It’s kind of fair to think that this As Above, So Below suffered due to lack of star power, not because it was unpopular. It earned back its budget in a big way since the movie only cost around $5 million to make and it ended up making slightly over $40 million at the box office. The problem lies more in the fact that it was less memorable for a few reasons and, as it goes with horror movies, it didn’t exactly create a legend that people were willing to keep following for one reason or another. This is the type of story that I would have been entranced with when I was a teenager, but the whole idea of shooting this movie from the perspective of the actors is something that has been popular but also kind of run its course at times since people can’t always handle the shaky camera angles. There are other factors that might have made this movie slip from public notice so quickly, but a big part of it does feel that it didn’t have enough big names in it for a lot of people, since this is part of how horror movies tend to thrive.
When looking at the terror factor in this movie, it definitely delivered enough thrills to be seen as something that deserves a spot in the annals of horror since being bold enough to venture nearly 400 feet beneath the surface of any location is tough for some people to even think about. Unless one comes upon a massive cavern system that features wide-open spaces and tunnels that are wide enough to drive a truck through, there are a lot of people that will be bound to experience a serious case of claustrophobia, even if they haven’t suffered from such a thing before. But the idea that Scarlett Marlowe, the intrepid student that is following in her father’s footsteps when it comes to seeking ‘truth’ and the Philosopher’s Stone (no, this isn’t related to Harry Potter), throws herself and others into dangerous situations in a reckless and dangerous manner, kind of makes it clear that as a horror movie, this movie is set when it comes to the overall stupidity of the protagonist.
Like it or not, Scarlett is reckless since while her quest is interesting and her motivation is somewhat noble, her methods are dangerous and don’t take into account what might happen should the whole expedition become a death sentence. For Scarlett and those like her, finding the ‘truth’ of history is the whole point. She might not want riches or fame or anything else, but this makes her even more dangerous, since seeking out the truth of history isn’t bound to bring anything but a great deal of misery if a person doesn’t understand enough of what they’re looking for, especially when it comes to dark and hidden bits of history that are best left buried at times. But if that were allowed to happen too often we wouldn’t have horror gems like this to think about. The reason why movies such as this are so important to society is that they don’t just give us something fun to look at in terms of horror, but they remind us that heading into a situation half-cocked and looking for the ‘truth’ is all well and good, but being prepared makes a lot more sense when it comes to making it out alive or not.
Granted, walking into a supernatural situation becomes a little too real when it comes to facing one’s own fears and past and there’s not a lot that a person can do to prepare for such things, but upon realizing that one’s own torments are being used against them, it might be time to come clean and at least tr to rob the things trying to torment you of at least a little bit of the power the might possess. Or, simply don’t go looking for something that lies beyond the inscription ‘abandon hope all ye who enter here’. Seriously, there’s being bold and then there’s being stupid, and it’s not so much of a fine line as it is a big, fat, glow in the dark line with the words ‘wise and alive’ on one side and ‘stupid and dead’ on the other. But again, without folks such as this in horror movies, we wouldn’t have this kind of entertainment to talk about.
While this movie did fine initially at the box office it didn’t get a lot of respect after that, and it’s likely because it kind of faded into the found footage overkill zone that’s way too easy to accomplish. It could have become something truly terrifying had it taken a few darker turns and really developed some of the actual fears that were on display. But when all is said and done it was still a stirring horror movie that might make one think about their own fears and misdeeds.