After checking out the solid actioner Momentum, I made a last minute decision to get back in line to see The Paz Brothers' horror film, JeruZalem.
Two friends Sarah (Danielle Jadelyn) & Rachel (Yael Grobglas) are vacationing in Jerusalem, when the biblical End of Days suddenly rocks the city.
At its core, JeruZalem is a pretty standard found footage horror film, but there are some elements that really elevate it.
The first is the use of Google Glass, which Sarah puts on at the beginning of the film. By making the lenses prescription – and having her bag carrying her other pair of glasses subsequently stolen – the filmmakers cleverly circumvented any logistical problems about why she continued filming once all hell broke loose. Additionally, because we were privy to Glass's HUD, the Paz Brothers also found new ways to visually relay exposition and story through the device. How this tech could potentially pull up anybody's Facebook profile via facial recognition may have been the scariest part of the movie.
Secondly, the location is breathtaking. The movie travelled throughout Jerusalem and as everything was first person, you really felt like you were walking the streets with the characters. I was quite impressed by how much footage they captured – in holy places and the like – and found out later they filmed under the guise of a documentary to grab that stuff.
The performances were natural and solid across the board, though Sarah did get a little whiny towards the end. She was also the one making the majority of the bad decisions, which was cause for frustration. And while it is true the “Z” in the title is bit of a misnomer, I can see why they tried to incorporate it into their marketing campaign.
Lastly, you have to take into consideration that, apart from Aharon Keshales & Navot Papushado (the duo behind Rabies and Big Bad Wolves), this is the first full blown horror film to come out of Israel. JeruZalem's production values rival much of Hollywood's output, so if these are Israel's baby steps into genre territory, then we in for some great things when they really get their legs under them.
Many feel zombies and found footage are both played out tropes, but I say JeruZalem is worthy of your attention.
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