Will ‘As Above/ So Below’ Ruin Your Labor Day Weekend?
It’s Labor Day weekend. The good news: You most likely have a three-day weekend ahead of you. The bad news: Movies are terrible. Anyway, there a new movie called ‘As Above/ So Below’ that comes out this weekend. You might be tempted to see it because it’s new. New isn’t always better. Sometimes it is! But not this time. As a service to no one, really, because you are already enjoying your long weekend, we answer every question that you could possibly have about ‘As Above/ So Below.’
Q: Why is ‘As Above/ So Below’ such a bad title?
A: No one can remember this title. I’ve been calling it ‘So Above And Below’ all week.
Q: Are the words “as above, so below’ spoken in the movie?
A: Yes. I almost sarcastically applauded when this happened, as in a, “Oh that clears that up, but not really,” kind of way.
Q: Is ‘As Above/ So Below’ terrible?
A: Not completely. As its title has a big slash in the middle, the movie itself should have a big slash down the middle, too.
Q: Are you already drunk?
Q: Well, that sentence makes no sense.
A: It doesn’t matter. You are not reading this anyway. But, the first half of ‘As Above/ So Below’ is fairly enjoyable. I found myself actually intrigued!
Q: What is interesting about the first half?
A: We meet Scarlet (Perdita Weeks), an explorer searching the world for the philosopher's stone…
Q: The Harry Potter book?
A: No. Stop. Anyway, we first meet her searching for clues in Iran. Then the story picks up in Paris, as she teams up with her old friend George (Ben Feldman) as they hunt down clues as to where the philosopher's stone might be hiding.
Q: This doesn’t sound bad!
A: It’s not bad while this is all going on. Actually, it’s pretty good – but then it becomes bad.
Q: How does ‘As Above/ So Below’ fall of the rails?
A: So, Scarlet discovers that the philosopher's stone is buried in the catacombs under Paris…
Q: Oh, ‘The Catacombs Under Paris,’ why didn’t they name the movie that?
A: I don’t know. Anyway, Scarlet hires a group to lead her through the catacombs because George won’t go with her…
Q: Why won’t George go with her?
A: Because his brother drowned in an underground cave.
Q: That seems like really specific and coincidental bad luck?
A: Anyway, it doesn’t matter because of course George winds up going anyway.
Q: Who else is in this group?
A: It doesn’t matter. Anyway, once the plot of the film takes us to the catacombs, this movie becomes almost unwatchable for a few reasons.
Q: What is a reason?
A: First, the movie becomes very claustrophobic, and this is intentional and I get it, but we spend so much time down there that I desperately wanted to go outside and take a deep breath of wonderful, soot-laced New York City air.
Q: And another?
A: Here’s the biggest problem with this movie: ‘As Above/ So Below’ isn’t technically a found footage movie, but the characters are filming this adventure. It’s bearable when the characters are above ground, but once we go into the darkness, it’s like a full hour of flashlights and cameras that never stop violently shaking.
Q: Do you have an example?
A: Do this: Take out your iPhone, then select “video” on the camera option and make sure the flashlight feature is on. Now, go into a very dark room, hit record on your phone, then toss your phone across the room. The resulting video that you’ve produced is very close to what it’s like to watch ‘As Above/ So Below.’
Q: Are there ghosts?
A: That’s another thing, this movie that starts out as an interesting quest for a specific item, but ends with ghosts and monsters.
Q: At what specific moment did ‘As Above/ So Below’ lose you as a viewer?
A: When they find a piano in the catacombs and George comments that it looks like the same kind of piano that he and his dead brother would play on together as children. Then it turns out to be the same piano.
Q: Why do you not like about this scene?
A: First, I could tell where this movie was now headed and I didn’t like that direction. Second, it made me feel bad about my own childhood because I never did anything culturally significant like playing the piano. All I did was play a lot of Nintendo.
Q: If you were in the catacombs, what would your line of dialogue have been?
A: “Oh, this Nintendo reminds me of the one that I used to play ‘Metroid’ on by myself because I’m an only child. Oh my God, it’s actually my Nintendo!”
Q: Would the rest of the movie just been watching you play Nintendo?
Q: Is ‘As Above/ So Below’ scary?
A: There are a couple of legitimately eerie sequences during ‘As Above/ So Below,’ but, by the end, we are at cheap jump scare territory.
Q: If you think you’re about to die, what’s a weird thing to say?
A: “Whatever happens, the week in Turkey was the best week of my life.”
Q: What makes that sentence even weirder?
A: Earlier in the movie, George complained he spent some time in a Turkish jail that week.
Q: If I had to choose between watching ‘As Above/ So Below’ or spending time in a Turkish jail, what should I choose?
A: ‘As Above/ So Below’ isn’t good, but I’d rather watch it then spend time in any jail, really. Anyway, happy Labor Day, nobody.
Mike Ryan has written for The Huffington Post, Wired, Vanity Fair and GQ. He is the senior editor of ScreenCrush. You can contact him directly on Twitter.