Stars: Danielle Jadelyn, Yael Grobglas, Yon Tumarkin, Tom Graziani, Fares Hananya, Steven Hilder | Written and Directed by Doron Paz, Yoav Paz
Religion is the perfect breeding ground for horror, you just have to look at the bible for evidence of that… That’s why releasing Jeruzalem around Easter seems so perfect… However, are we tired of the found footage horror? Or does this religious horror film bring something different to the table?
Sarah (Danielle Jadelyn) and Rachel (Yael Grobglas) fly to Israel to party, and have a good time. Finding themselves in the city of Jerusalem everything seems fun at first. When the world around them descends into chaos and it appears a hell of biblical proportions is rising, can they survive?
Found footage films work if the film has a reason for the camera to be placed into the hands of one of the characters. In Jeruzalem the camera is placed into “Smart Glasses” which give us the perspective through the wearer’s eyes, which for the most part are Sarah. This makes it interesting because the directors and writers, the Paz Brothers use this tool very well.
In tapping into the idea that social media can share memories from the character’s past she becomes a fleshed out character, as do the characters around her. This makes them easier to relate to and easy to empathise with. We even get hints about story elements and events that are important to the story. While the malfunctioning glasses may become somewhat annoying as we get to the climax of the movie, for the most part they work.
While the Z in Jeruzalem hints at zombies, don’t see this film as just another zombie movie. While the creatures are “undead” to a point, they are more interesting because of the demonic edge they have. It’s better to not say much about them and let you be introduced to them yourself as you watch the film, but it is safe to say this is not just another zombie movie. As well as the demonic undead, there is also other creatures rising, which add even more interest. A giant demonic beast appears to be attacking Jerusalem, and while we only get to see glimpses of the creature it has a Cloverfield feel to it. One thing that the film managed to do was to not fall into the Cloverfield trap of having annoying characters though. Yes, Sarah and Rachel do make some very silly decisions but for the most part are a lot more tolerable and do make believable choices.
I found myself liking Jeruzalem more than I thought I would do, as the basic idea of the film is fairly generic. What the Paz brothers have managed to do though is concentrate on keeping the film at a good pace, and building up the tension for the audience when it needed it. It may not be the scariest movie out there, but there is a tense feeling to going through the events on-screen through the eyes of the characters and that is where the film finds its power. Well worth a watch for horror fans looking for a found footage style film that actually works.
Jeruzalem is available on VOD in the UK now, with DVD release coming 4th April. For another take on the film, check out our review from last years Frightfest