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AS ABOVE, SO BELOW is a thriller that starts off exciting, but gets lost and confused in its attempt to be compelling.

Following the current fad of telling ones story as if it’s a documentary, the movie begins with Scarlett, a student of urban archeology. Following her dead father’s footsteps, Scarlett’s trying to retrieve an ancient stone with incredible powers. She finds a critical clue in Iran to unlocking the stone’s location in Paris. There, she enlists an old friend, George, to help her translate the Aramaic transcriptions she found in Iran.

Scarlett, George and Benji (who’s filming Scarlett for a project) discover that the stone is 600 some feet below Paris in a secret chamber. The only way to get to this secret chamber is through the catacombs lying beneath Paris.

To maneuver through the vast catacombs, Scarlett gets three French natives who know how to navigate the tombs to help them reach their destination. George at first refuses to go underground because he’s still haunted by the fact that his younger brother drowned in a cave when he was a boy. However, circumstances force him to join the others. As they explore deeper parts of the catacombs, tensions and fears rise as weird occurrences begin to follow them. Personal demons in each one of the explorers manifest themselves impossibly in physical forms. To make things worse, their entrance has become blocked. So, the only way for escape is to go deeper into the caves where their nightmares are out to kill them.

The premise of AS ABOVE, SO BELOW stems from a New Age, pagan maxim contending that “whatever happens on any level of reality (physical, emotional or mental) also happens on every other level.” Though translated and interpreted in various ways, this belief is used in the movie to trap each of the characters in their own psyche to battle with their own failures or regrets. The deeper the movie goes into explaining this pagan mythology, the less interesting it actually becomes, ultimately ending up quite anti-climatically. That said, the driven characters are interesting, and the documentary style filmmaking is actually more effective here than many other such horror movies. Still, the movie sets up possible villains that are never explored and ultimately leaves the viewer wanting, not more, just something else.

Worst of all is the utterly hopeless worldview the movie presents. Destroying the Creator-creature distinction that’s critical to Christian doctrine, AS ABOVE, SO BELOW explores the causation of belief and the “oneness” of everything. Along the way, viewers have to endure many horrifying images and a slew of vulgar and profane language. Ultimately, AS ABOVE, SO BELOW is an excessive, unacceptable movie with little to no redemptive value.

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