For most people reading a book is an escape into a world that is different from their own. While we enjoy reading for that feeling, we also like to be involved in the story. As a kid some of my favorite books to read were the “Choose Your Own Adventure” series, because the decision you took affected the story. I bring those books up because they are fun to read, but also to show we all like a little mystery in our life, be it from the shadowy stranger you want to know more about, or a good Sherlock book. While mystery stories are fun, sometimes a good treasure hunt is in order, with movies like “The Goonies” and “National Treasure” that make the audience feel like they are on the hunt as well, anticipating the reveal of every clue.
As much fun as treasure-hunting movies can be, found footage horror movies have become the opposite of that, and have pretty much become a factory-produced product. “As Above, So Below” looks like your status quo found footage film, but then it does something unexpected, it makes you enjoy the story. Scarlett (Perdita Weeks) is a professor at a London college, but when it comes to history she doesn’t just teach it, she wants to unlock its mysteries, and frankly she doesn’t give a damn about the danger involved. After a narrow escape in Iran, Scarlett goes to Paris to find the thing that cost her father his life. To proceed she needs the help of George (Ben Feldman) to translate the clues that have been laid out before them. The prize she seeks is in Paris, but it is under Paris, in the catacombs where the city’s past is hidden from modern age. Scarlett also brings along a filmmaker named Benji( Edwin Hodge) to record her findings, and also enlists some locals to help her get to the X that marks the spot. What she soon finds is that the clues don’t just lead to a treasure, but something much more revealing.
When it comes to a film like this, expectations can be a good thing, they are usually non-existent. So since the bar is set so low, the only way to go is up. The good news is this is an entertaining film, one that makes you want to get the answers as much as the characters on the screen. Where the movie falters is while you care about the story, you could care less about the characters. Writers Drew Dowdle and John Erick Dowdle, who also directed the film, give you a story you invest in. While the trailer sells this as a horror film, it is more “Raiders” of The Lost Ark” then “Blair Witch”, not in quality, just in that there is something that helps separate it from all the other found footage films. “As Above, So Below” has plenty of flaws, from the majority of the actors, to a so-so ending, and a terrible title, but what it does have is a story, and that is more than enough to take this film from one to skip, to an adventure you want to choose.