As Above So Below

Featured In Issue 193, January 2015

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Universal Studios Home Entertainment
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John Erick Dowdle
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In As Above So Below, archeological adventurer Scarlett (Weeks) and language expert George (Feldman) lead a team of intrepid explorers on a search from the fabled Philosopher's Stone in the eerie labyrinths beneath the streets of Paris. Lost in the twisted and claustrophobic maximum housing, the mortal remains of more than six-million souls, they discover the lost scripts hidden in the catacombs for generations, plunging them into hell, for a nightmarish ordeal with a shocking conclusion.

Special features include an inside featurette (HD 03:39) and an UltraViolet digital copy.

The 1.85:1 1080p AVC picture is a shaky hand-held, low-budget digital camera production, but the imagery is remarkably natural in appearance, with the feel of a documentary. The cameraman or woman who captures the imagery is never seen. The imagery shakes virtually continuously, making numerous segments difficult to follow. Fleshtones are decently captured. Object hues and clothing also appear natural. Contrast is decent, as well as shadow delineation. Viewing this is challenging and uncomfortable due to the constant visual motion effect.

The DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1-channel soundtrack, while dialogue focused, delivers quite an impressive holosonic® dynamic soundfield experience with all eight channels fully engaged, with a powerful SPL presence. When engaged fully, the surrounds are aggressively directionalized. The music score is eerie and includes chanting and unsettling sounds. Atmospherics are also unsettling at times, with special effects effectively replicating rock cave-ins deep within the catacombs. Deep sub-25 Hz bass is delivered by the .1 LFE and heightens the claustrophobic eeriness. Throughout, dialogue is intelligible, with decent spatial integration with the narrow passage ways of the catacombs. With unexpected bolts of full-on SPL, powerful LFE, and the overall claustrophobic sonics, this is an intense, unnerving soundtrack.