Thursday, 11 September 2014

As Above, So Below - The scoop and digest

Underneath the streets of gay Paris, the Catacombs have stored bones of the dead for around 30 years.

Prior to its creation in the 1700’s, the dead were buried in cemeteries but quickly became overcrowded.  The crypts are said to hold 6 million Parisian bones, nearly three times the population of France’s capital today.

Director John Erick Dowdle sets up shop in found footage territory that could add meat to a tiring genre.

Plot details and/or spoilers will be missing cheese and wine.

The only way is down, baby for:

Perdita Weeks – Scarlett
Ben Feldman – George
Francois Civil – Papillon
Edwin Hodge - Benji

Alchemy enthusiast Scarlett enters Iran to continue her father’s work and acquire the Flamel stone.

She locates the Rose Key and escapes a collapsing cave.

In Paris, former lover George translates an ancient dialect on the back of Flamel’s headstone that suggests the fabled Philosopher’s Stone is buried in a secret location beneath the Catacombs.

They enlist explorer Papillon and his crew to enter via alternative means.

George isn't too keen on joining them because his brother drowned in a cave but the police make the decision for him…

Ignoring the map, they take a detour that involves bumping into a guy who’s been missing for years.

A ‘disconnected’ phone ringing and George finding his piano with the same broken key are occurrences that naturally raise eyebrows.

Scarlett removes the Flamel stone but as treasure glistens, the ceiling doesn’t take too kindly to robbery…

As they go deeper, revisited rooms cast a darker reflection.

Oh shucks, Silent Hill already thought of that.

Just like Indy’s Last Crusade, her ‘holy grail’ heals wounds.

“Abandon all hope, ye who enter here.”

This inscription directly references the famous excerpt from Dante's Inferno which incidentally, is also used to introduce the final stage of Jaleco's 1993 SNES scrolling brawler The Peace Keepers.

Souxie is killed by that nasty guy, Benji learns he can’t fly, a blazing car’s passenger drags Pap below ground (leaving only his legs), and George is munched upon by a pissed off statue.

Mad monks in dishevelled Primark gowns wander like drunken virgins.

Remember, this is supposed to be ‘hell’.


The stone loses the power to revitalise and retracing what should be perilous steps, she returns the cheap looking prop and gains magical powers from the true stone.

Ha ha ha.  How amusing.

George is kissed by the returning Godsend and realising this place is feasting on individual torment; Scarlett convinces a leap of faith down a bottomless pit will extinguish evil.

Landing safer than houses, a manhole cover grants freedom.

My expectations were high but oh my word - what a tremendous failure.

The setting (also used in the originally titled and lacklustre 2007 horror Catacombs) is inspired, but application is poorer than a down on his luck tramp.

Suspense builds and attention grabs but soon develops into a cliché driven travesty.

Doom 3 paints a far more effective vision of eternal damnation and for paranoia to rage, look no further than Gamecube classic Eternal Darkness.

Pap refers to Souxie as a Banshee, referencing band Siouxsie and the Banshees.

Did they spell her name wrong on purpose?

Not satisfied with largely ripping off The Descent (minus a great ending), we laugh at The Goonies, dressed as a desperately bad psychological horror.

Treasure hunting, booby traps and George occasionally making sense of a forgotten language (instead of Spanish) more than seals the deal.

As a startling coincidence, both actors share the same surname and no, they’re not related.

Well fancy that.

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