Written and Directed by The Paz Brothers
Available on digital and DVD
Three American tourists fly to Israel and decide to visit the city of Jerusalem before hitting the nightlife of Tel Aviv. During their stay there, one of the tourists, Kevin, discovers something incredibly disturbing which could affect the lives of everyone around them.
Playing out as a found footage film from first-person perspective, JERUZALEM is a clever, thrilling tale taking on ancient biblical themes culminating in Judgement Day.
The story begins with Sarah who’s father has gifted her a pair of Smart Glass spectacles which work pretty much the same way as Google Glass. Whilst wearing them Sarah can take photos, call people via Skype, use facial recognition software to identift people and pull up their Facebook pages if they’re users, browse online encylopedias, use navigation and much more. Rather than use a handheld camera like so many found-footage movies do, which often result in nauseating shaky results, the filmmakers’ choice to use a modern technology such as the Smart Glass specs has to be applauded. We get to view and almost feel everything that Sarah does using this particularly method of seeing everything through her eyes…Well, at least glasses. Thankfully, this also gives us fairly steady footage to watch rather than have the camera shake all over the place which is a Godsend to this motion-sickness prone reviewer.
Sarah and Rachel board their flight to Israel and meet research student Kevin who Sarah takes a liking to. They decide to tag along with him to Jerusalem for a few days instead of going direct to Tel Aviv for non-stop partying. As a researcher of ancient history, Kevin has particular reasons why he’s visiting Jerusalem and the only time he decides to share these with Sarah and Rachel, he’s already too late – nothing can stop what is about to happen. For the viewer though, we find out what ancient evil is lurking in the city right at the beginning of the movie where we are treated to some footage of religious leaders attempting to exorcise what appears to be a winged demon of a resurrected woman. As we discover though, there’s more evil than we’ve seen to be unleashed onto the unsuspecting city.
In many ways, JERUZALEM reminds me of [Rec] and Cloverfield. Putting a different spin on a genre we’re familiar with (and one that has grown stagnant over the years) makes the film feel fresh and bring us something we’ve not exactly seen before whilst giving the viewer a spectacular view of Jerusalem. The latter is one of the film’s biggest strengths. The Paz Brothers have done well to showcase the city and explore its alleyways which has only made me want to visit the place myself. They’ve defintely been able to use their location to their advantage, both as a storytelling plot device and a spooky scene-setter. You can almost feel and sense the vibe of the city as if you were there yourself by looking through Sarah’s glasses as the different cultures of Christians, Jews and Muslims mix in this stunning city.
The horror element of the film is quite a slow burner which is my preferred style. It’s not in-your-face or over the top but subtle though it’s not without a jump scare here or there. Most of the creatures we see tend to be at a distance whilst tge up-close shorts are rather brief. CGI is used but is tastefully done to still keep an essence of realism into the events which unfold.
Though I would have liked the film to have touched more upon the ancient links, creatures and history, JERUZALEM has shown there’s still life in the old found footage genre yet.