is an evil horde of mindless killers bearing down on the Old City of Jerusalem,
hell-bent on destruction. That could be any old Tuesday, except in this case,
the rage-fueled monsters are supernatural. It turns out everyone who succumbed
to Jerusalem Syndrome was right all along. The city has a connection to an
ancient malevolent force that will manifest itself in apocalyptic fashion during
the course of the Paz Brothers’ JeruZalem
opens this Friday in Los Angeles.
and her rather less reserved bestie Rachel have come to Tel Aviv for some clubbing
and a bit of fun in the sun. Sarah could use the break. She and her sad-eyed
father are still mourning the death of her older brother. Before leaving, he gives
her a set of internet connected eyeglasses that we should not automatically
assume to be google glass. Inconveniently, her purse with her regular specs is
swiped shortly after their arrival, thereby forcing her to wear her geek lens (credibly
explaining why so much of the film will be duly recorded).
of immediately hitting the beach, Kevin, the young hipster archaeologist on
their flight convinces the women to take a detour to Jerusalem with him. At
first, everything seems cool at their impossibly Bohemian hostile. Most
conveniently, the Arab Israeli owner’s hard partying son knows where to score
the best dope and hear the best music. Yet, there are signs here and there of
something sinister stirring.
Kevin seems to contract a particular potent case of Jerusalem Syndrome.
However, shortly after he is trundled off to the nearby asylum, throngs of
winged demons attack the Old City. They are the spitting image of the creature
seen in the exorcism prologue (a tape supposedly recovered from the Vatican
archive). To make matters worse, their bite is apparently contagious, just like
that of zombies.
have been a lot of found footage horror films, but what really distinguishes JeruZalem is its heavy backstory and the
eerily evocative use of Old City backdrops (shot guerilla-style by the Pazes).
We are told in the opening preamble there are three doors to Hell, one in the
ocean, one in the desert, and one in Jerusalem, which sounds unsettlingly
plausible. The ostensive Vatican footage is also wickedly creepy.
the first ten minutes are so scary, the Pazes really slow down for the rest of
the first act to fully establish their three main characters. It is a strategy
that ultimately pays off. Despite their conspicuous flaws, the audience
actually emotionally invests in Kevin, Rachel, Sarah, and her skyping father
far more than usual when it comes to the found footage sub-genre.
the rarely seen Danielle Jadelyn and the American accent-challenged Yon Tumarkin
are hit-and-miss as Sarah and Kevin, Yael Grobglas (also memorable in Rabies) absolutely shines as Rachel. Flirty
and funny without descending into shtick, she demonstrates real megawatt star
The Brothers Paz prove the mere sight of some
Old City back alleyways at night is plenty creepy, even without monsters.
Together with cinematographer Rotem Yaron, they really capture the city’s
ominous nocturnal atmosphere. Highly recommended for fans of found footage and
demonic horror, JeruZalem opens this
Friday (1/22) in LA at Laemmle's Ahrya Fine Arts and next Friday (1/29) in New York at Cinema Village.
Labels: Found footage, Horror Movies, Israeli Cinema