The Only Way Out Is Down
Starring: Perdita Weeks, Ben Feldman, Edwin Hodge, Francois Civil, Marion Lambert, Ali Marhyar, Cosme Castro
Director: John Erick Dowdle
2014 | 93 Minutes | Rated R
“And they should be made to crawl on their bellies into the kingdom of darkness.” – Scarlett
Something about As Above, So Below’s marketing campaign made me keep my distance when it was first released in theaters. I’m glad I gave it a fair shake upon its home release because it’s actually quite good.
Scarlett (Perdita Weeks), a treasure hunting adventurer, puts together a group of urban explorers to search Paris’ twisting underground catacombs, looking for the very object which drove her father insane.
The movie starts off feeling like a found footage Indiana Jones type of adventure / treasure hunting story before our protagonists enter the catacombs and begin their descent into Hell, changing it from an exciting adventure romp to a creepy, scary horror movie.
The weird stuff starts happening almost the minute our explorer friends enter the caverns. Imagine that… weird stuff happening in an abandoned tunnel system filled with dead bodies.
The tunnels themselves look quite realistic. I’ve never set foot in Paris much less the catacombs underneath it (nor do I want to… on either account – no offense Frenchies) but it all feels legit as the explorers spelunk their way to certain doom.
The actors all perform admirably as well, even if some are little more than demon fodder with a few lines and looks into the camera. All of the characters are at least a little bit likable. There’s not a single person here that you “hope” to see bite the dust.
And the scares… work. Not all of them. But enough do. There’s some decently creepy stuff and a few good jump scares. I was actually eating a big bowl of soup while watching the movie. I had to stop eating for a bit for fear that I might jump and splash brothy noodles all over my nice clean clothes.
The one hole I found myself punching into the plot of the movie after it wrapped was one of the same holes that many other found footage movies suffer from. And it’s kind of silly to even talk about it but… How are we, the viewers, able to view this footage? In this particular instance, (spoiler alert) many people died and their cameras were presumably left in Hell. Did Satan spit these cameras out so we could get a little entertainment out of his torturing of these young victims? It just doesn’t make a ton of sense but I’m trying to apply logic to something that clearly doesn’t need it so I will wrap this thing up.
As Above, So Below is actually one of the better found footage horror movies I have seen in quite some time. The characters are likable, it’s decently scary and it doesn’t feel cheap. Maybe my standards have been lowered by so many bad found footage movies but I’d actually recommend this one.