Yet another found footage horror film set in an interesting and historical location, JeruZalem (2015, dir. Doron & Yoav Paz) invokes ancient legends within the context of the religious melting pot of the city of Jerusalem in Israel. When Sarah (Danielle Jadelyn) and her best friend Rachel (Yael Grobglas) travel to Israel for a fun beach holiday in Tel Aviv, they meet with a mysterious and good-looking anthropologist (Yon Tumarkin) who convinces them to visit Jerusalem instead. Unfortunately, just before the day of Yom Kippur, all hell breaks loose as monsters of Biblical proportions begin attacking the city.
The first thing you need to know about JeruZalem is that it’s a found footage horror film with a difference. Instead of being shot from the point of view of a video camera, the ‘found footage’ is from the point of view of a Google Glass type of contraption. We see the action of the film unfolding from the direct eye-line of our protagonist Sarah, who conveniently wears glasses. This might sound interesting, but it’s actually really annoying. Filming from an eye level is fairly disorienting and dizzying as Sarah runs around and moves her head about wildly. The overall effect is an unpleasant one. Then, because it’s an obnoxious social media device, the ‘Glass’ as it’s referred to keeps popping up with Facebook and Myspace alerts, and every now and then a Japanese cat video or two. As the Glass sustains more damage it starts glitching, the screen eventually cracking and causing the viewer’s vision to become distorted as well. It’s a fun concept, but in practice it really does not work in terms of actually helping to tell a story because it makes you want to close your eyes and have a rest. I can’t imagine ever seeing this in a cinema.
Story-wise, JeruZalem also sounds pretty interesting. Beginning with a quote from the ancient Talmud text (apparently; I haven’t double-checked it) where it states that there is a gate to hell somewhere in Jerusalem, the story itself has a lot of potential. The idea of Biblical monsters attacking an ancient city which just so happens to house the big three Abrahamic religions is something I want to watch, if it’s done right. Unfortunately, the story is too packed in at the front end with a huge exposition moment, other miscellany, dumb tourist moments and general awkwardness, and the story sold to you on the poster doesn’t start until more than half-way in. The story is imbalanced, with a script that relies on clichéd dialogue, characters you don’t care about or find just plain annoying, and predictable jump scares. It goes without saying that this film is by and large extremely poorly acted, and the CGI is really bad as well.
Why do I keep watching films like this? As with my rationale behind watching similar films such as As Above, So Below (2014) and The Pyramid (2014), I really wanted to watch JeruZalem mostly because I was interested in seeing more of the city of Jerusalem, as I’ve never been there in real life. It is noteworthy and enjoyable that when our characters do visit interesting locations and architecture in the city, the eye-line perspective of the Glass helps you to feel as if you’re really there, staring up at the ceiling of an ancient church for example. JeruZalem gets one star for that and that alone. This film is not really worth seeing unless you’re an absolute found footage horror film junkie. JeruZalem is generic, and it’s a shame because it had an interesting concept that just was not treated very well at all.
Watch the trailer here.
as u know, im not a fan of horror, but since I life near Jrslm and drive thru it every day, do u think I might like it?
BTW, come visit!!! 🙂
I wonder if you might enjoy this for the value of seeing a place you drive through every day! But I also wonder exactly how sensitive the film is about the difference in religion between a couple of the characters, and their approach towards different Biblical legends and lores. The horror element is a bit lame and not too scary, though.
I really want to visit Israel!!! It’s fast becoming my number one ideal travel destination. There are so many things I want to see, and wandering around the city of Jerusalem would be a dream come true.
Let me know and ill give u a tour 😉
I absolutely will! Israel has been on my travel wish list for a very very long time!
Well. Ive seen it and it was ok. Had some issues with the geography presented. Thankfully it wasnt so scary too cause I hate horror. Nothing special but also nothing terrible
Agreed! It’s funny, apparently people from Vienna had the same reaction to the geography in Before Sunrise (which I absolutely love). Apparently it’s physically impossible for the characters to walk around the city and see all of those locations before the sun rises because they are all so distant from one another. Did the geography in JeruZalem just not make sense in terms of how the characters got from A to B?
I’ve been this close to renting this but never have – now i read this “We see the action of the film unfolding from the direct eye-line of our protagonist Sarah, who conveniently wears glasses. This might sound interesting, but it’s actually really annoying.” and ———-> I’m OUT!
I would absolutely love to read your write-up on this lame film if you ever do see it!!
Yep we’ll shitfest it up soon!
Yikes, this looks horrendous. I was wondering how long it would take for a Google Glass-type POV thing, though, so I guess that’s out of the way.
Thanks for taking the hit.
Oh yeah, it’s horrendous all right. I wish a better film had tried the Google Glass POV because I’m interested in seeing it done well, although it really was annoying!
Hmmm…. Sounds terrible, but I still might have to watch it. lol
Haha! I’m intrigued to hear your thoughts on this!
Yikes is right! Totally lame film.
Oh I think this review just saved a lot of us from making a big mistake!
I’m here to help! 😀
Google Glass eye-level found footage? That really sounds disorienting. Shame this sounds bad, given the concept. I wish awful directors would stop making awful movies on the cheap with the found footage format.
It was totally disorienting! And I agree, directors need to give up the ghost of found footage horror. It’s easy and cheap to churn out and they generally make money from films like this, but audiences are becoming so disillusioned by it (myself included!).
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