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Trail in 'As Above, So Below' leads to grade-Z horror clichés

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'As Above, So Below' is full of horror movie tropes
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Review: 'As Above, So Below' – 'an entertainment-free sinkhole of Dramamine-worthy nonsense'

The catacombs beneath Paris, which famously house the remains of 6 million dead, are probably one of the last places you'd want to feel trapped. But the low-budget horror movie "As Above, So Below" — an entertainment-free sinkhole of Dramamine-worthy nonsense — can turn any space you see it in into a torture chamber.

In this 38th installment of "The Blair Witch Project," obsessed tomb raider Scarlett (Perdita Weeks) believes she's found in Paris' ancient labyrinthine ossuary the secret pathway to the legendary philosopher's stone. But what her gang of attractive young treasure seekers discovers — along with a videographer who can't seem to keep a camera straight or turn it off — are grade-Z horror clichés dredging up each character's private demons.

Director and co-writer John Erick Dowdle's philosophy, meanwhile, is "I shake and run, therefore I am." With so little care for the creation of a single memorable image — in or under Paris, no less! — what's left is that found-footage genre byproduct: 90 minutes of feeling like you've been strapped blindfolded to the back of a howling psychotic, after eating a large meal.

To paraphrase the Dante inscription above one of the umpteenth headlamp-lighted passageways that just lead to more tunnels and holes, abandon hope all ye who enter "As Above, So Below," which is nowhere near as engaging or scary as any given episode of "Scooby-Doo."

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'As Above, So Below'

MPAA rating: R for bloody violence and terror, and language throughout.

Running time: 1 hour, 33 minutes

Playing: In general release

Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times
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