AS ABOVE, SO BELOW (John Erick Dowdle). 93 minutes. Opens Friday (August 29). See listings. Rating: NN
The best part of As Above, So Below is its setting, the Paris catacombs, a spooky centuries-old boneyard under the city attached to a maze of long-abandoned mine tunnels. Director John Erick Dowdle, aided by a doom-laden soundtrack, effectively captures a sense of oppressive menace, particularly when our heroes pass through the entrance to hell and everything turns topsy-turvy.
Otherwise, the movie isn't very scary. The thin story borrows heavily from the first Indiana Jones movies and The Da Vinci Code: an anthropologist (Perdita Weeks) and her buddies search the catacombs for the Philosopher's Stone, long sought by alchemists. The action consists largely of running, yelling and falling down. The supernatural elements, designed to force the protagonists to confront their deepest fears, show up late, feel shoehorned in and generated more laughs than gasps with the preview audience.
The proceedings are further dragged down by the always-tedious found-footage gimmick.