My Top 20 Scares of 2020: #19

Yesterday we began a countdown to the New Year by way of terror.

Today…THE TERROR CONTINUES! (music cue: dun, dun, dun!)

I gave a pretty thorough explanation of how I chose my top 20 over here in the first post of the series, but if you don’t like clicking hyperlinks (is that a thing?) here’s a quick recap: I created a spreadsheet of every movie I watched this year and rated them all on a 20-point scale, divided into 4 sub-categories worth 5 points each. The subcategories were 1) how scary was it, 2) how memorable was it, 3) was it a Quality Film, 4) Representation of Women. Each movie was also eligible for up to 3 bonus points for original/fun gross-outs, jump scares, and deaths.

As I mentioned, these are my 20 favorite movies that I personally watched in 2020.

Without further ado! My 19th favorite movie of 2020 is…

19. AS ABOVE, SO BELOW (2014)

I will freely admit that one of the main reasons this movie made the list at all is that I’m slightly in love with Jonah from SUPERSTORE (aka Ben Feldman aka the character who in this movie is technically named George). Image (c) AS ABOVE, SO BELOW 2014.

I’m into found footage as you may already know, and this movie makes a decent attempt at convincing the audience that they are “making a documentary.” Written and directed by John Erick Dowdle and co-written by Drew Dowdle, AS ABOVE, SO BELOW stands apart from other spelunking scares for the following two reasons: 1) they spend a surprisingly long time above ground talking about history and mythology, which I found fun; 2) Ben Feldman plays love interest George and I just like watching him be hot and smart at the same time. I’m 100% not sorry or embarrassed about this line of reasoning. TONS of horror movies draw in fans by leaning hard on an appealing female protagonist. This one actually does that, too, but she’s not my type.

Anyway, casting alone could never launch a movie into the top 20. If it could, I wouldn’t still be complaining about THE HOUSE AT THE END OF THE STREET (2016). AS ABOVE, SO BELOW also has claustrophobic caves, mythology-based monsters and puzzles, and a couple very disturbing deaths. It’s a fun watch that’s probably ideal for the (possibly very small) Venn diagram of people who loved both NATIONAL TREASURE (2004) and THE DESCENT(2005).

How Did It Score
  • How scary was it? 4/5
  • How memorable was it? 3/5
  • Was it a Quality film? 2/5
    • The mythology is fun but not actually that convincing. The “found footage” loses credibility over time.
  • How about those women? 2/5
    • Despite a tough and smart female protagonist, representation overall is not great in this film. Here is how it scores:
      • Bechdel-Wallace Test: Pass, technically.
      • Sexy Lamp Test: Pass.
      • Willis Test: Pass.
      • Ko Test: Fail.
      • Roxane Gay Test: Fail on all but point 1. Scarlett (Perdita Weeks) is a classic final girl and she is Not Like Other Girls. Sigh.
      • Carie-Burns Test: Fail.
  • Bonus: 1. For Jonah. JK there’s this one murder that really stuck with me.
  • Total points: 12/20
You’re welcome. (c) AS ABOVE, SO BELOW 2014.

Are you still into found footage or is it getting tired? Would you trust Ben Feldman to guide you into the bowels of Hell?

Published by Brandy N. Carie

Playwright. Director. Producer. Feminist Takes on Horror Films.

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