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The Attic: ‘As Above So Below’ Film Review

Welcome to The Attic, deep within the Paris catacombs.

as above so below reviewAs Above So Below was one of the smartest and most original horror movies I have seen in years. In fact, I’ll admit that certain aspects flew straight over my head. You have to have a certain level of mythological knowledge to better understand what is going on. Many compare this film to Dante’s Inferno, which I, frankly, know very little about.

Here is an interesting post on reddit about the comparisons and what some aspects of the movie mean. But BEWARE, it is spoiler heavy! Having said that, even if you don’t fully understand what everything means, you can still benefit from watching As Above So Below. Simply put: it’s scary, original, and has a fantastic balance of an interesting story and the right kinds of scares.

I have had numerous people rave about this film to me, and insist that I had to watch it immediately. It took me years to finally get to it, and even then it was mostly due to the ease of it being on Netflix. Having no more excuses, I knew it was time to give it a shot. Admittedly, some of my hesitation was due to being convinced that I knew how the movie was going to go. Found footage, cheap characters, claustrophobia galore, and everyong dying in the end; these were all factors that I fully expected.

I have real fears of not being able to breathe or escape dark enclosed spaces. Paris’ catacombs are utterly fascinating due to the grim history. As a horror fan I appreciate this greatly, but I could never enter them myself. When I heard that As Above So Below was going to feature these catacombs I expected it to be nothing more than a stressfest. I was both right and wrong; let me explain.

as above so below review

There are a few extremely anxiety-inducing moments like when one of the characters gets stuck in a small crawlspace. I could barely keep watching because my whole body wanted to squirm. I kept looking out the window to remind myself that I had plenty of space right next to me. It’s weird how the right acting and setting in a horror movie can really spark some legitimate fears in you.

However, As Above so Below also uses many different tactics to scare you without relying too heavily on the claustrophobia. They could have decided to be lazy about this, but they didn’t. I can’t even begin to tell you how many times something surprised me. I have grown to be pretty expectant of horror cliches, and while I adore the genre as much as ever, this does gets old.

While I have the urge to talk about the little things here and there that freaked me out, I don’t want to spoil anything for you. The more subtle scares they made were very effective, and I absolutely loved them. The filmmakers were incredibly smart in their choices and used real historical figures and mythological stories to inspire a horror film.

as above so below review

What struck me the most very early on was how compelling this story was. The main character was an interesting woman, and the group of people she gets to help her are far less cheap than you would expect. These days horror characters are typically annoying and shallow, but here I found myself caring about most of them very quickly. This was necessary for them to achieve because quite a few of the scares were reliant on these characters’ backstories. Their histories weren’t thrown in our face, but rather slowly drip-fed to us only at necessary moments. It allowed you to follow along, fascinated, instead of feeling like someone is screaming in your face about what their life regrets are. Therefore, you get more unexpected scares and emotional moments, which are both always appreciated.

So, is As Above So Below perfect? No, absolutely not. But I liked it so much I don’t feel compelled to nitpick this film. If you’re a horror fan you should definitely watch this one as soon as you can. Don’t follow my lead and wait years.

The Good: Unique story, likable characters, subtle scares that are highly effective

The Bad: Confusing details for some, a bit over-the-top near the end, could have been scarier.

Stay scared,
Dark Princess

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