What Is 'As Above So Below' About? Exploring the Mystery Behind the Film

What Is ‘As Above So Below’ About? Exploring the Mystery Behind the Film

What Is ‘As Above So Below’ About? Exploring the Mystery Behind the Film

‘As Above So Below’ is a psychological horror film released in 2014. Directed by John Erick Dowdle, the movie revolves around a team of explorers who venture into the catacombs beneath Paris in search of a hidden treasure. As they descend further into the darkness, they soon realize they are not alone, encountering supernatural occurrences and facing their deepest fears. But what is the deeper meaning behind this film?

The Concept of ‘As Above So Below’

The title of the movie, ‘As Above So Below,’ is derived from the famous Hermetic principle, which states, “As above, so below; as within, so without.” This principle suggests that the microcosm reflects the macrocosm and that the inner realm mirrors the outer world. In the context of the film, this concept is explored through the descent into the catacombs, representing the journey into one’s own subconscious and the exploration of the darkest corners of the human mind.

Exploring the Human Psyche

‘As Above So Below’ delves into the depths of the human psyche, tapping into universal fears and anxieties. The characters in the film are forced to confront their own traumas and confront their inner demons as they navigate through the treacherous underworld. This exploration of the human psyche serves as a metaphor for the quest for self-discovery and the process of confronting one’s own fears and insecurities.

Symbolism and Allegory

The film is rich in symbolism and allegory, weaving together various elements to convey deeper meaning. The catacombs can be seen as a symbolic representation of the collective unconscious, containing ancient knowledge and buried truths. Each location and encounter in the catacombs holds symbolic significance, representing different aspects of the characters’ subconscious minds.

Furthermore, the use of mirrors throughout the film symbolizes reflection and self-reflection. The characters are forced to confront their own reflections, both literally and metaphorically, as they face their fears and confront the darkest parts of themselves. This symbolism reinforces the idea of the inner world mirroring the outer world.

The Quest for Immortality

An underlying theme in ‘As Above So Below’ is the pursuit of immortality. The characters seek the Philosopher’s Stone, an ancient artifact said to grant eternal life. This quest for immortality can be seen as a metaphor for the human desire to transcend mortality and achieve a sense of permanence.

However, the film suggests that true immortality lies in embracing one’s own mortality and coming to terms with the impermanence of life. As the characters face their fears and confront their own mortality, they discover a deeper understanding of themselves and the world around them.


‘As Above So Below’ is a film that goes beyond the surface to explore the depths of the human psyche and the mysteries of the subconscious mind. Through its exploration of the catacombs and the characters’ descent into darkness, the film delves into universal fears and anxieties, weaving together symbolism and allegory to convey deeper meaning. Ultimately, it challenges the viewer to confront their own fears, embrace their mortality, and embark on a journey of self-discovery and self-acceptance.


1. What is the meaning of the phrase “As Above So Below”?

The phrase “As Above So Below” is derived from the ancient Hermetic principle, which suggests that what happens in the spiritual or higher realms is a reflection of what happens in the physical or lower realms. It implies that there is a deep interconnectedness between the macrocosm (the universe) and the microcosm (the individual).

2. What is the film “As Above So Below” about?

“As Above So Below” is a found footage psychological horror film that explores the mysterious world of the catacombs beneath Paris. It follows a group of explorers who venture into the dark tunnels in search of a historical relic, but soon find themselves facing their own personal demons and supernatural forces.

3. Does the film incorporate elements of mythology and mysticism?

Yes, “As Above So Below” draws heavily from various mythological and mystical traditions. It incorporates symbols, references, and themes from Hermeticism, alchemy, Dante’s Inferno, and Egyptian mythology, among others. These elements add depth and complexity to the storyline and contribute to the overall sense of mystery.

4. Are there any historical inspirations for the film?

The film takes inspiration from real-life catacombs in Paris, such as the Catacombs of Paris and the lesser-known catacombs beneath the city. These underground networks of tunnels and chambers hold a rich historical and cultural significance, which adds an authentic and eerie atmosphere to the film.

5. Is “As Above So Below” based on a true story?

No, the events portrayed in the film are entirely fictional. However, the filmmakers took inspiration from real-life catacombs and urban legends surrounding them to create a plausible and immersive narrative.

6. What is the significance of the found footage style used in the film?

The found footage style adds a sense of rawness and immediacy to the film, making the audience feel like they are experiencing the events alongside the characters. It also enhances the suspense and realism, heightening the overall sense of tension and fear.

7. Does the film explore psychological and existential themes?

Yes, “As Above So Below” delves into psychological and existential themes. The characters are forced to confront their deepest fears, regrets, and unresolved traumas as they navigate through the eerie catacombs. The film explores themes of redemption, guilt, and the search for meaning in a haunting and introspective way.

8. Is “As Above So Below” a religious or spiritual film?

“While the film incorporates religious and spiritual elements, it is primarily a horror film that uses these themes to create an atmosphere of mystery and terror. It does not promote or endorse any specific religious or spiritual beliefs.

9. How does the film create a sense of claustrophobia and dread?

The film effectively utilizes its underground setting, tight spaces, and dark, labyrinthine tunnels to generate a feeling of claustrophobia and confinement. The use of tight camera angles and unsettling sound design further intensify the sense of dread, keeping the audience on edge throughout the film.

10. What is the overall message or takeaway from “As Above So Below”?

The film’s overall message can be interpreted in different ways, but it highlights the importance of confronting and acknowledging one’s past, fears, and inner demons. It suggests that personal growth and transformation often require delving deep into the unknown and facing the darkest aspects of oneself.