Catacombs (2007)

DVD Cover (Lions Gate)
Genres: Horror, Psychological Thriller, Sadistic Horror
On her first trip to Paris, a young woman hits a party in the Catacombs, the 200-mile labyrinth of limestone tunnels under the city that's lined with the remains of 7 million people. Separated from her friends, she becomes convinced that someone or something is chasing her. --IMDb
Tomm Coker Tomm Coker
David Elliot David Elliot
Shannyn Sossamon Shannyn Sossamon
Pink Pink
Emil Hostina Emil Hostina
Sandi Dragoi Sandi Dragoi
Mihai Stanescu Mihai Stanescu

4.6 / 10 - Overall Rating

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Review by Chad
Added: February 23, 2008
Catacombs is one of those films that really could have went either way with me, and as a result, I was sort of hesitant to pick it up. On the one hand, it's another entry in the "survival horror" genre that happens to take place in the catacombs beneath Paris, a place where human remains adorn the walls... and in some cases, are the walls. For those of you keeping track at home, that's one thing working against the film - this survival horror thing has been done to death recently - and one thing in its favor, that being the unique and brilliant concept of setting a film in these catacombs. The next thing that had me scratching my head was the fact that pop singer P!nk is featured in one of the leading roles. Now, I've got a soft spot for bubblegum pop, but throwing one of these singers in the leading role of a horror film? That really didn't sound like it would have worked, to be honest about it. However, with all things considered, the film did work out fairly well, and in fact, it worked much better than I expected it to.

Our storyline finds Victoria (Shannyn Sossamon), a young lady from the States with some extreme nervousness problems, receiving a letter from her sister Carolyn (P!nk) inviting her to come stay with her in Paris for a while. She agrees, and before she can even get settled in, Carolyn tells her that the two of them are going out to a party with some friends. This party just so happens to be a rave party that takes place in - you guessed it - those underground catacombs.

It doesn't take long before one of Carolyn's friends starts to discuss the legend of a monstrous man who lives in these catacombs, a goat-mask-wearing man who was born of rape and incest and locked up until he was eighteen by Satan worshipers who were attempting to create the Antichrist. Needless to say, this fellow is pretty pissed off, and he takes out his anger on anyone who dares invade his turf. The problem for our leading ladies begins when they get separated from the other partygoers and find themselves lost in these catacombs, and wouldn't you know it: the legends about this man are true, and not only that, but he's hot on their heels with murder on his mind.

There were two things about this film that sort of bugged me, but to be fair, I can't really gripe about them as they were technically solid decisions when you think about them. My first issue was with the lighting, and to be more specific, the lack of it. Once our leading ladies get down into the catacombs and away from the party, the vast majority of the film is lit only with the flashlight, flare, or lantern that they pick up along the way. You can't fault the filmmakers for this as it's much more realistic (underground catacombs wouldn't exactly be bursting with light) and makes for a more tense atmosphere, but at the same time, it would have been nice to not have to strain my eyes so hard to see what in the hell was going on.

My other concern was the lack of action during the middle portion of the film. You see, the first section of the movie sets up the events and the last section ties up all of the loose ends, but the middle focuses almost exclusively on the girls being lost down here and attempting to find their way out. It's not a very exciting time in front of the tube, as most of this section of the film consists of them wandering around aimlessly and screaming when they find a locked door or gated exit. Again, this is a gripe that comes with a disclaimer: this produces a claustrophobic environment that works well at times, and besides, you can't very well have the killer chase them around for an hour and change without it getting dull and repetitive.

I can't very well take the filmmakers to task on either of these issues as they did make sense, but regardless, the issues were still there. However, this is not to say that the film didn't entertain me, as it did work to a certain extent. There were some genuinely tense moments to be found, and again, there were some truly original ideas sprinkled throughout this story. Although I did have some issues with the actual presentation, the overall film did please me... and really, isn't that all you need?

One of the main things that will certainly divide viewers down the middle is the ending. Now, I'm obviously not going to spoil it for you dear readers, but it's one of those endings that you'll either love or hate. Personally, I thought it worked out damned nicely, but I can easily see how some of you would hate it. I will say that it was a twist that I never saw coming, but whether or not you think that's a good thing remains to be seen.

So, with all of that said, I think I'm actually going to recommend this film. There were some minor problems, sure, and P!nk didn't exactly turn in an award-winning performance (though she was better than I expected her to be), but I think that the positive definitely outweighed the negative here. For that, I'm going with a 7/10.
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