Books in the Park

suggestions from the Barbara S. Ponce Public Library at Pinellas Park

On the Fence: As Above So Below (2014)

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on the fence as above so below

First before I say anything else, let me state that I really enjoyed this movie. This review is On the Fence because I know it is not to everyone’s liking.

Scarlet Marlowe is an intrepid modern day alchemy scholar who is questing for the Philosopher’s Stone… Stop that! Don’t laugh! She has worked all her life to be taken seriously! In a homage to her late father’s life’s work, she has been researching and hunting for evidence that the Stone actually exists, and she may have just found her big break in an ancient buried temple in Iran. It is a completely legitimate line of work… Stop laughing!

Heading to Paris to follow up on her latest discovery, Scarlett and aspiring film-maker Benji begin to document the search. They hit a road block pretty quickly when they discover the next step in the search lies deep in the Catacombs of Paris. Scarlett enlists the help of her spurned ex, George, who in turn enlists the help of a gang of French scamps, whose specialty just so happens to be hanging out in creepy catacombs.

Once they head underground– well, Randy Cordova sums it up best in his review of the film for

“Once the characters go underground, things start happening. Not scary things, mind you, but things.”

Scarlett and her motley crew must uncover ancient carvings and translate clues and riddles written in strange languages left by alchemists and Templar Knights, all while being chased by demons, both personal and literal (but mostly personal).

The film is, of course, not scary. It is as if National Treasure were re-imagined as a found footage horror film, yet it still manages to compel me. While watching, I found myself wondering “What is going to happen to these people? What do they have to do next?” The archaeological elements of the plot are fascinating (alchemy and Templar treasure are always interesting), and the shaky camera work kept me confused, which is kind of like being engaged.

Let me reiterate that I adored this movie, and I would watch it three more times at the drop of a hat. I have a legitimate and un-ironic love of As Above So Below, but then again I love tacky, poorly done cinema. Not all bad cinema, mind you; it has to have interesting premise, and a heart, as if talented creators really wanted to do an excellent job but failed through some strange twist of fate. As Above So Below has both a heart and a strong premise. I heartily recommend this film to anyone who enjoys very bad movies.

Check the PPLC Catalog for As Above So Below.

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