Actors Perdita Weeks (left) and Ben Feldman are seen in a scene from
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Bruno Calvo

Actors Perdita Weeks (left) and Ben Feldman are seen in a scene from "As Above, So Below." universal pictures/ap photo

Rhoades Review: ‘As above, so below’ takes horror fans beneath streets of Paris

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As an old spelunker, I used to enjoy a TV program called “Cities of the Underworld,” in which Don Wildman took us exploring the subterranean environments of various civilizations. One, of course, was the catacombs beneath the streets of Paris. A pretty gruesome sight, with its rows of human skulls and scatterings of bones.

It’s not surprising that some enterprising movie producer has decided to make a horror flick based on this eerie underworld and it’s called “As above, so below.”

Les Catacombes de Paris is a series of underground ossuaries located south of the Barrière d’Enfer (“Gate of Hell”). It’s estimated that these catacombs house the remains of some six million people.

Originally limestone mines, these catacombs provided a handy repository for the Parisian dead. Officially known as l’Ossuaire Municipal, the catacombs are now one of 14 City of Paris Museums. They have been open to the public since 1874.

But in “As Above So Below” the moviemakers stretch the truth a tad, pretending that a team of explorers go into abandoned and forgotten tunnels and encounter some restless spirits who scare the bejesus out of them (and us).

A cast of unknowns (Perdita Weeks, Ben Feldman, Edwin Hodge) play these hapless explorers.

The cinematography by Léo Hinstin takes its cue from “The Blair Witch Project,” that shaky hand-held approach that’s supposed to make you think it’s “found footage” and not a slick motion picture production. Yeah, sure.

If you suffer from claustrophobia, this may not be the movie for you. But if you want a few good make-you-jump scares, you can catch it in this theatrical run before it goes to video perdition.

The title comes from an old saying that can be traced back to Mercurius ter Maximus, a quote from one of the seven principles of Hermeticism. This magical tradition suggests that whatever you are looking for “out there” is already inside of you.

Like evil spirits.

The movie’s tagline proclaims, “The only way out is down.” No, there are EXIT signs posted in the theater.