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Catacombs (2007)

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.

Another old review now, and one that I am re-visiting purely as I went to Paris a couple of weeks ago, and after queuing for 3 hours to get into the Catacombs they did not disappoint! Never came across any satanic killers like in this film, but even they would have struggled to get past the idiot tourists who wouldn’t move out of the way for us people who actually wanted to walk through the tunnels! Anyway, after re-assessing the film the scores stay the same, still not a great movie but it’s little known and a horror so ticks all the boxes for me to talk about it and share it with you! Enjoy 🙂

Catacombs stars the singer Pink (Alecia Moore) and Shannyn Sossamon as sisters Carolyn and Victoria. It is said to be based on a true story and set in the Paris Catacombs. The Catacombs are underground tunnels which were used as burial chambers. They were originally limestone mine shafts under the city but were converted to burial tunnels in the late 1700’s when the city ran out of burial space and the water supply was compromised. Millions of graves were dug up, and the bones and skulls of the dead were transferred into the corridors of the tunnels. We follow Victoria (Sossamon) as she gets lost in the Catacombs whilst being pursued by a killer.

The film was produced by the same people that brought us ‘Saw’. It was filmed in 2005 and then delayed over a year due to the unfortunate death of producer Greg Hoffman. Ultimately the film was basically shelved as it never got a proper release, a few people got to see it at cinemas in Europe but here we are in 2012 and IMDB lists the worldwide gross for this film at just over £2 million. It is available on demand and DVD.

As for the actual movie, well if I had to sum it up in one sentence it would be that it was just an average horror film with a poor ending. If you havent seen the film by now there isn’t really a lot I can do to convince you to watch it, I certainly won’t be hunting it out to watch again. I’ll try to offer something positive in the rest of the review as I’m sure there are people who love this movie, and whilst I can’t see why I’ll try to point out the best bits. It won’t take long!

The actual tunnels themselves looked very realistic. It was a nice creepy claustrophobic location with an eery atmosphere and the sisters go down there originally to attend a secret rave. Once down there, Carolyn (Pink) and her friends start to tell stories to Victoria about a killer living in the Catacombs. The killer is said to be raised by a Satanic Cult, he is known as ‘Antichrist’ and he feeds on people who get lost in the Catacombs. He wears a goats mask and naturally as soon as Victoria wanders off on her own and gets lost the man in the mask appears and terrorizes her. That is pretty much the story and the rest of the film. We just follow Victoria as she meets a few fellow raver’s who are ‘lost’ and she looks for a way out. We get to see a guy fall and break his leg, a man meet his death by means of a pick axe and then the big reveal and twist just before the end which was adequate at best. After the reveal and the way the film ends just seems so far-fetched and unrealistic it really tarnished an already average film.

Acting wise, Pink was fine in her role, she never really needed too show off any acting skills she may possess here. The rest of her friends were your usual crowd, again no one really stood out or did anything special here. The lead role luckily was carried by Shannon Sossamon. I think she is an acquired taste as an actress, she was very subdued and never really cracked a smile, but I actually felt for her journey and wanted her to escape. The ending didn’t do her character any real justice, but she was easily the best thing about the film and made it just about watchable.

The camera work was good, some shaky footage but the tunnels were suitable creepy and the fast paced shots at times were reminiscent of ‘Saw’. Not too many jumps or scares, a couple of bits of violence but not really a film for the gore hounds out there.

Not a lot else I can say about the film really. If you are looking for something a little different set in a confined space with a killer chasing people then Catacombs may be right up your street. If you want to see a really good version of that description go watch The Descent, as that is far superior.

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18 Comments

  1. atothewr

     /  September 22, 2012

    I have managed to get to see this location in person when I was in France and it was incredible to witness. I am now interested in seeing this just because of that. Thanks for the review.

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    • Thanks mate, yeah I found it an eerie but strangely brilliant place to visit. So weird, but I could of stayed down there for ages. Did you touch any skulls? I definitely didn’t if any law enforcement are reading……..as its illegal…… 😉

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      • atothewr

         /  September 22, 2012

        I don’t think I touched any skulls, but I certainly wanted to do a horror movie in that location. I have some video I shot of it, but no way to upload it. I remember it being the highlight of my study abroad time in France. I guess that says something about me.

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        • I’m not alone then, my romantic break with the wife to Paris and my highlight was some catacombs 🙂 I got some great photos which I’ll be uploading as a post on here one day soon.

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        • atothewr

           /  September 22, 2012

          Looking forward to them. Maybe I can get those videos uploaded as well. I would like to revisit them.

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        • Yeah be great to see if you ever get your footage sorted out.

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  2. This is still on my list of ‘to see’ films, but only for the novelty of seeing if Pink can actually act or not! LOL Great review as always. 🙂

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  3. carly

     /  September 22, 2012

    Now i’ve actually been to the Catacombs I need to watch this again. It wasn’t my favourite part of Paris especially the 3hr+ wait. It is a strange eerie place and something that has to been seen to appreciate the scale and vast number of bones. The skulls and bones didn’t bother me but I did feel a ‘trapped’ as there’s no easy way out and you have to just keep going. A great location for a horror film. Would be great to see the videos if you can get them on here!

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  4. Critical Dave

     /  September 23, 2012

    One of my housemates is a big Pink fan, so I hired this for us to watch…I wasn’t impressed.

    I guessed the twist almost as soon as Carolyn and Victoria met up in the film; meant the rest of the film was pretty laboured.

    And I’m normally not a Shannyn Sossamon hater, but she irritated me to no end – especially the part where she was following Henri and incessantly calling out “Henry!” – it really annoyed me, and it’s only a small thing, but occuring that far into an already tiresome film really set me against the film and her.

    The set design was really good, though – I just wish it could’ve been used on a better movie!

    Good write up too! (Bonus points for recommending The Descent – absolute fave of mine)

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    • Yeah lots of frustrating parts. I felt the location was perfect and I can see why lions gate decided against giving this much of a release.

      Nice to see another fan of the descent. Great film, wasn’t keen on the sequel but still way better than this.

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  5. Places like that are so inherently spooky that you can’t go far wrong making a scary movie based on it. It would probably be scary if there was no plot, just pictures! Think of all the deaths and the ghosts that haunt those caves … all the tangled lives, evil lives and otherwise … who somehow found their final repose down there in the damp and dark. (Shiver).

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    • Yeah, my wife was worried I would be bringing spirits home with me as I may or may not have touched a few bones and skulls……just fascinated by it and couldnt resist. Very creepy place 🙂

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  6. I remember renting this on a whim purely because Pink was in it and I thought I’d see if she could act. I turned it off after 20 minutes because I was bored. Good premise, so-so execution. Well done for making it all the way through! 🙂

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    • Haha thanks! It was more research ahead of my Paris trip. I think everyone agrees, the premise and idea of a horror movie in this location is perfect, but it does not happen here sadly. Maybe one day someone will make it a reality! 🙂

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  7. I JUST reviewed this one! I didn’t like it UNTIL the ending. I thought that was the only decent thing in it. And Victoria…they just had a crap script because she only repeated the same lines over and over and over and over again. I missed the catacombs when I went to Paris (but saw some in Italy) so I’d love to actually visit again and check them out. They were definitely the best part of this flick.

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    • Tyson Carter

       /  October 12, 2012

      I will head over and check out your thoughts. Aside from some good looking girls and the excellent catacombs themselves there wasnt much going for this movie 🙂

      Didn’t know there was some in Italy, will have to look into it, hoping to visit there at some point soon.

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