As Above, So Below’s Hellish Twist Ending Explained
9 mins read

As Above, So Below’s Hellish Twist Ending Explained


  • As Above, So Below
    is a horror film that combines elements of alchemy and Dante’s Inferno to create a cleverly confusing plot about redemption and faith.
  • The film is inspired by true events, specifically stories of people getting lost in the Paris catacombs. This adds to the horror element of the movie.
  • While some viewers were dissatisfied with the ending, there is a demand for a sequel. However, a sequel could potentially diminish the impact and mystery of the original’s ending.



Though it was a cleverly confusing horror movie, the As Above, So Below ending explained its twists. As Above, So Below is a straightforward found-footage horror movie, but it requires some background knowledge to properly appreciate it — namely the history of alchemy and the literature of the Italian poet Dante. The plot of As Above, So Below follows alchemy student Scarlett (Perdita Weeks) and her mission to find the philosopher’s stone, an object supposedly discovered by French alchemist Nicolas Flamel in the 14th century that has the power to grant immortality and turn metals into gold and silver.

Scarlett follows her late father’s footsteps, whose attempts to find it drove him to his death. After discovering the stone is in the claustrophobic catacombs under Paris, Scarlett enlists a team to accompany her, and they explore the catacombs. The group’s journey mirrors the plot of Dante’s Inferno where the narrator (Dante) enters Hell and travels through its nine circles to find salvation. Like Dante, As Above, So Below explained the characters must travel through the catacombs — with different stages representing the nine circles — and recognize their own sins to escape, though some of them aren’t capable of this.


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The As Above So Below Ending Is About Redemption

By the end of As Above, So Below, just three of the group remain — Zed, a gravely wounded George, and Scarlett, who thinks she has the philosopher’s stone in her possession. Zed’s sins center around having a son he never sees and George played a role in his brother’s accidental death. Scarlett’s sins in As Above, So Below are twofold — she didn’t respond to her father’s call for help before he died by suicide, and she stole the stone.

At its heart, the
As Above, So Below
ending explained it was a film about redemption and faith.

Scarlett must rectify their sins to escape, so she rushes back through the catacombs to put it back. She realizes there is no physical stone — its powers are in the holder of the stone, dependent on her faith in the stone and in herself. With this knowledge, Scarlett brings George back from the brink of death.

The remaining survivors of As Above, So Below confess their sins and go through a manhole before emerging topside on the streets of Paris. This references something one of the catacombs’ apparitions told them earlier — the only way out is down. It’s how Dante escaped in Inferno — only by going down through the circles of Hell did he emerge back on Earth.

At its heart, the As Above, So Below ending explained it was a film about redemption and faith. It’s not the most straightforward, but with its twist ending, fascinating depiction of Hell, and nods to Dante, it’s a horror film with more to say than most.


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As Above So Below Is Inspired By True Events

The Haunting Catacombs Of Paris Actually Exist

Perdita Weeks in a cave in As Above So Below.

One specific story from the catacombs directly inspired the plot of
As Above, So Below.

One thing that remains interesting when looking at As Above, So Below is that it’s inspired by true events. The Paris catacombs are real, and in addition to the dozens of urban legends of apparitions and supernatural horrors inspiring As Above, So Below, so too does the fact that many people have genuinely been lost in the tunnels. The Paris catacombs were filled with the bones of dead bodies by Louis XVI, so it’s unsurprising that many legends about spirits, ghosts, and demonic presences lurking in their depths exist in abundance.

However, one specific story from the catacombs directly inspired the plot of As Above, So Below. In the early 1990s, a group of explorers led by Francis Freedland set off to explore the catacombs and found a camera in the Paris catacombs. When they watched it, they realized the person was lost down there, and it was a real-life found footage horror movie before the genre existed.

Throughout the years, several people went into the catacombs never to return. This included a girl spelunking in 2005. Even after the movie, people still got lost down there, including two teens in 2017 who authorities luckily found alive in the end. While the As Above, So Below ending explained it was a tale of redemption, its horror is also based on true events.


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Would An As Above, So Below Sequel Impact The Ending?

There Are Pros and Cons To As Above, So Below 2

Scarlett (Perdita Weeks) inspects the wall of a tomb in As Above, So Below

As Above, So Below
feels like a movie with a rich mythos behind it, and a sequel could explore this.

While the As Above, So Below ending explained its plot twists, many viewers felt dissatisfied by the horror film’s finale. The critics’ score is a very low 28 percent on Rotten Tomatoes and the audience score is not much higher at 40 percent, and the ending may be a big factor in this. That being said, there are still many fans of cult found footage movieAs Above, So Below who’ve gone online to vocalize their desire for a sequel. While there’s in theory no reason why As Above, So Below 2 couldn’t happen, the impact this could have on the ending of the first movie is twofold.

On the one hand, an As Above, So Below sequel could add to the ending. Creating another story where people have to go through Dante’s Inferno could be used to explain the fates of the characters of As Above, So Below, and clear up some of the ambiguity around what actually happened in the final few minutes before the credits rolled.

As Above, So Below feels like a movie with a rich mythos behind it, and a sequel could explore this. As Above, So Below didn’t offer many “why’s” and “what’s” to the terrifyingly tense spectacle playing out on-screen, so As Above, So Below 2 would be a good way to rectify this.

However, there’s also the risk — as happens often with horror franchises — that a sequel would severely diminish what makes the divisive ending of As Above, So Below so endearing to some. As Above So Below has become a cult classic, and the fact that the As Above So Below ending isn’t fully explained helped it achieve this. The ambiguity creates questions, theories, and food for thought — all elements that both keep the movie in viewer’s minds long after it’s concluded, and that mean a sequel would be a huge gamble.

as above so below poster

As Above, So Below

As Above, So Below is a found-footage horror movie set and shot in the real-life Paris catacombs. It follows a team of explorers who venture deep into the underground tunnels in search of the legendary philosopher’s stone.

John Erick Dowdle

Release Date
August 14, 2014

Universal Pictures

Drew Dowdle , John Erick Dowdle

Perdita Weeks , Ben Feldman , Edwin Hodge , François Civil , Marion Lambert , Ali Marhyar


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