Saturday, April 20, 2019

Do yourself a favor - stay away from this one.

Outside of Event Horizon where I swear the temperature of the theater was set to abandoned spacecraft degrees, the most physically uncomfortable movie-going experience I've ever had was seeing The Descent on the big screen. That movie was so goddamned suffocating, I remember feeling genuine relief when exiting the theater. Like, thank God we made it out of there, you know? I can finally breathe.

But let's be real - can we? Ghost ships are one thing, freezing theaters another, but seriously WHO THE F--K GOES IN A CAVE? Those f--kers are terrifying enough before the monsters show up.

I didn't know what I was getting into with 2014's As Above So Below, but I recall it made an appearance at my local theater awhile back, thereby catapulting it miles, um, above most of the 'short horror' available to stream on Netflix. Had I known it was a found footage flick, I might not have pressed play, but even with a tired delivery method and a moderately goofy premise, I'm not all that mad that I did.

A fine-ass archaeologist named Scarlett Marlowe is on a quest to find the Philosopher's Stone, an ancient relic that supposedly grants eternal life. Being that Scarlett is um, super hot, she rather easily assembles a crew of dudes to not only accompany her, but to also film her as she embarks on this obviously foolish journey. See, this Philosopher's stone isn't buried in the bowels of Hogwarts, but instead hidden within in the catacombs of Paris. 

While that may not completely sound like a terrible place to go-go-go -go on an adventure- once they saw what that meant firsthand, everyone should have said f--k this and headed to a café to romantically share a baguette with Gerard Depardieu. Sorry, I don't really know anything about France.



If there's no one beside you, when your soul embarks...

Anyway, instead of running in the opposite direction, these kids, after seeing the increasingly narrow passages full of the easily-accessible bones of long-dead Parisians, gear the f--k up and head in. Led by an underground Underground Guide named Papillon (not a typo, he's a back-alley subterranean explorer [for reals]), it doesn't take long before bad decisions (and even worse camera work) plague the already doomed mission. The plan was to head straight to the stone, but instead they take a left at Albuquerque and basically head straight to Hell. Aw.

Speaking of bad ideas with dire consequences, here are the Yays and Boos. Believe it or not, my wife and I are planning on taking our kids to some local caves this weekend, weather permitting (that doesn't make sense, but shut up). Hopefully, the Indian Echo Caverns outside of Harrisburg have less cave ins and demonic Frenchmen. Hopefully.

Yeah, it's a great - totally looks like a triceratops...
...but I brought you here for something more pressing.
Yaaaaaaay!
  • As I may have already mentioned once or twice (or a dozen times), the actress playing Scarlett if pretty frickin' hot. Not like, Jolie in Tomb Raider hot...but significantly hotter than Nic Cage in National Treasure. (assuming we're using a hotness scale only comprised of fictional relic hunters, and Harrison Ford is the unequivocally the hottest)
  • It probably goes without saying that if you need a Frenchmen for any sort of off-the-grid job, you're going to find him under a bridge...at a rave, right?
  • Speaking of, I kind of liked Papillon, you know? Dude brought a class to dying underground.
  • No bullshit, one of the scariest things in the world is a phone that won't stop ringing. Seriously. What kind of sick bastard on the other end lets that happen? Are they that f--king crazy, they'll simply wait for the rest of time? Yikes. But even more frightening than a regular phone ringing endlessly? A mysterious phone in an underground French tomb...you guessed it, RINGING ENDLESSLY. 
  • And even though it freaked me out, WHO ANSWERS SUCH A PHONE???
  • Move over flux capacitor. I'm not even sure what a Ptolemaic Hinge is, but I'm damn sure, for the rest of my life, I'm going to work it into every stupid conversation possible.
  • And finally, as found footage horror films go, all things considered, you could do much worse than As Above, So Below. There's just enough here that a good time can be had, and I imagine, if you had a couple of rowdy friends to watch it with you, you'd all laugh your asses off. Yes, we've seen supposedly smart people make decidedly dumb decisions countless times before, but let's be honest with ourselves...that shit never really gets old.
It's dark and looks like a tight fit, but I think I could manage.
(Oh, grow up)
Booooooooooo!
  • Um, who was that f--king guy in the noose? Are we going to explain that or not?? (early on, anyway)
  • So, this Philosopher's Stone? Not the best of deals, this. Sure, you can turn shit into gold, which is rad. And it can grant you eternal life, also rad. But the fact that searching for it leads to guaranteed madness...not so rad. I mean, imagine you actually find it. What are you going to do with an infinite supply of golden dog turds? Oh, right. Live forever.
  • Maybe it's just jealousy and something about the fact that my life is a failure...but, why is everybody in this film 25 years old? 
  • Somebody mentions that there's 200 miles of caves...with over 6 million corpses. I did the math. That's 5.6 corpses per foot. Yeah, definitely. We should totally head in there. See if we can raise the average...
  • Okay, who was that f--ker in the caves the first time? Does he just sit there smoking hoping someone decides they want to hunt for treasures?
  • Hey, good try, man. Really. But no one, and I mean no one, can top my DeNiro face. Well, fine. There's this one guy, but mine's pretty f--king close.
  • Maybe my favorite moment in the film comes pretty early on in the catacomb-related madness. Almost right as the descend...there's this weird f--king group of people holding a seance. Not much is even said, but this shit is beyond freaky.
  • If this place is going to show me my worst fears come to life, I really need to work on being afraid of the largest breasts ever. These f--kers are seeing their dead little brothers and guys burning alive in shitty cars like amateurs. 
  • As a general rule, if shit is heading south in a cave, best not play a mysterious piano that just so happens to appear out of nowhere. Note: this rule does not apply if you are in The Goonies. In that case, tickle those ivories.
  • Hey, despite all that bad shit that's been happening, we found a treasure room. What could possibly go wrong?
  • And finally, I guess it's kind of lame to say that the ending doesn't make any sense, when reason and logic left the station an hour and a half ago, but I've watched it twice and I'm still not sure what the f--k happened. They jumped down...to reach the top? The f--k?
It's funny that one of the main complaints about any found-footage flick, is this whole idea of uh, maybe you should put the camera down and stop filming all this shit? I mean, have you looked around at basically everyone these days? We're filming our reactions to f--king everything.

Half the motherf--kers in the grocery store are face-timing some other asshole in some other grocery store. Found-footage flicks basically predicted (and pioneered) everyday life. And we scoff at them. I'm almost forty (and not a douche), so I don't film shit. Except when it comes to my kids, of course. then it's basically roll sound....

So when we eventually go to the caves, well, I'm gonna shoot video until my phone dies. Or I'm eaten by a demon. Whichever comes first.

4 comments:

  1. I enjoyed reading this review far more than I enjoyed watching this film a few years ago lol. I just found it dull, but I was also watching it in the middle of the night. I barely remember it at this point.

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    1. No one could blame you (or anyone) for forgetting the whole damn thing (especially given, for you, this was probably 900 movies ago). I also watched it in the middle of the night, and maybe was just too excited to be watching something stupid...which sometimes happens.

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  2. You watched it...TWICE? And this gets a positive review while you are about to massacre Laggies, allegedly?

    Dude...

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    1. I put it on again while writing this post. It's so damn short I watched the second half while finishing the Boos.

      Girl...Laggies ain't getting totally trashed, but at least in this one THE MAIN CHARACTER DOES SOMETHING.

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