The next double feature is here! We are looking at two newer titles. In a lack of inspiration to decide what to watch on my Netflix list, I went back to my favorite way to choose, alphabetically. I had already watched Alleycats before making this decision so I decided to watch another A title that I had started coincidentally, As Above So Below.
Let’s check it out!
Director: Ian Bonhote
Cast: Eleanor Tomlinson, John Hannah, John Lynch, Josh Whitehouse, Sam Keeley, Hera Hilmar, Frederick Schmidt
When bike courier Chris witnesses what looks like a murder, his first instinct is to cut and run. But when his curiosity draws him back in, he’s soon embroiled in a world of corruption, political power, and illegal bike racing. – IMDB
Alleycats is an action thriller that is a bit too obvious before its reveal. However, it has its good moments where it has a bit of tension. The main character Danni is cool. While there is somewhat of a mystery aspect, the execution could have been done little better to keep things a little more compelling. Although the pacing was pretty good, it still was missing an element of surprise because the one they had here was simply pretty easy to figure out early on and it is because it takes on a trope or two from other thrillers. Perhaps with the nature of bike racing and courrier, it does keep the action going and the pace moving along while adding in tension, its a shame that there weren’t more of those scenes and adds in a little too much drama for its own good, making it somewhat lost in its own plot. Sometimes, keeping it simple will make it more effective.
However, Alleycats is a decent action thriller. It may not have big names attached to it but the story is a good one that wraps up political power, corruption into a fast-paced mystery that may be predictable but still intriguing enough to watch.
As Above So Below (2014)
Director (and writer): John Erick Dowdle
Cast: Perdita Weeks, Ben Feldman, Edwin Hodge, Francois Civil, Marion Lambert, Ali Marhyar, Cosme Castro
When a team of explorers ventures into the catacombs that lie beneath the streets of Paris, they uncover the dark secret that lies within this city of the dead. – IMDB
I still remember when As Above So Below first showed up in my trailers feed and it looked so good. I don’t know why I didn’t end up seeing it. Maybe its the found footage which I’m indifferent to or its the fact that I remember there being a lot of unenthusiastic reviews, or maybe I just had something better to see. Whatever the reason, its on Netflix Canada and I finally decided to give it a go. Found footage is tricky to get right and not turn it into a nauseating experience. As Above So Below does a few things well. The found footage part is done very well. It uses the light and dark really well to build an atmosphere as they go deeper into the catacombs. However, that is where the movie also falls apart.
Its never good to watch a movie and feel like its a lesser version of another movie just in a slightly different setting and that is how I felt for a good portion of this movie. Sure, it takes the fact that going down is the only way out as they go for a treasure/artifact hunt and enter into what is to be hell, pretty obvious if you look at the poster above to be honest. As Above So Below is referred to as part of some ancient scripture describing the journey to hell and the gates of hell or something. It lost me a little somewhere. To be honest, regardless if that is true or not, those parts were pretty cool to listen to as the main characters, Scarlett (played by Perdita Weeks) and George (Ben Feldman) talk all this fancy talk that I didn’t understand about old scriptures describing the Philosphers’ Stone and whatnot. Also, this movie goes through a decent part of it with no deaths. It may seem uneventful but those parts was all about building the atmosphere of the claustrophobic danger underneath.
I’m slightly indifferent to As Above So Below. There are some nice concepts here and to be honest, it felt like National Treasure crossed over with The Descent. Some scenes even paralleled to the latter title mentioned. However, I can’t say that I disliked it. At a certain point, I felt like I just wanted it to end and at other points, it felt like the characters didn’t make a ton of sense in their actions of how things just flipped around. I just thought it could have maybe been more. It has the potential and the story is there, just the execution of the story could be better. Its a shame.
There you go! Our double feature!
Have you seen either of these movies?