And here’s one that’s an example of a genre film I’m pretty stoked about. Apologies if you’ve already seen this trailer on commercials or in a movie theatre, but I think the Dowdle brothers are immensely talented and just haven’t had their breakout hit yet. Previously they did The Poughkeepsie Tapes, Quarantine, and Devil. The Poughkeepsie Tapes was a first feature that had some spotty acting, but made such good use of the found footage genre that audiences were confused about parts of it being real. This resulted in it being pulled from distribution in 2007 after playing Tribeca, and it wasn’t until this year that it finally was available to audiences via VoD. Quarantine was an American adaptation of the Spanish film [Rec], and it was remarkably faithful to the original. As much as I like the original, I think the two are almost interchangeable. Devil got the simultaneous marketing buoy and stigma of being produced by M. Night Shyamalan. While his name is a well-recognized one that may have helped sell some tickets, at this point in M. Night’s career it may have also kept a good portion of the audience away, particularly if they thought he directed it. While Devil has its problems, it’s also a well-made little supernatural genre thriller.
With As Above, So Below, they seem to be playing with Christian mythology not unlike some of the [Rec] films, and the cave setting calls to mind elements of The Descent. I know the Dowdles are open to the possibilities of sequels with this one, but I still don’t think this will be their big breakout hit. The found footage and shaky cam genre seem to have run much of their course, and there aren’t any big names here. But they did shoot in actual caves, not on sets, and one actor was reportedly so uncomfortable that there’s little acting in his performance. If you like B-movies, this one may be the cure for the late August heat.