The proof that “one man’s trash is another man’s treasure,” can be seen in the widely varied reception of the “found footage” style movie “Jeruzalem.” Panned by American audiences as full of trite and over worn cinematographic tropes, its reception in the Latino horror markets was just the opposite – it became an instant “cult classic” that left the audiences clamoring for more. The writer-director team of brothers Yoav and Doron Paz premiered their “work in progress” “Jeruzalem” to the 2017 Jerusalem Film Festival and from there conquered twenty more international festivals before selling to the major markets.
The plot begins simply with Jewish-American friends Rachel (Yael Grobglas) and Sarah (Danielle Jadelyn) traveling abroad and attending a party when their evening is rudely interrupted by the onset of the biblical Apocalypse. As the literal Gates of Hell spew forth their tormentors the action speeds around the beautiful, but so seldom filmed old city of Jerusalem. Filmed on location the movie provides an up close tour through its ancient, enduring architecture and historical and religious sights. The plot regrettably gets as shaky as some of the wobbly footage and headache inducing, seemingly endless screams throughout. The Paz brother’s greatest blunder was to artificially obscure the winged, flesh-eating creatures that emerge. By attempting to boost the imaginations of the audience this way, the tactic failed to generate that effect and left viewers with blurry images and shaky, sometimes digitized views.
There are no product endorsements to the computerized eyewear of the primary character, But the wearable technology allows a surprisingly coherent storyline to be developed from the first-person perspective of this style of pseudo-documentary filming technique.
And as you must suspect from the strategically placed ‘Z’ in the title, it does indicate that zombies do indeed play a major part in the action and excitement of the chases across the ancient city’s unique sights and scenery. Another well-used trope is the tech available to the eyewear filming the movie is how conveniently it has the specialized data required to tell zombies from still living survivors. There is plenty of gore for the hard-core zombie enthusiast and obscure political commentary for less blood lusting fans.
There are some glaring plot holes in the script. Even discounting the emptiness of the streets despite the multitude of people who live in the city should be expected to go running by sometime. The inclusion of some holy sites in the film have been linked with wildly unbelievable reasoning for the activity. Still, “Jeruzalem” still carries the audience on to its mostly predictable end.
However, despite the well-worn plot lines and overused camera style “Jeruzalem” seems to have struck a nerve with Latin moviegoers. Taking honors for Audience Award & Best Editing at the Jerusalem International Film Festival, “Jeruzalem” also collected th Grand Prize at te Dracula Film Festival. As it thrusts itself into a growing cult status, the film is already generating a sequel to be set ten years later as The Israeli army continues to seek ways to do more than just contain the menace from the Pit. While the “found footage” style worked well in the original movie, “Jeruzalem 2” will be shot in a more traditional manner.