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.