Category Archives: Film Reviews

Film Review: As Above, So Below – Best Horror I’ve Seen in a While

The ingredients of this film are delicious. An archaeologist searching for the philosopher’s stone, a trek underground into the catacombs of Paris, the documentary feel thanks to the “found footage” filming method, and a cast of characters I was rooting for – unusual for me when it comes to horror movies.

asaboveThe scares take a while to come along but the journey is worth it. We start with Scarlett (Perdita Weeks) in Iran, chasing down a lead from her dead father into a system of caves about to be blown up. She knocks through a wall and finds a statue probably unseen by human eyes for thousands of years, photographs the inscriptions and manages, in the nick of time, to escape with her life.

The drawings lead her to Paris where she tracks down her old pal George (Ben Feldman) who’s handy when it comes to translating ancient languages. With his help, Scarlett is certain the philosopher’s stone is hidden in a secret part of the catacombs no one has set foot in in hundreds of years.

As Above, So Below is mix of Indiana Jones, The Descent, The DaVinci Code and found footage films of the horror variety, not a bad combination. Like The Descent, this film effectively captures the claustrophobia of the tight caverns and the suffocating atmosphere that comes from being deep underground. When one of the crew actually gets stuck attempting to crawl through a narrow space, I watched with my stomach clenched, feeling his panic as if it was my own.

As the horror elements kick in, and Scarlett and her fellow explorers run into one hellish thing after another, I couldn’t help but think of a haunted house of horrors you’d find in a carnival. I was right there with them, huddled against the wall, afraid to look around the next corner. The references to Dante’s Inferno gave me chills. As Above, So Below got me Googling “Abandon all hope, ye who enter here.” For the most part, this was a decent film. Some of the scary stuff at the end was unnecessary and felt forced, but didn’t take away from the creepy setting and the overall ominous atmosphere.

One major plus: The film crew actually got permission to shoot in the catacombs. It’s not a set.

I had a quick look on YouTube at the trailer, thinking I’d post it here, but nope. Please, please do not watch the trailer. It shows the whole story. Arg. This modern thing of trailers revealing every twist and turn is a pet peeve of mine. Does anyone remember the days when a trailer was about 10 seconds long, simply an intriguing teaser? Okay, I’m taking a deep breath now before the vein in my head pops. Here’s a short clip instead.

Overall, As Above, So Below is very enjoyable. Hopefully I’ve persuaded some of you to check it out?  


What to Watch this Halloween: Part Two

hhPart One covered Hocus Pocus, Buffy, Ginger Snaps, The Conjuring and The Skeleton Key. Today I’ve got – 

The Lost Boys

lostLet’s visit vampire infested Santa Carla where The Lost Boys reside.

Jason Patric and Corey Haim are uprooted by their newly divorced mother to the Californian seaside resort, where Patric takes a shine to the beautiful Star. Little does he know he’s about to be initiated into a group of biker vampires led by Kiefer Sutherland. Corey Feldman is on hand to put a stop to the vampire shenanigans, and watching he and Haim team up to destroy the monsters is always amusing.

Possibly my favourite vampire film.

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Trick ‘r Treat

trick treatYou get four (well, sort of 5) stories for the price of one here. Trick ‘r Treat is a Halloween visual delight. There are pumpkins, lanterns, trick ‘r treaters, costumes, a party atmosphere, lots of spookiness, quirkiness and darkness. The stories are set in the same little town with characters crossing over into each tale. The theme: obey the traditions of Halloween or pay the price.

Anna Paquin from True Blood plays an innocent virgin.  Her sister and friends are shopping for sexy Halloween outfits and urge her to choose someone to be her first, mocking her inexperience. Dressed as Little Red Riding Hood, she walks through town alone, unaware of being followed. Then we have the creepy school principal who likes to poison kids who break jack-o-lanterns. Next up is a trip to an abandoned quarry where a bus load of kids drowned some years back.  The children go there this Halloween night to leave offerings in the form of lanterns, but they get more than they bargained for.  And lastly, we find out what happens to grumpy old men who don’t participate in the fun of Halloween.

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A Nightmare on Elm Street

nightmare elmNow you’re ready for the scariest monster of them all, Freddy Krueger in A Nightmare on Elm Street.

“One, two, he’s coming after you. Three, four, better lock that door.” Well, you know how the rhyme goes. I must have been thirteen when I first watched this in my cousins’ house in County Limerick. If my parents had known what I was watching, they would not have been impressed. The black and red jumper wearing baddie likes to hunt down the teenagers of Elm Street in their nightmares. If he gets you in your dream, you die for real. I dare you to fall asleep after this.

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The Blair Witch Project

blairStruggling to get some shuteye? It’s time for The Blair Witch Project.

What can go wrong when three young people enter the woods to shoot a documentary on the local legend of the Blair Witch? Lose the map, and turns out, a lot. Every day the trio spend lost in the woods leads to more distressing incidents, like rocks being left outside their tent at night and strange noises. If you like shaky camera, found footage type films, give this a go. It’s seriously creepy.

Blair Witch brings me back to being a teenager and watching it on the big screen on Halloween night through my fingers.

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Enjoy “People Are Strange” from The Lost Boys

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There you have it. It might be hard for me to fit all these films in this weekend, but I’ll give it my best shot. Happy Halloween everyone. Whatever you’re doing, heading out to a costume party or staying in and chilling out, I hope it’s a great night for all.

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