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Published December 12th 2014
Theatrical release poster
As far as mystery thrillers go, this film is a great contender. Based in Paris, France, a team of explorers link up to uncover the dark secret that lies beneath the city streets; among the dead and long forgotten.
From the exposition of the film it is clear to discern the intent of the director. An element of fear and constant tension is palpable as main character Scarlett (Perdita Weeks) secretly enters a location within Iran to seek out a key piece of information that claims would unlock the very gates of hell.
It is clear that Scarlett is fearless in her attempt of unearthing the truth, but her quest casts many under the ominous branch of death itself.
With the film's tagline 'The only way out is down', director John Dowdle wastes no time in stamping this film with the horror conventions that make you narrow your eyes in anticipation and grip your seat or pillow in fear.
The plot centres around Scarlett fulfilling her father's dream of finding the fabled Philosopher's stone; a stone which can grant immortality, a stone of great legend. And so the expedition begins - a spiral into the depths of the unknown, that leaves more dead than treasure uncovered.
Once the team of explorers enter the belly of the beast through a pile of human bones, they find a lost friend, who has been said to have died some time back; it is clear from here that this film balances the supernatural with the historical; an interesting mix in relation to modern day thrillers that tend to go for the paranormal aspect.
A breath of pristine air, albeit a harsh devilish breath but all the same in the midst of recycled generic films, typecasted phrases, actors and landscapes, conventional themes and stereotypical plots.