Review: Jeruzalem

JeruzalemJeruzalem is the winner of the Dracula award for the best feature film at this year edition of Dracula Film Festival. From the moment I saw it, I knew this is the movie that will win the award. The Paz brothers created an exciting and horrifying movie, using modern technology as the pretext for a found footage film. Jeruzalem uses a lot of elements from other horror movies (zombies, religion, found footage), but it manages to build a realistic and credible story, curing the “drop the camera” syndrome and incorporating parts of our modern life (Facebook, Skype, music and even Wikipedia) as ways to tell the story.

There are three gates to Hell, one in the desert, one in the ocean and one in Jerusalem

The movie tells the story of Rachel and Sarah, two young americans who go on a trip to Israel on their vacation. Before leaving, Rachel receives a pair of Google Glasses, which serve as our found footage source. On the plane they meet Kevin, an anthropologist who convinces them to go to Jerusalem first. Unbeknownst to the girls, Kevin is interested in some strange events said to have been happening in the Holy City for years. With Yom Kippur approaching fast, the three protagonists find themselves in the epicentre of the end of the world, as people raise from the dead as demons and the city falls into chaos. Storywise, Jeruzalem isn’t something new, but the way the story is conveyed is very different than other movies (it is a bit reminiscent of Coverfield, but that is all). The actors are not extraordinary, but they do their best to give us the best experience and realism possible (Yael Grobglas – Rachel, Danielle Jadelyn – Sarah and Yon Tumarkin – Kevin).


The best part of Jeruzalem is the found footage meets modern technology part. Using Google Glasses (not for real, but as a way of explaining the first person perspective) was a stroke of genius from the Paz brothers. Also, making the character have to use the glasses as prescription glasses, solved the “drop the camera problem”. Facebook pops from time to time to show profiles of persons recognized by the Glasses, as well as Skype, used by Sarah to talk with her father and Wikipedia to explain historical facts; they all bring the “new world” into the movie, without being forced. Plus, when the Glasses suffer some damage and start playing music by themselves or glitch, it creates some unique experiences unseen until now. Unlike World War Z, Jeruzalem is genuinely shot in the Holy City. Using the pretext of making a documentary, the Paz brothers managed to film many locations that are restricted for feature films. Seeing the real streets of the city, watching the sun set over the various important buildings and delving into Solomon’s Quarry, makes the movie much more real than using other cities or green screen. Going to the special effects area, Jeruzalem. although with a small budget, manages to create credible and scary CGI monsters that would put to shame a lot of bigger movies.

So, another round of applaus for Jeruzalem and it winning the Dracula award this year, here in Romania. I recommend any horror (found footage) fan to go see it if they have the chance, as it is a unique experience and a smartly created movie.


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