The dank is rising
AS ABOVE SO BELOW ★★ Directed by John Erick Dowdle. Starring Perdita Weeks, Ben Feldman 15A cert, 93 min
There are many reasons to hate this throwaway horror film, but there are few more pressing than its implausible use of handheld cameras. Of course, we accept certain conventions. But this is the sort of picture that asks documentarians to frame perfectly steady images while encountering incursions from the seventh circle of hell. You won’t buy it.
We begin with an archetypal genius hard-ass – black belt in Krav Maga, PhD from Toffee-Nose, Oxford – getting into trouble while investigating graves in Iraq. What she finds there propels her to Paris and encounters in that city’s famously creepy catacombs.
The premise is beyond absurd: a search for the Philosopher’s Stone. The dialogue is stupider than you’d expect. There are, however, possibilities in the location and, at first, the spookiness is built up quite effectively. The various members of Dr KickButt’s party encounter supernatural phenomena that relate to specific tragedies in their past.
But just as we’ve got around to celebrating the lack of pointless running about, our heroes start running about pointlessly. Sometimes it’s annoying. Sometimes it’s disgusting. Most of the time it’s too murky to be either.