The Paris Catacombs have captured the intrigue of so many people since being constructed during the French Revolution. It took twelve years to empty out the overcrowded cemeteries and haul them below ground and build the “Underworld of Paris”.
Parts of these catacombs are open to the public for a guided tour (something I really want to do.) But there are tunnels that are off limits where no one has been in decades (besides some ‘illegal’ tour guides who take brave adventurers into these off limit areas under the fall of night.)
But still, there are tunnels that not even these tour guides go down. The catacombs run for miles under Paris and I don’t think it will ever be fully explored. Though, there is a film that was shot in the depths of the catacombs… and it was amazing!
The Movie In Question
As Above/So Below is a found footage film, so expect lots of shaky cam and awkward camera angles. But it works so well with this movie, coupled with the fact that they did film a lot of the movie in the catacombs with special permission.
It made the film seem more believable. The film follows an archaeologist, her team and the tour guides who venture deep into the catacombs to find a relic called The Philosopher’s Stone.
But this is a horror, after all. So, what starts off as a fun little crawl in the narrow tunnels below Paris soon turns into a (and, this is the kicker) a loose retelling of The Divine Comedy, specifically the Inferno part. The poem was written by Dante Alighieri which was about his journey through hell.
The movie starts off as a slow burn but once it starts pulling out all of the crazy stuff you’re in for one hell of a ride (excuse the pun). I was uneasy after watching it, which I love. It really captured the claustrophobic atmosphere and the sheer horror of the concept of hell. The ending felt a little rushed though and I can’t help but wonder if being adapted into a TV series would have given the movie more time to expand on its ideas.
Either way, it’s on Netflix if you’re interested.