Edwin Hodge

Universal Pictures

Scarlett Marlowe (Perdita Weeks) is an archaeologist on a dual-purposed mission. She’s searching for the long-fabled Philosopher’s Stone, an archaic relic capable of transmuting metals into gold and granting immortality, but she’s also hoping to prove her father’s theories right in order to clear his name tarnished by a descent into supposed madness that ended in suicide. A breakthrough discovery in Iran leads her to Paris where she comes to believe the stone is buried somewhere in or beneath the city’s legendary catacombs. She’s joined by a documentary filmmaker, a wandering clock mechanic who reads Aramaic and a trio of local urban spelunkers, and together they descend into the world’s largest cemetery. They face the expected difficulties at first including tight spaces, rats and a creepy coven of topless hippies, but as they move deeper into the earth the obstacles become far more dangerous and mysterious. Shadowy figures and the caverns’ shifting geography are just precursors to the true nightmare that haunts each of them. As Above/So Below is yet another in a seemingly never-ending line of found footage-like horror films, but while it falls victim to many of the format’s numerous pitfalls it stands slightly apart from the crowd thanks to its performances and setting. Unfortunately, neither of those pluses can help the film’s utter lack of scares.

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purge questions

Those who have seen the trailer for The Purge, or the film itself, know this is not your normal brand of horror film. The Purge is certainly ful of jump scares and villains out for blood, but it takes that standard idea of horror one step further by infusing the narrative with bigger questions about society and human nature. This is not your typical story of people being pursued and not knowing why. The characters in The Purge know exactly what is out there, but the fear here is they thought they were armed against it, and what is even more unsettling is the realization that the true terror may exist outside of this single night. Life in The Purge is an almost Pleasantville-like world where crime is down, employment is up, and the general population seems content and happy – and there is a very distinct reason for this. For one night, every year, the entire population is allowed to “purge” themselves and give in to any evil or violent tendencies they may have been suppressing in favor of such a well mannered society. But The Purge gives audiences more than just a series of scares, it presents a variety of different questions, both directly and indirectly, throughout the film, but it does not offer many answers. It is not unusual for a horror film to leave audiences with an open ending, but the questions The Purge leaves open are ripe for discussion long after the credits roll. The following contains spoilers for […]

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published: 11.26.2014
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published: 11.26.2014
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published: 11.21.2014
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published: 11.21.2014
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