “The Blair Witch Project,” and the results are not pretty.

The action in “As Above, So Below” begins in Iran, for all the wrong reasons, where student archeologist Scarlett has gone
to retrieve an artifact important to her research on alchemy. Once back in Paris with the object in hand, she seeks out an ex- who can
translate the Aramaic inscriptions on it. This is where the problems begins…Aramaic was never used in Persia, and even if it was, it
wouldn’t likely translate into perfectly rhyming iambic pentameter in modern English. The retrieved object directs them, conveniently, to the catacombs beneath the city they’re standing in, as we travel along via helmet light and go-pro, first through lots of bones, then
through tunnels where things more weird than scary start happening.

We are treated to zombie-like creatures, Knights Templar memorabilia, and, as downward progress continues, the characters start encountering ordinary objects from their pasts, like old pianos and land-line phones in an attempt to add psychological thriller cred. None of this is developed very well and the whole thing comes off like a walk through a Haunted House, with fewer jump-tricks.

“As Above, So Below” is directed by John Erik Dowdle. It doesn’t suffer from any lack of production values, though the “found
footage” shtick gets old fast. The actors, including Perdita Weeks and Ben Feldman (of “Mad Men” fame), do their best with the material. The film’s end is about as surprising as the rest of it is either scary or profound. You’ll walk off from the theatre into the night just like the characters, as perplexed about the ten bucks you just spent, as they are about what just happened…