The dank is ris­ing

The Irish Times - Friday - The Ticket - - FILM - DON­ALD CLARKE

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.

Non, merci.

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