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Headscratchers / As Above, So Below

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  • The conceit of most of the first half of the film is that someone is following Scarlett with a camera to make a documentary of sorts. The question is: Where did Scarlett get this guy? Not only does he constantly neglect to focus the camera on where she tells it to look (such as when she says to look at the inscriptions she's translating—the camera closes in on that for half a second, then jerks away), but he apparently feels justified in getting close to her talking to her former colleague and lover, in what is clearly supposed to be a private heart-to-heart. While Stylistic Suck is a typical element of Found Footage films, you'd think a documentary filmmaker (as opposed to teen amateurs) would know better.
    • As I understand, catacombs had their means to attract people who could be considered impure or at least have emotional baggage they’d need to sort out. Even before entering the restricted part of the cave our characters knew they should seek guidance from Papillion because the ghost, who later appeared in a burning car, told them to. This is why some random good filmmaker wouldn’t do, it had to be a conflicted person like Benji. Even though we never really get to know him and his alleged sins but we are shown that at least one person in the group was there because he was lured by the demons.]] So that could have happened with Benji, too. In the end, our three survivors are revealed to have committed far lesser crimes as opposed to Papillion who was supposedly responsible for his friend being burnt alive and Souxie who I guess betrayed La Taupe by not ever attempting to find him.

  • If the first philosopher stone they found was fake, then why did it have healing capabilities?
    • It didn't. Scarlett had placed her hand over the wound the first time, believing she (through the stone, technically) had the power to heal. So it worked. The reason why it didn't work after that was because she just used the bits of stone, she didn't herself touch it. And since the power comes from within each person, not a stone, it didn't do anything. Which is how she's able to heal solely with her hands.

  • About Souxie: why did the Mole kill her? Since the overall premise of the journey was for the characters to overcome their internal demons, the setup for this character was that they had issue with Papillon, not Souxie.
    • Very little about Souxie is actually revealed, so it could be for any number of reasons.
    • It is possible that La Taupe was Souxie's demon.
    • When they initially encounter La Taupe, his first line is "You shouldn't be here, Souxie. None of you should be here." Shortly after, he says "You never even came to look for me." Supernatural things have already started happening by this point, and there are several things to suggest that La Taupe is Dead All Along. The implication is that Souxie feels guilty that none of them tried to find La Taupe.
  • About the ending. Where is the real philosopher's stone? Did Scarlett take all its power, or is she now a living philosopher's stone? And if the philosopher's stone cannot bring the dead back to life, then how was she able to bring George back to life?
    • In classical alchemy, the true Philosopher's Stone is the human soul after having been through a process of breaking down and removing spiritual impurities. Some ancient alchemists pointed to Christ as a forebear, comparing the alchemical process to his dying, descending into Hell and rising again. As for George, they only found that the incomplete stone couldn't raise the dead, so it's entirely possible that the true stone could, which would be in keeping with the Christ metaphor. Alternately, given that their remaining guide was applying first-aid pressure to his wound, he was probably Not Quite Dead.

  • More about the ending. If they were to go back into the sewer where they came out, would they go back into the realm?
    • Incredibly unlikely. The part of the catacombs they venture through is clearly an Eldritch Location, if not Hell itself. The movie makes it clear that these Alien Geometries don't obey the laws of reality; it's safe to assume that once they closed the manhole, its portal to the otherworld would vanish, and opening it again would just put them in the sewers.
      • Unless the place where they eventually end up is not the real Paris, but just another zone of hell.

  • The premise of found footage movies is that the video that is taken somehow manages to be brought back for others to see, either by survivors managing to bring it back, or by another party recovering it at a later date (the latter being more typical - thusly "found footage"). So... how did the footage from Benji and George's cameras make it back? All three survivors had head-mounted cameras, but none of them stopped to grab the ones that were dropped along the way, and it's really doubtful that any of them would want to go back to retrieve them.
    • It isn't necessarily literal Found Footage. Nothing explicitly states that the footage we're watching was recovered. We're just seeing the events through the perspective of cameras in the moment. Sort of like how the film Searching is all from the perspective of the main character's computer screen, even though it's never implied that he's recording it. We're just seeing the content as it happens.
    • Actually, while it's really easy to miss because that's about the point in the film where things start getting pretty chaotic, Zed does take up Benji's camera after he dies. It does get dropped a second time, but Scarlet grabs it on her way back to Zed and Georgie near the end (it's a bit hard to say for sure, but it seems like she uses it to whack a demon upside the head!). Georgie keeps his camera the whole time.