Since I am flying off to the City of Lights a week from today I thought watching a horror movie set beneath the streets of Paris in the city's famous catacombs seemed like an appropriate choice for last night's late night fare. However, this 2007 films from the writer-director tag team of Tomm Coker and David Elliot is not actually filmed in the catacombs of Paris, it is merely set there. Too bad, because I figure that there is no way on earth (or beneath it) that my wife is going to want to spend any of her first trip to Paris looking at thousands and thousands of skulls and bones.
"Catacombs" begins with an ominous voice over from Victoria (Shannyn Sossamon), who explains: "My sister sent me a postcard. All it said was, 'Come to Paris. It will be good for you.' Forty-eight hours after I arrived, she and everyone I'd met were dead." Such foreshadowing hardly constitutes spoilers in this genre, so Victoria meets up with her sister Carolyn (Alecia Moore, a.k.a. Pink) and her group of wacky bohemian friends. After a day of shopping Carolyn and her friends drag Victoria to a secret rave that takes place in the catacombs that night. There they meet up with Jean-Michel (Mihai Stanescu), who tells Victoria the story of a deranged killer raised by a satanic cult who feeds on those poor souls who get lost in the catacombs. This, as all devotees of the horror genre know, is the sort of convenient exposition that are a staple of such films, taken as a joke or urban legend, but, of course, necessary background information for what is about to take place. It does not take long for Victoria to become separated from her sister and lost in the catacombs, so the merriment can begin.
The problem is that things slow down after the initial attack.Read more ›
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Catacombs...as soon as I heard that Pink was in this movie I had too see it...it's a thriller/horror/suspense. The movie is about a girl that goes to paris to visit her sister..(Pink)and she..pink..wants her sister to loosen up, so she takes her out to an underground hangout to a rave for some fun...and then things take a turn for the worse...all kinds of crazy things start to happen...Instead of me ruining the movie by telling you what happens...just buy it, it's really worth the money!..and the creepy factor is a bonus!
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21 of 24 people found the following review helpful
(2.5 STARS) Terror Underneath Paris: A Much Better Film Buried HereJan. 18 2008
- Published on Amazon.com
"Catacombs" (produced by Lions Gate Films / Twisted Pictures) stars Shannyn Sossamon as Victoria, slightly nervous American girl who has just arrived in Paris. Victoria visits her fun-loving sister Carolyn (Alecia Moore aka Pink) who with her friends in Paris drags timid Victoria down to the illegal party (like a rock concert) secretly thrown in Paris catacombs.
This is where the remains of seven-million people sleep in the maze of tunnels and graves, a creepy subterranean network that spans nearly 200 miles in length. For Victoria, however, things get serious when she gets lost there and runs into something very strange. Victoria must find out a way to get out of this place, but what can she do alone in the dark?
The story of "Catacombs" fairly looks like the 2004 horror film "Creep" (starring Franka Potente) or the 2005 thriller "The Descent" (far scarier than the other two). The difference is the nice choice of the location. The realistic production designs (the "Paris catacombs" were actually constructed in the soundstage in Romania) are fantastic, but sadly director Tomm Coker and David Elliot fail to use the claustrophobic atmosphere to the full.
For Victoria screams a lot and runs around in the maze, but the film itself is hardly scary. The pretty simple story, which has a potential of becoming a more gripping thriller, suddenly stops going further until the very ending which you will either love or hate.
I don't know why, but Shannyn Sossamon keeps appearing in horror films - "The Order" "Devour" and ... "One Missed Call." I don't think her acting here is bad though it is not great either. My impression may have something to do with the character she plays because you may (and I did) find the character of Victoria a bit annoying. Yes, fear brings out the worst in people, but does that have to be shown in this way? Alecia Moore fares better as her sister, who plays a key role in the film, but the time allotted to her character is not very long.
Frankly I was disappointed with "Catacombs" because I expected more from the film; something original and new. In fact the film has one, but you have to wait for that very long. The film, which as far as I know was not shown in theaters in USA, is not a terrible disaster, but could be much better if shorter and tighter.
13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
Catacombs - Watchable But Not Very GoodOct. 8 2008
- Published on Amazon.com
Catacombs is a movie that can be enjoyed as mindless entertainment but will not satisfy hardcore horror fans. In some senses, the movie has an entertaining quality to it. But the typical mistakes of B-horror will drive you crazy if you can't help but pick your horror movies apart. We all want to be frightened by horror, but we need that scare to be believable in order to buy into it. This movie is only believable in the sense that the characters, like people we all know, are very, very dumb.
This movie is very similar to The Blair Witch Project. There are no special effects to speak of. There's a lot of screaming, running, darkness and flashing lights to distract you. Yet not a lot happens. It's not really scary per se. The film does build up some angst with those techniques, but only if you are easily startled or have weak nerves. If you liked The Blair Witch Project, you may really enjoy this. If you thought that was silly, just move on.
If you've read the synopsis you know that the film takes place in the underground catacombs of Paris. They really do exist, although not in the way they are depicted in the movie. The set is well put together considering the budget. And they are in Paris after all! Yet despite the beautiful location, the film is visually mediocre with no special cinematography to speak of. A shot of the Eiffel Tower fully lit is the best you'll get.
The script makes a little bit of sense when you get to the end. Yet the way the plot is resolved leaves the character's actions making no sense. Still, I would say most people will find the *twist* at the end to be predictable, though there are many possible endings based upon the way the first half is set up.
The consistency of the locale is never really maintained. Even though they are in Paris, we see writing on the wall in English. Not to mention people give speeches in English, the French talk to each other in English, and then the main character ... meets a guy who speaks only French. What? If they were going to translate everything into English, that would have been one thing. But the inconsistency, while not a deal breaker, is a sign of a mediocre script.
I like Shannyn Sossamon as Victoria. I think she has some talent, though I don't think she is at her best here. It's hard to think of that as a positive but it might be all things considered.
Plenty of the acting is mediocre to bad, but most of the movie is so focused on the Victoria character that it isn't as big of a liability. Even at 50%, she carries this movie. When you have terrible lines to deliver, it doesn't make acting any easier. The supporting cast is generally just OK. I don't think that Pink is as bad as people say, but she's not exactly great either. The lines are especially weak in the final sequence where everything gets explained.
When you do reach the conclusion, there are many questions left unanswered. Granted the cast is disposed of quite easily. But it's never clear how our heroine, who is lost for most of the movie, finally gets out of the catacombs.
If you are looking for mindless horror for a Friday night, this might do the trick. This is no masterpiece, but it's better than many B-horror movies. However, it's still a B-horror movie. There is very little in terms of unintended humor. The saving grace is that is over quick.
If you are picky about the details in your horror movies, don't expect too much from this one. This is more of a thriller than a pure horror movie, but at times it tries to be both. Rent this before buying the DVD.
This might be a three star movie for those who seek mindless diversion. For me it just misses the cut. And while it wasn't the worst I've seen, I would not seek it out for another viewing.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
More boring than anything elseJune 16 2009
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Don't let the "From the Producers of Saw" tagline fool you (and if that's what entices you in the first place, it may be too late for you already), for Catacombs is a more boring than anything else horror dirge that wastes any potential it may have had. Shannyn Sossamon plays a withdrawn young woman named Victoria who takes a trip to France at the behest of her party-loving sister (singer Alecia "Pink" Moore). As they, along with some friends, descend into the French catacombs, bad things end up happening, culminating with Victoria seeking a way to escape the maze-like underground catacombs. While it does have a good dose of atmosphere and makes good on some historical facts, Catacombs as a whole just ends up being too boring for its own good. By the time we get passed the halfway point of the film, we don't care if Victoria or anyone else escapes or not. What does save the film from the scrap heap however is a dynamite twist ending, which may leave you feeling a little cheated, but in actuality helps make Catacombs better than it should be. All in all, Catacombs is worth a look, but if you're expecting another The Descent here, look elsewhere.
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Check Out CatacombsFeb. 20 2008
- Published on Amazon.com
I liked this film because of its atmosphere, both visual and sonic. The story reminds me of old Universal Horror Film stories.. Young girl visits a relative in Europe, goes to a party and ends up fighting Monsters that stand on two legs; and meeting a swell guy. . AND it's not campy, it holds it head up high as it is a great indi-horror film with great moody horror sets and Catacomb Rave Parties scenes with GREAT lighting and editing. It never feels cheap. And it looks fun. PS- DVD is non-progressive and picture is not great. But this is not a problem as it has a grainy look. I wlll watch in many times again.
7 of 10 people found the following review helpful
Will have a cult following in 10 yearsFeb. 9 2008
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One Missed Call's release has inspired my interest in the Shannyn Post "Rules of Attraction" Renaissance. What I see as a phenomenon where indie directors with a decent amount of money can pay Shannyn's agent to appear in a low budget movie. Suddenly it becomes "if you could have Shannyn star in your movie, what would you have her do?"
Catacombs is a french horror/suspense movie starring Shannyn Sossamon and Pink. Pink's character Carolyn invites Shannyn Sossamon's character Victoria, her sister, to come to Paris. Apparently Victoria has been having some issues, though they're not fully explained, one of them appears to be with drugs, and the trip is to sort of "get away from everything". They spend the day shopping and site seeing when finally Carolyn takes Victoria to a party/rave. The party is held underground in Paris' catacombs, one of the largest mass graves in the world. You meet the guy who hosts the party, and during one scene you hear of the legend of this child born of incest that was raised on nothing but raw meat, and made to wear a goat skin mask (aka the Antichrist) that supposedly lives down in the catacombs. When the police raid the catacombs, Shannyn's character hits her head while fleeing only to wake up alone in the maze of skulls and bones.
Why I like this movie:
Shannyn's character in the movie is very similar to that of Lauren from Rules of Attraction, so people who became fans of her from ROA will be sure to appreciate this movie. Actually, she's so similar that I've been coming to think of this movie as ROA2: Catacombs.
The movie, although seemingly a straight to video horror/suspense flick, is actually very stylized and "vibey", especially with the music. Everything from the shopping scene that is like an overwhelming ecstatic blur in Victoria's mind (also reminds me heavily of Victor's Trip to Europe scene from ROA), to the scene where they're driving to the party and the chill french hip hop is playing, to all the music that is played at the party that is heavily reverbed through the catacomb walls.
This movie does a good job of portraying what it's like to have a bad trip at a party. The flashing lights and the faces that echo in your mind as you try to make your way to the bar where all you need is a cup of water. Maybe I found these scenes so intense because I was high while watching the movie both times, dunno.
I would like to be more sensical in describing how great this movie is, but it comes out in bits and pieces. I will just say that of all Shannyn's new movies that I've watched since ROA, this is the best one. It's her second best movie. It really surprised me. I would have never watched something like this but my interest in her made me download and watch it only to see her and I was surprised at what a great flick it was. I even went ahead and preordered the US DVD which comes out February 19th. For anyone who liked Shan in ROA or who likes suspense, I recommend downloading this (I got it off mininova). I CAN'T STOP WATCHING THIS MOVIE!