Sunday, July 3, 2016

As Above So Below (2014)

Scarlet is an archaeologist in search of the legendary Philosophers Stone.  She has a charming accent, but she's annoying as hell. Plus she's a lousy friend. Also for a reason that I can't remember, someone named Benji is shooting a documentary on her.

After risking her life to get information from a hidden chamber about to be destroyed, she calls upon her old friend George to translate the text. He reluctantly agrees due to the significance of the discovery. The translation leads them to a museum in France where George is able to secure entry from a n acquaintance.  Scarlet removes an ancient tombstone from the wall and pours cleaning fluid on it. George is not amused.

But Scarlet doesn't care because she finds info on the tombstone that leads them to France, where they secure the help of underground explorer Papillion. He agrees to guide them into the catacombs, and brings along two friends, Siouxsie and Zed, who are experienced explorers.

Scarlet brings Benji, but George wants no part of it.  Even though Scarlet knows George was traumatized as a child when his brother drowned in a cave and he was unable to help him, she pressures him to go with her.  Her lack of compassion regarding George or anyone else's feelings is something that will make you repeatedly want to punch Scarlet in the throat.

George makes the bad decision to accompany them to the entrance of the catacombs. This involves trespassing in an area where there are overly zealous police patrols.  When they are caught by the police, George is forced to head into the tunnels or risk arrest.  Scarlet cheers as George ponders why he doesn't have better friends.

When they reach a spot where the passageway Scarlet wants is sealed off, Papillion suggests a different way. He doesn't want to open the passage because anyone who enters it is never seen again. Locals believe the passageway is evil. Scarlet doesn't like listening to other people, even when it's a guide she hired to navigate a tunnel system she doesn't know.

As an archaeologist, Scarlet should be aware that legends and tall tales are often based on fact. They are stories to explain what is not understood.  So if everyone who goes into a corridor disappears, it probably isn't because of evil. But what about the possibilities of falling rocks, animals, bad air, mold spores, cave ins, holes in the floor, water, or a crazy person who kills everyone who enters.

You just know they're going to end up in that damn evil tunnel, and as expected, things do not go well.  They get lost, find strange things, people die, Benji's fat ass gets stuck, and Scarlet straight arms a ghoul (which is the best moment of the film).

At one point Benji screams, "First bones? Now rats?"  Good god, does he not even realize what the catacombs are?  You're underground in a dank tunnel where people are buried. Of course, there are bones and rats.

Although I couldn't stand Scarlet and wished someone would push her down a well, overall the movie wasn't bad. Actually for a point of view/found footage movie, it was way better than most of the crap out there. If only Scarlet weren't so annoying.  It's great to have a confident woman as the main character, but tone it down a bit.   She could have used more humanity and humility, rather than trampling over everyone else's feelings.  You can be driven, but still compassionate.

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