WTF: As Above, So Below (2014)

As Above, So Below 02 (WTF Watch the Film Saint Pauly)

As Above, So Below 01 poster (WTF Watch the Film Saint Pauly)

Spoiler Alert:

I shall be digging deep into As Above, So Below, delving into its mysteries and uncovering its plot holes to determine if it’s deep or just a trap. So read on only if you’ve already seen As Above, So Below, or don’t plan to.

Watch As Above, So Below here

Synopsis (AKA One MASSIVE Spoiler): Basically, the film is about an underground world which resembles Dante’s Inferno and which mirrors ours. The young explorers who discover this region beneath Paris have to own up to their past regrets or die from them. There’s also a random bit about the Philosopher’s Stone, apparently to transmute this film into pure gold from a steaming pile of WTF!?

As Above, So Below 02 (WTF Watch the Film Saint Pauly)
Medieval Simon

0:01:21 A young lass (Perdita Weeks as Scarlett) sneaks into Iran to secretly film caves that reveal a critical, missing piece of history. She’s undercover, or at least under veil.

0:04:38 Inside a cave she finds a giant, onyx bull head she calls the ‘Rose Key’, and not the ‘Italian man’s horn pendant’.

0:06:17 She miraculously survives the explosion in the condemned caves. The dead bloke she found hanging in a noose doesn’t fare as well.

[N.B. From an anonymous reader in the comment section: The hanging guy she sees in Iran is her father.]

0:08:04 Scarlett is now in Paris at some inner-city excavation, boasting about her degrees. The bad news is, this is a found-footage film. There’s been a plethora of these recently and most of them – like Into the Storm  – should have stayed lost.

As Above, So Below 03 (WTF Watch the Film Saint Pauly)
“A bloke taking a what behind me?”

0:08:53 She’s now following in the literal footsteps of her father who killed himself while looking for the alchemist’s Philosopher’s Stone. The Philosopher’s Stone is a magic rock that can turn metal into gold. She states Nicolas Flamel was ‘widely believed’ to have accomplished this. I am well aware of Nicolas Flamel and the only way he is ‘widely’ believed is if he’s believed by obese people.

0:13:17 Scarlett finds an old friend (Ben Feldman as George) who will help her translate the symbols on Nicolas Flamel’s tombstone using the Aramaic from the bull head as a key. He knows a lot of bull.

As Above, So Below 04 (WTF Watch the Film Saint Pauly)
“Look, it’s a diving eagle with an erection.”

0:16:04 On the back of Flamel’s tombstone, they find a secret poem that rhymes when translated into English. WTF!?

As Above, So Below 05 (WTF Watch the Film Saint Pauly)
Does ‡ really rhyme with § ?

0:20:33 Why, hello there weird ostrich chick!

As Above, So Below 06 GIF Ostrich Chick (WTF Watch the Film Saint Pauly)
Cuckoo, Cuckoo, Cuckoo

Benji (Edwin Hodge as the camera man), George and Scarlett enter a club to find a bloke called Papillion (a very sexy François Civil), because some young rocker who hangs out in the Catacombs [see 1:11:11] told her he was the one who could find her secret passage. Ah, those Frenchmen.

0:26:34 LOL! French five.

As Above, So Below 07 GIF French Five (WTF Watch the Film Saint Pauly)
Give me cinq!

Here, then, is the team descending into the pits of this film:

  • Scarlett: Leader of the pack. Named after her hair — or, perhaps ‘little scar’
  • George: Her ex. A claustrophobic bloke trapped in this film
  • Benji: Token black cameraman in a film that needs bodies more than blacks and cameramen
  • Papillon: Attractive French urban explorer who leads the descent because he knows his way around in the dark
  • Souxie: Quiet française, only along for the body count
  • Zed: The third Frenchie and porter of the emotional baggage

0:28:02

Scarlett: His [George’s] little brother drowned in a cave when they were young.

I hope there was water in it.

As Above, So Below 08 (WTF Watch the Film Saint Pauly)
Head Lights

0:30:52 Al K Hall nudity alert: Random loony bird is leading a choir of topless women in long skirts chanting in a cavern.

034:38 The crazy chanting reaches its climax just as Benji has a claustrophobic attack. Honestly? The crazy music is overkill. Which could explain why I feel overdead – tired.

0:37:36 The entire group has to go down the passage Papillon says is haunted. These Catacombs will be the death of him, or somebody less attractive than him.

As Above, So Below 09 (WTF Watch the Film Saint Pauly)
The tunnel is like Thai food: easier going in than coming out

0:40:16 In one tunnel, George finds a piano like the one he and his brother used to play. This piano is crap just like his old one, so everybody is afraid. Maybe because none of them know how to repair a piano.

0:41:24

Why won’t you talk to me, Scarlett?

Voice on the phone when Scarlett speaks

She is talking to you, deaf bloke.

[We will later learn the voice is that of her father, who telephoned her the night he committed suicide, but she didn’t pick up]

0:41:46 La Taupe (The Mole in English), a French lad who’s been lost for ages and was friends with Papillon, shows up out of the blue black. He says he can show them a way out, though the way he says it, he makes it sound like suicide.

[La Taupe represents a soul lost in Purgatory / Limbo in the first circle of Hell in Dante’s Inferno.]

As Above, So Below 09 (WTF Watch the Film Saint Pauly)
Mid-evil map

0:43:34

The only way out is down.

La Taupe

Their friend quotes Dante directly. In the Inferno, Dante and his mate, Virgil, continue to wind down the nine concentric circles of Hell until gravity flips and the duo pop out in the same place they entered Hell. Sound familiar? If not, it will when you see the end of this film.

0:44:57 The group follow their flat mate and rappel down a deep hole.

Scarlett: If we find the chamber, then that’s the way out. We’ll find a way out.

Souxie: Are you sure?

Scarlett: I think I’m sure.

What an oxymoron.

0:46:40 The group step in a puddle which makes the sound go numb. When the angry phantoms scream, the ghost of Jean Paul Gauthier as a wee lad appears.

As Above, So Below 11 (WTF Watch the Film Saint Pauly)
“Have you seen my Mummy?”

[The little boy isn’t a child some English family abandoned in the Catacombs, but is the ghost of George’s brother, Danny.

Or, as reader Haley elaborates in the comments, perhaps it’s Zed’s child! “…if you look at Zed’s face after the kid appeared, he looked freaked out. He did say that he had never seen him [his son], but that could just mean that he hadn’t seen his kid in person. He could have seen photographs of his kid. …  Also, if it was Danny, I think George would have tried looking for him, like he did in the ninth level.”] 

0:50:06 The team open a secret door and everybody’s happy because they don’t know the film is only half over.

0:50:51

V.I.T.R.I.O.L.

This is motto of alchemy and the entire point to this film. Visita Interiora Terrae Rectificando Invenies Occultum Lapidem is a Latin expression that George translates as, “Visit the earth’s interior parts – by rectification you shall find the hidden stone.” ‘Vitriol’ is also what I spew a lot of on this site.

As Above, So Below 12 (WTF Watch the Film Saint Pauly)
The ancient way of writing W.T.F.

[The theme of this film is descending into the Catacombs and rectifying past wrongs to reach the Philosopher’s Stone, which is reflected in the slogan.]

0:52:38 Scarlett discovers a hidden treasure room with an eternal flame that hasn’t burnt out in 5 centuries. They don’t make flames like that any more.

0:55:14 Next to the treasure is the Philosopher’s Stone, but the Frenchies don’t care about philosophy (WTF!? –  plot hole) only the gold. The gold, however, is a trap, meant to distract treasure hunters from the real wealth: the stone. Which makes Scarlett a Stoner.

0:55:57 The ceiling collapses and hits Souxie and La Taupe like a ton of bricks. Because it’s a ton of bricks. The Mole’s a decent enough chap to stop screaming so the group can heal Souxie’s arm with the Philosopher’s Stone and forget about him.

0:57:14 This is the moment that an attentive reader (in the Comment section) references in this helpful addition to the narrative:

very small tidbit of nonsense; upon swimming through the underwater corridor to the the chamber to find the stone, all of the explorers were soaking wet…. minus la taupe!

Thanks once again, dear Reader!

As Above, So Below 13 (WTF Watch the Film Saint Pauly)
In the bargain basement

0:59:36 While there’s not much scary in this film, The Da Vinci Code / Myst aspect is as entertaining as…well, Myst and The Da Vinci Code, I  guess.

1:00:26

George (reading an inscription on the wall): ‘Abandon all hope, ye who enter here.’

Scarlett: Oh.

Papillon: What?

Scarlett: According to mythology, that’s the inscription over the gates of hell.

Papillon: What!? I’m… I’m not going in there.

Lol. Papillon is so French!

As Above, So Below 13 meme (WTF Watch the Film Saint Pauly)
“One does not simply walk into the MORT door.”

1:02:10 They all crawl through a small space and wind up in a reverse replica of the room they were just in. It’s not hell, but it’s as boring as.

1:03:38 After hearing screaming sounds in an underwater passageway, the find Le Taupe –  the Frenchman they left for dead – sitting there. Awk-ward.

1:04:28 Souxie goes to him, but he looks like a zombie of his former self. Despite everyone warning her to leave him alone, she continues to approach him. He snaps and kills her by beating her head on the ground. No real explanation is given of the sin she hasn’t rectified. Maybe it’s because she spoke English to him and they’re both French.

[N.B. Bunny, a reader, has presented a theory in the comments regarding Siouxie: 

It’s possible that Sioux (can’t spell) was the one who talked the mole into going into the bad parts of the cave and that’s why he killed her and just disappeared.

Wonderful! It may not be clearly presented in the film, but this theory is better than none! Thank you once again for sharing, Bunny!

Another reader, Crystalia, and her friends have a theory, as well. They think her sin is not warning the group concerning the dangers in the catacombs. Her theory is fascinating and spelt out in the comments section below.]

1:07:02

As Above, So Below 14 (WTF Watch the Film Saint Pauly)
Phantombomb

1:07:29 Bloody brilliant ending to Benji. Crazy bird appears out of nowhere, then we hear Benji scream before we see his dead body fall to the bottom of the plot hole they’re descending.

As Above, So Below 15 GIF Drop It (WTF Watch the Film Saint Pauly)

[The ‘sin’ Benji refuses to rectify and thus has to die for is not clearly spelled out. Many viewers seem to think it’s linked to his perceived lust, or linked to the baby thrust upon him by the crazy bird before she does him in.

Crystalia seems to think it could be because “he might of murdered a woman and her child, a pregnant woman or just a woman.” Her explanation of this is very detailed and can be found in the comments section. Thank you, Crystalia!

Yet another reader, Haley, has put forth the idea that the woman with the baby who appears to Benji in the caves is a “woman in white”, i.e. the phantom of a woman who discovered Benji was cheating on her so killed herself and their child. Read about it in the comments!]

1:08:42 George’s drowned brother makes an appearance here, drowning under a pile of bones, calling out to his brother. The last third of the film is really taking off like a stripper’s knickers.

1:11:11 There’s a burning car with a white in an afro burning in the back seat and he slowly turns his head towards the Papillon, who keeps repeating, “It wasn’t my fault.” He may be talking about this film.

As Above, So Below 16 GIF Burns Me Up (WTF Watch the Film Saint Pauly)
“This burns me up.”

[The man in the car is the same one in the note at 0:20:33, who told the group to find Papillon. Which means he, like The Mole, is able to walk back and forth between the two worlds much more easily than everybody else in the film. Dead has it’s privileges.]

Brilliant image of Papillon’s legs sticking out of the sand after the car is crumpled up into another dimension. #FootGarden

[Because Papillon refuses to acknowledge / atone for his part in the lad’s death, he is put to death exactly as is described in Dante’s Eighth Circle of Hell:]

Out of the mouth of each one [baptismal font] there protruded
The feet of a transgressor, and the legs
Up to the calf, the rest within remained.

Fullscreen capture 14122014 232142.bmp

1:15:21 An evil looking chap in a black, cowl-like robe [the devil] turns his pale face to the trio (Scarlett, George and Zed), while the agonizing faces frozen in the wall fill the cave with screams. The walls have more than ears.

1:17:22 Scarlett tries to save George who’s been attacked by a wall monster, but the Philosopher’s Stone doesn’t work, she realizes, because it’s the wrong stone. She must return to the first room and replace the stone to be able to heal him. Zed thinks they should just abandon George and run away. Oh, those French!

[N.B. Another of my astute readers (Mrunal) observed in the comments below that this is yet another WTF!? in the film. No reasonable explanation is given as to why the ‘fake’ stone would heal Souxie’s arm (55:57) above, yet fail to work on Ben.

Nick has also pointed out in the comments that the room to which Scarlett must return to recover the authentic stone was sealed off in the avalanche (55:57). This might be a WTF!?, or might just be that the group entered through one door (now blocked) and left through the opposite (and still accessible) door.

Samm & Jo mention in the comments that 1) “The stone heals Siouxie because at that point in time they are still in outside ‘the gates of hell’/’alternative reality’ tunnel” and 2) “the room Scarlett returns to is the mirror image room AFTER they descend into hell”. They also share an interesting theory that Scarlett has two sins for which to atone! Read more in the comments!]

As Above, So Below 18 (WTF Watch the Film Saint Pauly)
Madonna’s gynaecologists

1:17:51 Lol, as she runs back, she bitch slaps a rock monster that gets in her way.

1:18:32 The fact all of the action is now filmed with only her GoPro makes the suspense better because the frame of vision is so restricted.

1:19:24 Scarlett finds a hanging figure with a towel over his head in a chamber. It’s meant to be her father, so she decides to forget about rescuing her beau in order to pull the pillowcase off the head. When she does, the figure beneath seems to be her own. She should stop hanging around.

As Above, So Below 19 (WTF Watch the Film Saint Pauly)
Not a beauty spot, but a mole

1:20:51

As above, so below. As I believe the world to be, so it is.

After she replaces the wrong Philosopher’s Stone, she sees her reflection in a mirror and understands that the Philosopher’s Stone is really just the power of belief (hence, the quote) – If you believe it, it will come true. She should have believed this would be a good film choice for her.

1:21:11 Back in the hanging room, she hugs the dead body of her father and apologizes for not picking up the phone on the night he killed himself. By apologizing for not taking his call on the night he killed himself, she’s off Satan’s To-do list.

1:21:27 There is no camera here that could’ve recorded the angles we’re seeing. Just saying. #ThatGuy

As Above, So Below 20 (WTF Watch the Film Saint Pauly)
“Make sure you get to the bottom of this, even if you have to force yourself.”

1:22:22 Scarlett places her hand on the wound on George’s neck and kisses him. The wound is healed. The French chap doesn’t ask her to do the same to him. I’m no longer sure he’s French.

1:23:12 George admits he got lost while looking for help to save his brother. By confessing his error to Scarlett, he’s no longer doomed. By confessing to Scarlett, he also has a good idea of what it feels like to be married.

1:23:38

I have a child I’ve never seen. I know it’s mine, but I deny it.

It would seem Zed is French after all.

As Above, So Below 21 (WTF Watch the Film Saint Pauly)
“Have a baby!”

1:24:28 The three of them must fall up a deep hole.

[The well signifies Purgatory in Dante’s Inferno.]

1:26:04 Because they’re in the mirror reflection world, they have to push down on a manhole cover on the ground, and when they look through it, they see upside down trees blowing in the wind. They climb out of the hole, the world rotates 180°, and they’ve returned to Paris. Which is still a little backwards, but not physically upside down.

Roll credits

1:28:02 What sounds like a hipster version of a Serge Gainsbourg song for the credits.

Note

Haley, one of my readers, provided an extensive and ingenious outline to the entire film in a comment below. I’d like to include part of here,as it explains a lot of the film, and I’ll recommend in the strongest of terms that you seek out and read the rest of her explanations in the comments section below.

…here’s the “rings” that I mapped out which also describe bits of the movie:

“Surface”— crawl over bones, cave-in, go through door anyway.
1. Hell Side A—PAP tag, piano, phone, La Taupe, boarded up vertical well tunnel.
2. Water canal, fucked up sound (dulled), ringing, roars, children whines, kid with striped shirt. Door. Secret tunnel with vulture and scarab. “Tonamaic” hinge?
3. 700 year old preserved Mason corpse and tomb. VITRIOL. Underwater.
4. Treasure room with eternal fire and pottery. Philosopher’s stone at the mouth of Nut. Trap. Cave-in. Heals Siouxee’s broken arm by rubbing the stone so grains of it falls into the wound. La Taupe missing. Porta Alchemica. “The Great Seal of Solomon.” Door on the floor.
5. Hell Side B—”Abandon all hope ye who enter here.” Treasure room Nut reversed (4). Underwater.
6. 700 year old decomposed body. La Taupe. Kills Siouxee. Siouxee stays dead. Tunnel. groaning sound. (3)
7. Noose. Watery pathway mirrored of 2.
8. Vertical well tunnel down. Baby cries, woman makes sound, whispers. LiW thrusts baby in Benji’s face, startling him. Benji dies.
9. Watery canal under bones, different from 2. George sees Danny, his brother. Different child from 2 (Zed’s son?). Yells and screams. Burning car. “It wasn’t my fault.” Papillon dies. More groaning noise, from 6. Death, more cries from dead people. Twisty corridors unlike the previous levels. Throne. Wall monsters.

She goes on to detail each of these levels and what they signify… It’s a fascinating take on the film and she goes deeper into it than any analysis I’ve ever read of the film, including my own. If you’re a fan of As Above So Below (or simply lost!), her full comment is revelatory.

Tally Ho’

  • WTF!?’s: 7 deep ones
  • When to Follow: When you feel like watching a film more intellectual than intelligent. Not scary enough to be fun, and not fun enough to be interesting.
  • Where’s This Found: I must admit to being slightly disappointed by this film. I was very impressed by director John Erick Dowdle‘s film The Poughkeepsie Tapes, which established him as the new King of found-footage films for me. Unfortunately, the acting in that film was at times insufferable… If only he could’ve had this cast in that film. As it stands, I enjoyed the mystery aspect of As Above, So Below, but was hoping for more thrills. Out of a possible 10, I have 5 F’s to give

5 Fs

  • What To Feedback: What is your favourite found-footage film? Let us know in the comments!

[Note: I used the excellent article “As Above/So Below: A meditation in horror aesthetics, hermeticism, and Dante’s Infernoby Brentos and an informative Reddit page from r/movies to research this post.]

All GIFs used in this review were created with the Imgflip online meme generator

Left Over WTF (Way Too Funny) Photos

Prints suitable for reposting!

As Above, So Below 21 meme mole (WTF Watch the Film Saint Pauly)

As Above, So Below 22 meme bottom (WTF Watch the Film Saint Pauly)

What to Follow Up

WTF review of another found-footage horror film
WTF review of yet another found-footage horror film
Bar None Booze Revooze of Horns
Fernby Films review of a stormy found-footage film

88 thoughts on “WTF: As Above, So Below (2014)

  1. People exploring dark, dank places that others fear to visit?

    Sounds like German porn to me.

    Ha ha, I’m gonna check this one out when I can snare a cheap rental!

    Thanks for the linkage too, brother. Always a pleasure.

    Like

  2. One thing though that I think you missed—Pap’s hand is badly burned (Benji does inquire about this in the truck to Zed). Zed replies, “we don’t talk about it”. Although we the audience don’t understand the burn at the time, eventually we will. Just thought you might want to know. Otherwise, this was such a fun read. Thanks for sharing.

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    1. Dear Robin!

      Thank you so much for the observation. I don’t recall having seen the reference and obviously missed it in my synopsis, so I appreciate your pointing it out!

      I really appreciated your taking the time to read the article, to make a comment, and to let me know it was a fun read. People like you are what brought me out of early retirement! I hope to see you back soon and often!

      WTF Robin!? (Watch The Film)

      Saint Pauly

      Like

  3. very small tidbit of nonsense; upon swimming through the underwater corridor to the the chamber to find the stone, all of the explorers were soaking wet…. minus la taupe!
    thanks for your review and hope to see more laying low of found footage films, my friend!

    Like

    1. Hallo Good Reader!

      Thank you so much for your addition to the review! I’ll be sure to add it to the text immediately. I appreciate your visit and especially your comment, and hope to see you around here more often!

      WTF!? (Watch The Film),

      Saint Pauly

      Like

  4. A group of friends and I watched this last night. Best laugh we’ve had in ages! Loved that the gravestone of Flammel was just hooked onto the wall, that the ancient text rhymed in English, that the time back to the original cave was about two minutes, even though it took them forty five to leave it, and that Satan also believes in the power of love.
    Your review was spot on!

    Like

    1. Hello Anne!

      I wish I’d been able to watch the film with a group of friends! I certainly would’ve enjoyed it more. There was a lot to be laughed at, to be sure. It seems to me your eyes are at least as good as spotting WTF’s as my own — you should start your own website!

      Thank you so much for the kind words. Do please feel free to come by again soon!

      WTF!? Anne (Watch The Film),

      Saint Pauly

      Like

  5. I just finished watching and then read your review..
    First of all its a spot on review…amazing I mean…with all the humour
    What I didn’t understand is later in the movie, when she couldn’t heal her ex..is because she hadn’t rectified. .
    How come before when she found the stone… (and had not rectified) was she able to cure Souxie?
    Please do enlighten me!!

    Like

    1. Hallo there!

      Thank you so much for your comment! I do believe you’re right, there is another WTF!? there and I shall amend the synopsis to include your find (giving you full credit, of course). No reason or explanation is given why the ‘fake’ stone would heal Souxie but not Ben! WTF!?

      Thanks again for your visit and note!

      WTF!? (Watch The Film),

      Saint Pauly

      Like

      1. If it didn’t heal Souxie’s arm, they wouldn’t have confidence that they choose the right stone. Since it healed her arm, they kept repeating “we have to keep moving”, with faith that they were doing the right thing.

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        1. Hallo Melrose!

          Thank you for contributing to the discussion.

          I understand the need in the story for the explorers to believe they healed Souxie’s arm, but I think the question remains, how could they have healed her arm if the stone was the wrong stone? Any ideas / thoughts?

          Thank you for your visit!

          WTF!? Melrose (Watch The Film),

          Saint Pauly

          Like

      2. An odd one but I have an idea on this, she healed sioux with the stone, before they had entered the mirror door, on the floor yes? If they Had somehow returned without entering the gates of hell; not collapsed the treasure room) the stone I believe would have functioned as predicted even back at the surface, but by entering this mirror as it were, everything is reversed, the stone scarlett searched for was now not needing to be searched for, their fears became physical realities, and their descent became an ascent by reaching the bottom they reached the top, in summary I reckon if the French members weren’t so greedy they would have had a legitimate philosopher stone.

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    2. The reason she was able to heal the girl was because she put her hand over the wound. It actually had nothing to do with the stone, they just thought it did. When she first scratched stone shavings onto George’s neck (still thinking the stone is the cure), she didn’t put her hand on his neck like she did with Souxie’s arm. When Scarlett returns from seeing her reflection, only then did she put her hand on Georges neck. There was no plot hole at all. It was actually well written.

      Like

      1. Hallo Eddie!

        Thank you for your contribution to the discussion!

        I’m not sure I follow, however. Are you saying Scarlett has power to heal in her hands? It certainly would explain why she could heal Souxie and not George, but then it opens a whole Pandora’s box of questions. What is the source of the power? Are there other moments where or ways in which this power manifests in the film? When did you first notice the power?

        I must admit I’m a bit skeptical, so I’d love for you to convince me. Looking to forward to hearing from you!

        WTF!? Eddie (Watch The Film),

        Saint Pauly

        Like

      2. my belief was that when she replaced the stone she was looking for the true philosophers stone and in doing so found that she was the stone as she saw herself in the mirror

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  6. The Stone had healed Souxie’s arm before they had passed the threshold. I’m guessing that side, let’s call it Side A, was where hope and the stone worked. Once they passed the threshold (Side B), they are told to Abandon All Hope, meaning to not rely on physical stone. Rather to rely on the Hidden Stone, which is a mirror of ones self, or belief. Was that…too deep?

    Like

    1. Hallo Jaimus!

      Thank you so much for casting some light on this rocky problem, as I was at a dead end. 😉

      That said, I’m not sure where in the film they mentioned that the stone only worked on one side… Still, food for thought!

      I appreciate your visit and your views and opinions!

      WTF!? Jaimus (Watch The Film),

      Saint Pauly

      Like

      1. There was no “reply” button under your new comment, so I’m using an older one to reply to. Hope thats clear.

        Anyway, when she replaces the stone and she see’s her own reflection, she realizes the power is in her as the reflection symbolizes that “YOU are whats magical, not the stone”. If you listen to her explain “As above, so below” throughout the film, she mentions a few interpretations. One being “if you believe it, it will be so”. It’s the reason she has faith that if they jump into the pit near the end of the film, that they’ll be okay.

        Watch the film again. You’ll see. 😉

        Like

        1. Hallo Eddie,

          Yes, I think there’s a limit to the number of replies that can be added to a thread.

          Thanks for this explanation! I seem to remember this scene and am anxious to rewatch the film to dig deeper. Thank you so much for your input!

          Well spotted, Eddie!

          WTF!? (Watch The Film),

          Saint Pauly

          Like

  7. For the comment about why the stone heals Souxie but not George, it’s probably because the stone worked before they entered “Hell”, and because every thing is backwards to its counterpart on the other side, the stone would more than likely follow suit. Which means it wouldn’t work. Ties into the whole “As Above, So Below” thing. To go out on even more of a limb, the stone represents the power people seek but the movie shows us the power was really inside of us all along. Which is why she had to ALL THE WAY BACK to put the stone back, and take a moment to see if her make up was on point in the convenient and metaphorical mirror on the wall where the stone was. As far as any mention of things working on which side or not, my assumption is that its something you’d have to be familiar with mythology about to really understand.

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    1. Hallo Cammy!

      Very interesting point! Your argument certainly has the merit of being logical (an certainly more logical than the film!), though I think I would’ve like to have seen this (and every other idea in the film) spelled out in more detail in the film. Your answer must be right, as it can’t be proved wrong. And your crack about her stopping to check her make up made me smile! Thank you for that, and the comment you made.

      Please do come back soon!

      WTF Cammy (Watch The Film),

      Saint Pauly

      Like

  8. Your whole article was full of obnoxious and unnecessary (not to mention unfunny) additions. Excessive negativity that seemed like i was reading something a high-schooler wrote. Please chill.

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    1. Hello Anonymous!

      Thank you so much for your comment! It really tickled my funny bone. I found it so droll to read a troll who whines about excessive negativity! You really have a wonderful sense of irony.

      But then you ruined it when you stopped joking! If you want to read reviews where the critic loves every film he or she sees, you need to read those written by high-schoolers! They love everything! Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Left Behind, Battlefield Earth, Outcast… Even when they detest a movie, they rank it 6/10! Unfortunately for you, a real (non-high school) critic refuses to laud praise on every film he/she sees. We analyze, ask questions, consider choices, evaluate talent… As someone who knows cinema, I refuse to try and determine my readers’ opinions and parrot them back. Oh, Anonymous, I really preferred you when you were being negative about negativity!

      Seriously, I understand you’re looking for traditional reviews written in traditional fashion. Something new, unusual or outside the box disturbs you. I get that. I’m constantly confronted with the magnificent mass of the mediocre every day. However, if you don’t like a certain food, don’t eat it. If you don’t like a specific song, don’t listen to it. And if you don’t like a website, don’t visit it! That said, I’m happy you decided to come here and spend a lot of time on a site you don’t appreciate because 1) an increasing number of trolls proves that this site is getting a lot of attention, and 2) I get to read jokes, like hysterical neurotics telling me to chill.

      WTF Anonymous!? (Watch The Film)

      Saint Pauly

      Like

      1. wow Saint man, you should really chill. This is my first time visiting your website, because google pooped it out. I came here to find some aditional anwsers about the movie and found none from you, you just ridiculed the whole movie and the person who gave you a bad comment. Way to go.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Hallo Dafuq!

          Sorry you couldn’t find the answers you were looking for! What, specifically were the questions left unanswered? As there are about 70 comments in addition to the above analysis, I think this post has become the de facto reference site for the film (though you may want to try the sites I link at the bottom of my synopsis). I’d like to answer any inquiries that I can.

          As for “ridiculing the whole movie”, that’s my snarky way of analysing a film, and many of my readers not only appreciate it, they send me requests for films they’d like me to review.

          As for ‘chilling’… Hmmm, I suppose I’m not the Saint you make me out to be. If people engage me in intelligent debate, I’ll treat them with respect. If people troll me, I’m not afraid to return the favour.

          Thanks for your visit!

          WTF!? dafuq, (Watch The Film),

          Saint Pauly

          Like

  9. I’m a bit let to the party on this one but honestly, even with the bad moments and the wtfs, I liked it. I am a hard core gong junkie and anything from a First Person Perspective or at found footage really get me immersed in the film and or game. I’ve watched several Found Footage for this reason and I am curious as to what you enjoy for Found Footage?

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    1. Hallo Rick!

      Better late than never, and I’m always here anyway!

      I’m glad to hear you enjoyed this one. As you sussed, I’m clearly a fan of FF films, as well. If you also like first person films, my next review will be of Hardcore Henry, so be sure to come back for that one!

      Thank you, as well, for the question. What I enjoy most about found footage films is that they take the reality of film making to a plausible level. Theoretically, found footage films were made by normal people and were discovered later, meaning they (according to the narrative) aren’t Hollywood films, but amateurs who filmed different scenes. So, they’re supposed to be reality. This also explains why I loathe musicals (I know, I’m the only gay man on the planet who doesn’t like musicals!). I don’t see how I can be expected people break into song while walking down the street, but I can buy into the story that a person took a video camera and filmed a story that ended up on screen (à la Cloverfield or Blair Witch Project).

      Those are my favorite FF films, what are yours? Did you see the Poughkeepsie Tapes? What did you think of it?

      Thanks for the visit and the comment!

      WTF!? Rick (Watch The Film),

      Saint Pauly

      Like

  10. What a positively brilliant article this was! As an American who has visited the Paris catacombs on several occasions (sometimes legally) I adore this ridiculous film. I know people do some crazy shit down there, so why couldn’t there be a 500 year old fully intact corpse next to a treasure room? I’ve watched this silly movie so many times & always wondered if anyone else thought it was “special”. So I Googled & found your witty little synopsis. Loved it!

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    1. Hallo Robyn!

      What a lovely comment! So glad the eddies of the internet brought you around to our little site.

      As an Englishman who divides his time between Paris and London, I’ve had occasion to visit the catacombs myself. What kind of extra-legal escapades have I been missing out on? Do tell!

      I must confess, I think I prefer the actual catacombs to this film, but, as stated, I am a sucker for Found Footage!

      Thanks once again for the visit and the comment!

      WTF!? Robyn (Watch The Film),

      Saint Pauly

      Like

      1. Haha saint Pauly – let’s just say I met a few “Paps” back in the early 90s. But my husband (also an englishman) told me they no longer allow any (legal) tourists in the catacombs. True? Nevertheless, I am also a sucker for FF. So I’m very happy to have found your site.

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        1. Ahh, I see! I have, of course, heard about tours given off the normal circuit, but, alas, the opportunity has yet to present itself to me, personally. So count me as jealous that you were able to see that side of Paris’s underbelly.

          As for the ‘official’ catacombs, I haven’t been in donkey’s years but a cursory search on the internet reveals that they do indeed seem to still be open for business.

          If you enjoy FF and haven’t yet seen it, you might try the Poughkeepsie Tapes, by the same director as As Above…. The acting is simply horrendous, but John Erick Dowdle demonstrated a knack for found footage. He would go on to helm Quarantine, the American remake of the Spanish [REC], and I quite enjoyed No Escape, his most recent effort. It’s a non-FF, straightforward action film with Owen Wilson and clips along at a good pace.

          Thank you again for your visit and do please visit again soon!

          Saint Pauly

          Like

  11. Food for thought
    The boy who hangs out in the catacombs that they meet at the beginning looks a lot like the guy who is burning in the car when Papillon died. So if you think about it maybe the reason everyone died was because of the biggest sin that they had committed. Think of it this way in biblical terms, the only way to be forgiven is to be washed away from all your sins correct? Or as some Christians put it “to be born again” to gain what you would call eternal life which obviously Scarlett has the power to do so since she apologized to her father. (Also at the end they had to go upside down to get out, much like how a baby is born) It’s possible that Sioux (can’t spell) was the one who talked the mole into going into the bad parts of the cave and that’s why he killed her and just disappeared. Maybe the reason Benji was constantly filming that one creepy lady was because he might have known her at one point in his life and did something awful to her. With Papillon it’s possible that he was friends with that boy in the catacombs, and created some sort of accident in which he died and Papillon only came out with minor Burns and a scar on his hand. And the secret of the Philosopher’s Stone also states you must “go to hell” and back to obtain. Also keep in mind that purgatory is made of the faces of the dead (hence the statues and faces along the area you see death sitting in) so she (Scarlett) went to hell and back to obtain such abilities but the only question I have is did she have them out of the cave haha. Thanks!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hallo Bunny!

      What a darling name and such a lovely comment! You really went into depth for the this film!

      Yes, as I mention in the synopsis, the boy at the beginning and the one in the car are the same (“The man in the car is the same one in the note at 0:20:33, who told the group to find Papillon.”) And you’re right that his death is the major sin Papillon has to atone for (“Because Papillon refuses to acknowledge/atone for his part in the lad’s death, he is put to death exactly as is described in Dante’s Eighth Circle of Hell.“) Your theory about Benji is the one most viewers seem to adopt (“The ‘sin’ Benji refuses to rectify and thus has to die for is not clearly spelled out. Many viewers seem to think it’s linked to his perceived lust, or linked to the baby thrust upon him by the crazy bird before she does him in.“)

      Concerning Souxie…I love your theory! It’s not clearly shown in the film, but your explanation of her sin is the most logical one I’ve heard, and shall be including it in my synopsis–giving full credit to you, of course!

      As for Scarlett and your question about her keeping her ‘gifts’… It’s not clearly spelt out in the film, but I like to believe she does keep them.

      Thank you once again for your thoughtful comment! I hope to see you around here again soon!

      WTF!? Bunny (Watch The Film),

      Saint Pauly

      Like

  12. Pauly,
    First off, I love the review you wrote. I actually really enjoyed the movie, but all of your comments were spot on and made me laugh throughout the whole article. The comments below have also given me more insight into the meaning behind the movie. One thing I thought was left out, although maybe I just saw it wrong was this…

    When the group initially passes through the “gates” of hell, the notice upon exiting the tunnel into the “mirrored” chamber that the tunnel has been sealed in behind them and they must press foward. But when scarlett realizes she has the wrong stone and goes to return to the chamber they got it from, wouldn’t she have to go through the “Sealed” tunnel to return to that room? or did she simply go to the flipped room and not back to where she originally got the stone? I was confused about this, but i get confused about alot 🙂

    Thanks again for the funny and insightful review. keep’em comming

    Nick

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hallo dear Nick!

      What a delightful comment! Thank you for your generous compliments on my jokes…such praise is justifiably few and far between but always appreciated.

      Even better, I do believe you have found another WTF!? Congratulations! I shall have to verify this eventually, but as I’m leaving for my summer hols in just two days, I shall take your observation as gospel. See!? You were just being falsely modest when you claimed you were oft confused!

      Do return again and share more insights with us, won’t you?

      WTF!? Nick (Watch The Film),

      Saint Pauly

      Like

  13. Hi!

    I recently watched this film with ny brest friends and enjoyed it quite a bit! We’ve tried to decipher things so here it goes:

    Their wrong doings that mess with them:

    1. Scarlett: Obvious.
    2. George: Obvious.
    3. Benji: We think he might of murdered a woman and her child, a pregnant woman or just a woman. At the beginning of the movie he pays attention to a lady walkong by, and continues to pay close attention despite her glares (I’m assuming their glares, her stares were kinda weird), showing he does not care for her dicomfort or the task at hand because a. He’s being a perv b. He recognizes her and it startles him or c. Both. Moving on to latet where he pays about about the burn on Papillon’s hand and he is curious (keep the hand part in mind). After, Benji is clearly shown to be claustrophobic and the chanting caused by the lady who he had first observed at the club, makes everything worse (keep this in mind). Later on, it is shown that he is pushed but survives the first attempt to kill him, most likely because he is still on the ‘good’ side. He injures his hands because of the rope burn, putting blood on them. (Do you know the saying when you have blood on yours hands? Tie it to that moment). We think that most likely, he had suffocated someone with a rope (hence dying from the lack of security by the rope that he hadn’t been able to tie) or chocked someone with his bare hands. Either way, it makes sense that he is unsteady about the girl and is claustrophobic.
    4. Souxie: Her’s was more complicated. At the very beginning when they enter the cave that Papillon had refused to go in they see “Pap” which is written on the wall. Papillon uses this shortened name to remind himself that he has been there, but is surprised and denies ever being inside the cave. This is because it wasn’t him who did this, but Souxie, who had most likely been inside the cave before. Before this gets confusing let me explain: when the group runs into Le Taupe the FIRST thing he says is Souxie, “What are you doing here? You’re not supposed to be here remember? I told you not cone here” Or something a long those lines. I’m guessing that Souxie had gone inside the cave and Le Taupe had followed her out of concern for her safety, despite never wanting to go inside the cave before (which is why Papillon said Le Taupe had never wanted to go inside that cave before because of the bad things that happened but when he did he didn’t come out). Im guessing skmething happened while both of them were inside but then something had happened and she left him there to die. She could have warned the team about what had happened, could have worked them of death. But she didn’t. At the very beginning when they are packing for the expedition Papillon calls her “Banshee” as a nickname. Banshee are creatures that worn of death and danger, which she didn’t do.

    If you pay close attention you can see they are all given multiple chances to redeem themselves, but none of them take it until the end or until it’s too late.

    5. Other guy: Obvious.

    I’ve got more stuff to say but I’ll come back and write later, hilarious review by the way!! I kept laughing.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hallo Crystalia!

      Here I am, back from my holiday and finding myself quite impressed with your wonderful comment! It would seem you and your clan invested a lot of time and effort into figuring this out!

      Even more impressive, as though that were possible, is how spot on your observations were. Your Benji theory holds water and I have yet to see a more thorough explanation in all of my research. And your Siouxie theory makes so much sense! How has no one thought of this before!?

      Of course, I’ve added both theories to the post (giving you full credit) and I’m looking forward to hearing what else you have to say regarding the film.

      WTF, Crystalia!? (Watch The Film),

      Saint Pauly

      Like

  14. I’d also like to point out some wtf’s, you remember the club where they meet papillion(which is a breed of ‘french dog’ mind you, why everything they did caused trouble) but there I nocmentioncof the fact that 90% of the people in that club were zombied like the ‘crazy ostrich lady’ you look at it and they are all sunken eyes staring into the distance,? They are surrounding papillion in the club Wether anyone noticed or not, secondly,what was the need for the undead crusader in the tomb? You would have thought they were going to go somewhere with that by the amount of attention they gave it, anyway I loved your review its great to hear someone’s legitamate opinion and sarcasm, id love to throw some more wtf on here about this film but I’m going to have to watch it again to find more! But i love the logic and history you have found behind this film In regards to the circles of hell and purgatory it was like a history lesson in a film review 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hallo Comet boston!

      Than you so much for the kind words and the extra WTFs. AA,SB may not have been the best film of it’s kind, but it certainly makes people think and there are a lot of levels to it, much like the Catacombs of Paris!

      WTF, Comet boston (Watch The Film)!?

      Saint Pauly

      Like

  15. About La Toupe not being wet, its possible he wasn’t wet as he’s just a figment of their imagination. Also Benji did point out (being the only one that noticed) that when La Toupe told them to come, when they turned the corner Benji was like woah how’d he get up the tunnel so fast so long story short La Toupe knows how to use Goku’s instant transmission or he’s Usain Bolt with quiet footsteps and ability to walk through walls.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hallo Skeetmachine!

      Thank you so much for your generous comment! Not only did you take the time to peruse my musings but you also went to the trouble of leaving a commentary, and a very nice one at that. I’m glad we both agree on the film…and my article. 😉

      Please stop by again!

      WTF!? Skeetmachine (Watch The Film),

      Saint Pauly

      Like

    1. Hallo Dave!

      Thank you for your comment! I completely understand how you could enjoy the film and appreciate your letting us know!

      Hoe to see you here often!

      WTF!? Dave (Watch The Film),

      Saint Pauly

      Like

  16. Hey =]

    Great review, had me and my girlfriend chuckling all the way through!

    2 Quick points I’d like to throw into the mix to give an alternative viewpoint to what Mrunal and Nick have said:

    1.) The stone heals Siouxie because at that point in time they are still in outside ‘the gates of hell’/’alternative reality’ tunnel; the stone at that point in time is still genuine and they could’ve left with it if not for the Frenchies pulling the roof down.
    2.) Two reasons it’s possible to run back and replace the stone is because a.) the room Scarlett returns to is the mirror image room AFTER they descend into hell. b.) the run back to the room is her redemption for leaving George in Turkey. We don’t believe that her only sin was leaving her father to die alone but also that she left her goddamn boyfriend in a Turkish prison; hence why it is possible to simply return (minus facepalming a Mummy Returns plaster cast).

    Love this site ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hallo Samm & Jo!

      Thank you so much for your brilliant taste in reviews! Seriously, I’m thrilled you got a kick out the synopsis and appreciate your sharing it here.

      Just as I appreciate your insights! Both of your theories are well thought out and hold more water than the catacombs! I love it when my readers are more intelligent than the film.

      I shall be updating the sight with your notes, and also hoping we see more of you in the future.

      WTF!? Samm & Jo (Watch The Film),

      Saint Pauly

      Like

  17. Hi,

    I just so this film, and given the fact that I’m not the most enlightened person in terms of mythology, chemistry, or religious beliefs/theories (or however you wanna call the reference to Dante’s Inferno and the purgatory and all of that), I started making some research on the internet and I ended up here, reading your review, which proved to be pretty useful and able to solve most of my doubts/questions.
    Nevertheless, there’s still something I don’t have quite clear, and I was hoping you could enlighten me a bit more. When they go looking for Pap and they see the “ostrich chick”, she seems to get a lot of importance. Later, when the group is going down, they see some cult and again, there’s a lot of importance given to the woman, who if I’m not mistaken was the same, which makes me wonder, what does this cult has to do with the narrative of the story? Also, is the lady the one who pushes the camera guy? If she is, how does she and her cult travel around an “undiscovered secret tunnel” without ever been spotted by the explorers? Does this become an implication of another hidden (and easier, maybe?) route? Finally, if it is an undiscovered secret tunnel, how does it have so many sophisticated defends mechanisms? The way I understood the movie was that Flamel used his advanced alchemy knowledge to hid himself and the stone in the catacombs, but if that’s the case, wouldn’t it be really difficult for just a man to set up all those sophisticated traps that only brilliant minds can think of and avoid? Or can it be implied that the cult mentioned before has something to do with all of this?

    Hope my English and my writing are good enough so that you can understand my questions and therefore help me find an answer to this.

    Thanks for an amazing guide/review and for being able to help readers furthermore in the comment section.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hallo BM!

      Thanks for reading and for your comment! I shall try my best to answer your questions, and invite other readers to join in the discussion.

      As for the woman I refer to are different points as “ostrich chick” and “crazy bird”, etc, yes, it’s my understanding she is the woman at the club and leading the cult and killing the cameraman. Common belief holds that she’s there to punish George for getting her pregnant and forcing her to dispose of the child. Concerning the secret passage…it’s a path worth exploring, though there is a shot of her lurking in the tunnels. I’ve captioned that still “pantomime” at 1:07:02.

      What a great point about the traps, BM! I must admit, I hadn’t thought of that. I suppose I’d have to say that Flamel himself constructed them to protect the stone from the curious, and that he’d expect that anyone who possessed sufficient intellect to avoid them, deserved to access the stone.

      Thanks once more for your kind words and good questions! If I haven’t answered them in full, let me know, as well if you have any others. And your English is better than many of my commenters’, so keep up the good work!

      WTF!? BM (Watch The Film),

      Saint Pauly

      Like

  18. Obviously I need to watch the movie again because I think I had some more theories to some of the WTF stuff, but right now I can only think of two, so maybe I’ll come back to this later.

    For the poem on the back of the stone, if I recall, it was written in Aramaic. Flamel could have written the poem in English, rhyming, and just translated it in Aramaic to keep his secret doubly safe. Then again, I’m not sure if Flamel knew English, so maybe it’s still a WTF.

    For Benji’s sin, my theory is similar to several theories listed here, but slightly different, and I haven’t read every single comment, so please excuse me if this theory has been stated before. I don’t think Benji killed anyone or forced anyone to kill their baby or whatever. We know Benji is flirty—that’s my first clue. The ostrich lady is dressed in all white at the club and when she thrust the baby in Benji’s face—that’s my second clue and third clue (the white and the baby). I don’t entirely believe that she was a part of the cult, I think it was just another woman, but I could be wrong. So taking all of my clues into account, I theorize that the woman is a “lady in white,” which can be a spirit of a woman who caught her man cheating on her, so killed her children along with herself. There are many versions of this kind of ghost.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. What if Benjis sin is when he was climbing through the tunnel of bones he was the one who caused the ceiling to cave in. What if the woman of the cult was following them and the ceiling falling killed her and her unborn child.

      Like

  19. Hallo Haley!

    Thank you so much for the time you took to read the synopsis and to comment!

    I loved your first theory! While I agree, I’m not sure a Frenchman from the 1300s spoke enough English to rhyme a translation, it certainly isn’t beyond the realm of possibility. He was a man of letters, after all.

    Your second theory is fascinating! It would make total sense! The figure that thrusts the baby at Benji clearly must be a ghost, so it makes sense the baby would be as well. I shall be including this in the text of the synopsis because I believe you might be on to something here!

    Thanks again, dear reader!

    WTF!? Haley (Watch The Film),

    Saint Pauly

    Like

    1. It’s me again! I’m glad you liked my theories. I just couldn’t see Benji as a murderer or a rapist—I’m so surprised that people are so ready to assume the absolute worst in people lol—and me noticing a white dress, and the baby (I only noticed the baby the second time I watched the movie after I saw a screenshot of the scene), so adultery and the Lady in White theory just seems to make more sense to me. If Benji was a violent person, we definitely would have seen more violence from him, I think. (Don’t you mean Benji in your third paragraph, not George?)

      Anyway, I just rewatched the movie, and wanted to share some more theories. Now, I have not read Dante’s Inferno—although I did watch the cartoon—so consider these theories as incomplete until I get to read the book (probably not within the next five years, but we’ll see). On the other hand, I do know a little bit about alchemy, and that was the main key in helping me understand the movie. So a smidgen about alchemy first before we get to my theories, because it’s kind of all tied together.

      The title of the movie comes from the works of Hermes Trismegistus, whom is a combination of the Greek god Hermes and Egyptian god Thoth. Both gods pertain to writing, astrology, science, and even guide souls to the beyond, and, at least to the Egyptians, both were treated as the same identity. The Egyptians and Greeks often shared gods, so this is nothing new, and because of the travels between scholars, the middle east also got some tastes in Hermeticism, probably mostly during Alexander the Great’s empire—hence the Rose Key in Iran. In The Emerald Tablet of Hermes, it states, as translated by Isaac Newton, “That which is below is like that which is above, and that which is above is like yet which is below to do ye miracles of one only thing.” There’s another similar quote also by Trismegistus, “As above, so below, as within, so without, as the universe, so the soul. . .”, but I’m not sure which work it is that says this sentence. During the movie, Scarlett says “As above, so below. As I believe the world to be, so it is,” which basically means the same as the other quotes; however, I don’t know the origins of this sentence. It could be purely for the movie.

      There are three ultimate “goals” in alchemy, depending on the region: the elixir of life, turning lead into gold, and the creation of the Philosopher’s Stone. The Philosopher’s Stone is supposed to create a sort of equality and perfection in life, probably completely and perfectly forcing an alignment in the world depending on the seven Hermetic Principles: Mentalism (the All is mind; the Universe is Mental), Correspondence (as above, so below; as below, so above), Vibration (nothing rests; everything moves; everything vibrates), Polarity (everything is dual; everything has poles; everything has its pair of opposites . . .), Gender (everything has it’s masculine and feminine principles; gender manifests on all planes), Rhythm (everything flows out and in, everything has its tides; all things rise and fall; the measure of the swing to the right is the measure of the swing to the left; rhythm compensates), and Cause and Effect (every cause has its effect; every effect has its cause; everything happens according to law; chance is but a name for law not recognized; there are many planes of causation but nothing escapes the law).

      The quotes stated in the second paragraph pertain mostly to Correspondence, Polarity, Rhythm, and Cause and Effect, and basically mean that what happens on a micro-scale happens to the macro-scale, what happens within is reflected without, and a myriad of other examples.

      In Dante’s Inferno, the practice of alchemy is considered one of the most severe of sins because humans imitate God in order to do the impossible, and since they are not God, they are considered frauds, so this took priority and I think that’s why ghosts, such as Scarlet’s father, Pap’s brother, and the Ostrich woman were “released” to the surface in order to entice Scarlet and Pap’s group into Hell. Only the most severe of sins would warrant this, otherwise ghosts would be everywhere luring people into hell everyday. Or maybe it was the devil himself taking on different shapes, since he’s the only one I think who would be able to freely come and go (well, maybe not as freely). The devil, working for God, doesn’t want people to know about the Philosopher’s stone, so uses these disguises to lure in the right people to the right place.

      Why didn’t the devil lure in Scarlet’s father if he was getting close to finding the answers? Maybe he had a nervous break from all the knowledge and did himself in, or maybe the devil had a role in showing him his sin on the surface world, and that was enough for him to hang himself. Maybe Scarlet’s father thought that if he killed himself, it would deter Scarlet from pursuing the answers he was seeking, so was trying to save her somehow. Who knows?

      On Symbol Dictionary (.net), it says “In chemistry, vitriol is iron or copper sulfate salts and their derivative, sulfuric acid. The name comes from the Latin for ‘glassy,’ after the resemblance of iron sulfate to shards of green glass. Vitriol is symbolized alchemically as the ‘green lion,’ a poisonous substance that appears when metal is degraded by acid. Sulfuric acid, or oil of vitriol, was used in the synthesis of the lapis philosophorum- the Philosopher’s Stone. One unique property of sulfuric acid is the dissolution of metals- all except for gold, on which it has no effect.”

      V.I.T.R.I.O.L., as you and the movie stated, basically translates to “Visit the interior of the earth and rectifying (purifying) you will find the hidden stone.” It’s basically a chamber of reflection where someone ponders the nature of death, and it also refers to a process of internal and spiritual purification, but here’s a plot-hole, this motto originated in the 15th century by Basilius Valentinus. Did this person, or someone from the Freemasonry find Flamel after a century and carve that into the wall of Hell? (Wait, was Flamel part of the Freemasonry? The earliest record of the Masons was a poem written in 1390, so . . . maybe?) Another motto is V.I.T.R.I.O.L.U.M which translates to “Visit the interior of the earth, and by rectifying you will find the hidden stone, which is the true medicine.” Are we even sure that was Flamel’s body? It could have been a Freemason. If that was Flamel, where was his wife’s body? She’s still missing!

      Obviously this movie gives out just enough information to get the story across, but to fully appreciate the film, research is very much necessary. I really appreciate the room for open interpretation and theorizing though.

      Moving on, here’s the “rings” that I mapped out which also describe bits of the movie. This will help pinpoint at which point my theories reside in:

      “Surface”— crawl over bones, cave-in, go through door anyway.
      1. Hell Side A—PAP tag, piano, phone, La Taupe, boarded up vertical well tunnel.
      2. Water canal, fucked up sound (dulled), ringing, roars, children whines, kid with striped shirt. Door. Secret tunnel with vulture and scarab. “Tonamaic” hinge?
      3. 700 year old preserved Mason corpse and tomb. VITRIOL. Underwater.
      4. Treasure room with eternal fire and pottery. Philosopher’s stone at the mouth of Nut. Trap. Cave-in. Heals Siouxee’s broken arm by rubbing the stone so grains of it falls into the wound. La Taupe missing. Porta Alchemica. “The Great Seal of Solomon.” Door on the floor.
      5. Hell Side B—”Abandon all hope ye who enter here.” Treasure room Nut reversed (4). Underwater.
      6. 700 year old decomposed body. La Taupe. Kills Siouxee. Siouxee stays dead. Tunnel. groaning sound. (3)
      7. Noose. Watery pathway mirrored of 2.
      8. Vertical well tunnel down. Baby cries, woman makes sound, whispers. LiW thrusts baby in Benji’s face, startling him. Benji dies.
      9. Watery canal under bones, different from 2. George sees Danny, his brother. Different child from 2 (Zed’s son?). Yells and screams. Burning car. “It wasn’t my fault.” Papillon dies. More groaning noise, from 6. Death, more cries from dead people. Twisty corridors unlike the previous levels. Throne. Wall monsters.

      So levels 1 to 8 resemble each other, and the Surface is the opposite of the ninth ring of Hell, the deepest part.

      1. I think La Taupe left that tag there for Pap to find so Pap would know to look for him. Why not his own name? Dunno.

      2. Benji falling in this well, and then dying in the well between 8 and 9 is just foreshadowing to me. Nothing more.

      The kid in the striped shirt though, I think it’s Zed’s kid. During the entire movie Zed’s sin/guilt hadn’t shown up until he had confessed at the end, and if you look at Zed’s face after the kid appeared, he looked freaked out. He did say that he had never seen him, but that could just mean that he hadn’t seen his kid in person. He could have seen photographs of his kid. Or it could be the kid he imagined would look. Then again, it could be George’s brother, but his appearance in level 9 looked different to me. Also, if it was Danny, I think George would have tried looking for him, like he did in the ninth level.

      4. When Scarlett healed Siouxee’s broken arm, she had chipped fragments of the Philosopher’s Stone in the wound. Keep this in mind for now. This is also when La Taupe goes “missing.”

      The Porta Alchemica is a real thing in Italy, and the symbol on top of the door has more latin that basically means “The three wonders: God and man, his mother and virgin, three in one” and “Center in the center of the triangle.” Not too sure about the second one (Google translation).

      5. I think “Abandon all hope ye who enter here” means that if they had stayed where they were, they could have wandered into purgatory. It is only after this point that people actually started dying.

      6. La Taupe reappears, except he’s like some wild animal zombie. I think the La Taupe from Side A was purgatory La Taupe, and the La Taupe from Side B was Siouxee’s sin and guilt manifesting in order to kill her like Benji and Papillon.

      On her way to put the stone back, Scarlet sees herself hanging. She’s thinking of her father, hoping she isn’t going crazy or end up like him.

      7. Watery pathway that is actually a bloody pathway (“condemned to drown in the menstrual river”). I think the rings are mixed up, but OK. The hands try to drown Scarlett the second time around, why? She hasn’t been too lusty or seductive, unless it was part of getting George to come with her despite his protests that made her feel guilty because this was after his neck was bitten and he was dying because of her. She loves him, so had a hand in his almost death, so feels guilty. On her way back to George, the hands retreat after repeating the motto, probably having new conviction of saving George and not panicking as much now that she knew what she had to do.

      Sees her father, apologizes and her sins are rectified, as stated by many others.

      8. I already talked about Benji’s fate. I don’t really have anything else to add.

      9. Papillon’s greed equates to him burning, just like his brother (?), and being buried from his head to his knees. I think this was a punishment in one of the rings, but I’m not sure.

      Now keeping in mind of Scarlet chipping the Philosopher’s Stone in the wound, it didn’t work in Side B, because it wasn’t the stone anymore. Scarlet was the only one who carried the stone from Side A to Side B, and used it and had complete faith in it. She also was the one to put the stone back in Nut’s mouth on Side B, and looked in the mirror. She became the stone once she looked in the mirror. As for why the kiss, maybe chipped Philosopher Stone equates to saliva sharing. Seriously, I think she could have still healed him if she dripped her blood over the wound, but kissing is less painful, and maybe kissing had a more prominent emotional meaning to her. If George had died, Scarlet bringing him back could have been the “miracles of one only thing,” and maybe could have been possible only in the ninth circle.

      That’s all I got. As you can probably tell, I really loved the movie. If I can ever get my hands on the DVD, maybe the extras will reveal more information. Sorry for the long post, and sorry if it was confusing.

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      1. Haley! Wow!

        What a comment! I seriously suspect you know more about what was going on here than the director himself. Literally!

        What a brilliant look at the film you’ve given us here. I’m humbled and flattered you’ve graced this site with your musings. There is so much information here, I feel that you could write a complete paper about this film!

        A couple of quick comments… Yes, I mistyped ‘George’ when I meant ‘Benji’. The mistake has been corrected and I appreciate your pointing it out to me!

        You mention Pap’s legs being buried… In the text, I do quote Dante’s text which the director drew from for the image [at 1:11:11]:

        Brilliant image of Papillon’s legs sticking out of the sand after the car is crumpled up into another dimension. #FootGarden

        [Because Papillon refuses to acknowledge / atone for his part in the lad’s death, he is put to death exactly as is described in Dante’s Eighth Circle of Hell:]

        Out of the mouth of each one [baptismal font] there protruded
        The feet of a transgressor, and the legs
        Up to the calf, the rest within remained.

        I really liked your theory that the lad in the striped shirt is Zed’s offspring. You made some very good arguments and I’ve ‘promoted’ your thoughts to the body of the synopsis.

        My absolute favourite part of your comments, though, was how you broke down the different levels! Fascinating! Yes, I see how the levels mirror each other in your descriptions and I think you’ve really hit on something. I’ll be copy-pasting that to the end of the article for everyone to read. A seriously brilliant analysis, that.

        Thank you again for the extensive research and knowledge you’ve shared with us here! To thank and reward your for your efforts, I’d love to buy you a copy of the DVD. I’ll be sending you an email with this offer, and it would please me to no end to be able to do this–it’s the least I can do!

        WTF!? Haley, (Watch The Film),

        Saint Pauly

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      2. Just thought I’d add on to my theories here (several months later).

        Because the stone was embedded into Nut’s mouth in the wall, I think that’s why Scarlett had to kiss George to revive him, rather than dripping her blood onto the wound like I had said earlier.

        That’s all for now.

        Like

      3. Thought I’d leave a correction to my theory about the Rose Key bull statue in Iran.
        Turns out Hermes Trismegistus and Hermeticism was always (or almost always) a part of Islam. In fact, Hermes Trismegistus is in the Qur’an under the name Idris, a prophet. So the Rose Key in Iran was way, way before even Alexander the Great’s time. I’ve also seen snippets that Hermes Trismegistus is also connected with Osiris (or is it Horus—both?), and also a connection with the Book of Enoch, which is the story where the angel—not Lucifer—fell from heaven and became the lord of hell to punish sinners. Definitely need to look into this more when I have more time.

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    1. Wow Haley great review-I too loved the film and felt it was surprisingly well thought through in occult terms and I agree being into alchemy would be enough to get you sent to hell in. Christian cosmology-you are, after all, playing at being God which is the ultimate sin! So they would all deserve to die. Not sure why they got out in the end though unless they’d accepted the sin of being occultists.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Hmmm . . . well, it is the devil’s job to tempt humans, not necessarily just to punish them, but if humans repent their sins, then their slate gets cleaned. I suppose this was all a test, and as long as they don’t go sticking their noses back into searching for the impossible, their slate stays clean. It is surprising that there were survivors at all, because what now? Will they tell people about this, or will it be one of those situations where they know what happened but won’t ever talk about it again? What would the devil (and God) do if people found out about the truth? What if it got out to the mass media?

        It’s times like this when I really appreciate the freedom of fan fiction lol.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. I think having survived the experience they would make a good living as lecturers on the occult or something suchlike-maybe a sequel in the pipeline? Problem is most sequels are shit so probably best to leave it. Have you seen the film the Ninth Gate? Also good for occult speculation

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  20. Hello guys,
    so this is the most complete review ive found on internet about this movie.
    Id like to know what do you think about the hooded figure in the last scenes? I mean some say it was the devil (since he sits in the chair/throne) but after that you can see more than one hooded figure so what do you think? That was the most scary part of the movie since you dont get to see what those figures could do

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hallo Santiago!

      I haven’t seen the film in a while now. I have vague recollections of what you’re talking about but, unfortunately, they’re not specific enough to answer your question. I’ll take a look at the film and get back with you. In the meantime, perhaps one of my other readers will step in.

      Thank you for the visit and the comment!

      WTF!? Santiago (Watch The Film),

      Saint Pauly

      Like

  21. I just watched the film and googled to find out what Benji’s sin was. I completely missed the baby in the woman’s arms and am really tempted to re-watch the film for any more clues. I personally loved it, I have a huge soft spot for everything the film was about – mythology, found footage, the works. I gave it 5 stars on netflix. I have my own tiny detail to add to your lovely conversation. Pap’s hand is burnt, and the guy in the car drags him into the flames with him. I wonder if on the night it happened the guy grabbed Pap’s hand and he pulled away and left him to burn in order to save himself.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hallo!

      Agreed, it is a lovely film. The longer this conversation goes on, the more I like the movie, in fact. It does have a nice mix of interesting aspects, though I have the sensation the film was very structured on paper, though less so when it came to assembling the pieces on film. Regardless, it is a lot of fun and I’m happy so many have seen fit to explore it in more detail here.

      Which brings me to your observation! I don’t recall the burnt hand, but I’ll take you at your word and so, yes, there must be some link between Pap’s burnt and the sin he has to atone for. Good catch!

      Thank you for sharing your point of view here!

      WTF!? (Watch The Film)

      Saint Pauley

      Like

  22. I feel like the key to making this movie a “horror” movie is the mental side notes. Everyone’s fears are different just like their regrets are. If hell is repeation and you are stuck going through the same twist and turns with the same regrets that have haunted you all your life, well loves, that would be your hell. Like it says in the movie, we have the power to control ourselves and our environment. Not to mention the illusions and hallucination that the dark and quiet can cause a human to play on themselves. Like Benji during his freaking out episode.

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    1. Hallo Freya!

      Thank you for your comment! I totally agree with you that much of this film was based on the psychological aspects of the characters, and that their fears as well as their ability (or inability) to deal with their pasts created for them a heaven or a hell. We are, indeed, the masters of our own destiny!

      WTF!? Freya (Watch The Film),

      Saint Pauly

      Like

    1. Hallo Vanessa!

      Thank you so much for your visit and kind words! I also appreciate your leaving another link that can help my readers and me get to the bottom of the enigma that is As Above, So Below. Your participation is a motivation!

      Please do come by again!

      WTF!? Vanessa (Watch The Film),

      Saint Pauly

      Like

  23. i absolutely LOVE this movie, but this was a fun read. A movie doesn’t have to be perfect to be great (subjective, of course). All the little theories were interesting too; I’ve seen the film a bunch and didn’t even realise that the whole point of it was to atone for their sins, nor did I get that it was loosely scripted around Dante’s inferno. #TheMoreYouKnow

    Like

    1. Hallo Scout!

      Thank you so much for the comment and especially for not trolling me because I’m a snarky bastard who makes far too many bad jokes. The more I read lovely comments such as your own, the more I think I need to give the film another go.

      I’m so glad you found things of interest here and do hope you’ll give us the pleasure of your company again some time soon.

      WTF!? Scout (Watch The Film),

      Saint Pauly

      Like

  24. Hello guys.
    Loved the review and the comment section has pretty much cleared up almost all the questions I had after watching the film not to mention all the fantastic theories. I do want to ask about the tunnel that Pap did not want to go into. When they took the long route through the bones, how did they end up back at the entrance of the same tunnel? Surely at this point in the film there was no ‘parallel dimension’ and while they entered the bones to the left of the tunnel, once they saw the tunnel again the bones looked like they were on the right (forgive me if I am mistaken on that). I mean if they had gone in a circle like Scarlett suggested then surely they could have just gone back the way they came (towards where the cult was chanting) as whatever walls had collapsed were behind where they had came from through the bones. Did the cult they had encountered seconds earlier have anything to do with it? Did the wall collapsing have anything to do with it? Its all just a bit confusing and when you add in the fact that Pap said ‘we would know if there was a secret passage’ (in the nightclub) then he must have logically known that the treasure was in the part of the catacombs he feared. Sorry if my questions seem stupid but any insight from anyone would be amazing. Thanks!

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    1. Hallo Omar!

      I loved this question, especially as the answer is: I have no idea! It would seem as though you’ve struck upon a bit of minutiae that could have great meaning as far as the story goes. Off the cuff, I would say that this was the moment they entered the parallel dimension and that the cult was there to “greet” them, though when I analyse this a little more deeply, I find myself agreeing with you that it’s simply too early in the film for them to be passing into the other dimension. Especially as I have a feeling this happens when they penetrate the chamber with the Philosopher’s Stone.

      How about it, readers? Is there anyone out there who could shed a bit of light on this?

      WTF!? Omar (Watch The Film),

      Saint Pauly

      Like

      1. Thank you for that input. I think what you said is the only thing that could make sense. But then it gets me thinking; Pap had gone through the bones before right? And didnt end up where the group ended up in the film so we wonder what triggered it this time … fascinating stuff to say the least!

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  25. I hadn’t thought about this film since the day I saw it in theater. With that, Benji’s death has, well for lack of better terms, haunted me. Since that day I have been curious to why he perished. Everyone else was able to be explained prior to this post (except for souxie*) , but I absolutely love what everyone shared and shed light on a lot of questions I didn’t know I had. Personally, I would like to know more about the cult and ostrich lady. Along with, why did Scarlett have supernatural experiences in Iran.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hallo Shane!

      Thank you ever so for the comment and I’m terribly sorry about the delay in getting back to you. Truth be told, I’ve been spending more time in the actual cinema than on this blog of late.

      I’m very curious regarding the ostrich lady and her cult, as well. Personally, I tend to take her at face value, meaning she’s a woman who has a cult that worships in the catacombs, though her thrusting the baby at Benji does imply that she’s much more than that. Could it be simply that she had his child and also happened to worship in the same place he was exploring? I must admit, that does sound like a stretch.

      As for her supernatural experiences in Iran, another reader recently commented that the hanging man in the caves was her father. This would go a long way to explaining many a mystery taking place there. Yet I am a simple moderator at this point. Many of my readers have researched this much more deeply than I, and I’m counting on them to leave their 2 cents’ worth as well!

      Thanks once again for the comment, mate!

      WTF!? Shane (Watch The Film),

      Saint Pauly

      Like

  26. The stone works on Sioux (sp?) because they haven’t passed into the “so below” aspect of the movie. The stone stops working once they fall to the other side but they don’t notice when they try it on her again since she’s dead. However, Scarlett doesn’t notice because it can’t waive the dead anyway, and when she tries to use it on George it doesn’t work again. She has to put the stone back in the “so below” chamber, not the “as above” (first chamber) and realizes that what she believes the world to be, so it is means that she is the stone.

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  27. Hey everyone,

    Just watched the movie, and I actually really liked it. I thought it was good in a critical sense and that there was quite a bit of depth to it, and the more I read here, the more I believed that. After I’m done here, I’m going to go read more about Dante’s Inferno, and perhaps the rest of the Divine Comedy as well to try and find more references and parallels. It might shed more light or spawn more ideas and theories.
    I thoroughly enjoyed your review, the jokes made me literally laugh out loud. It also really helped how you made a timeline of everything, I was unclear on a lot of things and missed some key points of the movie.
    There are a few things I’m still turning over in my head. Specifically about Souxie and Benji.
    Since he is the one who killed her, I definitely believe that La Taupe was Souxie’s sin, though I’m not sure how exactly, and unless I’ve missed something, I don’t think we’ll every find out for sure. Calling her the banshee was interesting and someone else pointed out that they are harbingers of death. I really liked the above theory about Souxie being the one who left Pap’s name on the wall and that she somehow affected La Taupe’s choice to enter the tunnel that he never came out of. I’m not sure why she would leave Pap’s name though instead of her own tag. Both points on how her arm wasn’t healed were the good, one pointed out scarlette’s hand placement and the other about how she used the Stone on Souxie before the moves into the parallel room where everything’s was flipped. Something else that struck me was that she was killed only after she touched La Taupe. I can’t remember what her specialty was when Pap introduced her at the beginning (he knew the tunnels, Zed was the climber, she was something else that I can’t remember) but I wonder if it was significant in some way.
    I did laugh though that she was killed first and THEN Benji was killed. They didn’t want to be too cliché I guess and kill the token black guy first, so they did him second.
    Speaking of Benji (that transition though) his story was interesting too. I wasn’t sure where all the theories of lust came from though other than that he kept pointing the camera at the creepy ostrich girl. Was there something else I missed? Anyway. Ostrich girl wearing white must have meant something, typically it represent purity, chastity, the history of white wedding dresses and so on. So if we’re assuming that Benji is lustful (I’ll go along with that and add me other idea as well in a moment), and this is just another possibility, perhaps she was “pure” (a Virgin saving herself for marriage) and he convinced her to bail on her values? Perhaps then she got pregnant, which is also evidence of her “impure” behaviour since you can’t make a baby without the sex part. 😛 (or since we’re all biblical here maybe there’s some sort of Virgin Mary reference here, I don’t know). But either way, the baby she is holding out to Benji looked dead to me. But what if she isn’t dead? All of the sins involved someone dying, Scarlette’s father, George’s brother, La Taupe (I assume he died in the tunnel and is merely Souxie’s hell/sin representation), and the kid in the burning car, EXCEPT for Zed’s sin (not considering Benji’s sin). So perhaps the woman isn’t dead, but she certainly does look it with the pale skin and sunken eyes, so maybe she is. Maybe he made her terminate the pregnancy, which to a devout Christian might be “murder” (not my personal belief). One thing that does make me think she died, though, was the brilliant observation (I think it was Haley) above about the literal blood on his hands. I’m kicking myself for not catching that one. Perhaps Benji is lustful as list is more impulsive than lasting, and Benji struck me as impulsive in his panic attack in the first tunnel with the bones. He panics and instead of trying to calm down and think rationally, he starts writhing around making it worse and (it seemed) causing the cave in. He was the only one who panicked, which is impressive in my opinion, as my palms were sweating just watching them all squeeze through those small spaces.
    Anyway, the cult that the ostrich girl was leading. Still assuming Benji’s sin had something to do with lust, I think there had to be some sort of significance to the singing cult scene. All the women were topless but wearing long skirts. It could signify both temptation (’cause boobies) and modesty (long skirts too, not pants, which is a little more traditional). But why were they singing? Again with the biblical references, they were singing choral music, which seemed reminiscent of early baroque music one might compose for a church choir, as it was typically back then the church that hosted the choir. Of course those were typically men only, the opposite of this cult-choir-cross. One possible idea, and this is not biblical at all and actually goes the opposite way of the modesty bit, is perhaps the singing was supposed to be an allusion to sirens, who sent men into a lustful frenzy with their song. Just a shot in the dark there, maybe there are other versions or similar entities in other mythology outside of Greek. Or maybe Benji is the siren who tempted the ostrich girl in the first place.
    Only a couple more things, and I’ll try to be quick lol.
    The names. I always look into things like this. Scarlette could have been a reference to the stone as the stone was itself red. Red is also the colour of blood, which yes, may symbolize death and does appear to do so in Benji’s case, but blood is also life giving, and Scarlette ended up being the manifestation of the philosophers stone and was able to give life (or at least fix) George.
    Papillon (or papillion?). Someone mentioned papillon (I’m gonna go with this one since that’s what I thought it was though I could be wrong) dogs, but papillon is actually the French word for butterfly. Papillon dogs are called that because of their ears which stick out and have a shape similar to butterfly wings. So why the name Papillon? I’m still mulling over that one. Typically I would say a butterfly symbolizes transformation, but Pap didn’t really undergo any transformation. The only potential change he could have his his purification, but he fails to atone for his sin and dies. The other thing I thought of isn’t but about butterflies so much as moths. Pap died in a fire, and the phrase “moth to a flame” comes to mind, though Pap didn’t really go willingly. The closest thing would be when he rounds the corner of that tunnel to see what is giving off that light.
    Finally, this one is simple, Z or “Zed” as we Canadians say (do Brits typically say Zed as well?) is the last letter in the alphabet, and he was the last to reveal his sin. His sin was also the only one that did not involve a death (assuming the ostrich girl is dead). It felt like it was lacking something, there was nothing he saw, aside from the boy who might not have even been his son, I’d have to go back and watch again to see.
    Last thing, someone mentioned a quote which was the “as above, so below, as within, so without” something like that. When they’re first looking at the image on the wall in the first treasure room, I could have sworn that I heard Scarlette say that, around the same time she said something like “as on earth, so it is in heaven”.
    I also laughed when she just face-palmed the weird face-of-the-dead-decorating-the-walls monster thing and had to wonder why if she could do it twice while running to and from the stone, why didn’t she just do that in the first place?
    Anyway, overall, great movie in my opinion, and great review. Enjoyed both very much!

    Like

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