How do you make the tired and overdone genre of found footage fresh again? The Paz brothers provide an answer with JeruZalem there extremely innovative horror that uses wearable technology to offer a first person frightener with an action packed apocalyptic plotline.
The eyes we see through belong to American girl Sarah (Danielle Jadelyn) who is off traveling with her best friend free spirited Rachel (Rabies and Jane the Virgin star Yael Grobglas) looking for adventure and excitement away from her overprotective father who provides her with the aforementioned glasses as a means to stay in touch.
Meeting up with a mysterious anthropology student named Kevin (Yon Tumarkin) who takes a shine to Sarah they are convinced into heading for Jerusalem instead of their intended location but whilst the city offers them parties and the promise of romance behind its deep history lies a dark secret set to awaken on their arrival.
It is said that there are three gates to hell one in the desert, one in the sea and one in Jerusalem and that last gate is about to open bringing with it an ancient evil and the end of days as a dozen demons storm the walled city determined to tear apart the entire world starting with the Holy city.
So far so generic you may be thinking and on some levels JeruZalem is your standard biblical demon pic delivering a good level of entertainment and jumps in equal measures with its archive footage of an exorcism gone wrong opening, portentous rumblings and hints at the horror to come all climaxing in a decent descent into chaos 1 hour later that holds up till the end.
What raises JeruZalem over other Holy horrors is how the inventive writer and directors Doron and Yoav Paz weave the internet enabled camera glasses into the fabric of the film.
Whereas other movies would have left them as a reasonable explanation for why the film is first person or laughably misused the concept making it look like a trite video game, such as in the atrocious Day of the Mummy, the Paz brothers turn the futuristic tech into a tool for creating unexpected laughs and suspense even playing with the very fabric of filmmaking at points.
An example comes when Sarah surveys a bar with the screen using face recognition to throw up various characters social media pages where she swipes through their photos finding out more than she bargained for at times. Another great scene towards the end in a mental asylum has the music player break blasting out a highly incongruous song as she runs for her life admits monsters and mad men.
Best of all is the obligatory sex scene which we voyeuristically view through the glasses which have been left on a table beside the bed. As if calling the audience out on their depraved gaze we suddenly notice Sarah’s father phoning her at the bottom of the screen. Unaware she continues her copulation however her Dad’s texts asking what she’s doing continue to pop up at us making the scene hilariously uncomfortable to watch.
Filming guerilla style in a city packed with tourists and historic treasures JeruZalem feels far more real than previous faux documentaries and it is shocking the number of spectacular locations that feature including the fabled Wailing Wall and a particularly creepy institution for those infected by the very real Jerusalem syndrome which manifests in one of the movies characters causing psychosis and religious delusions.
Although this Israeli thriller chiller may contain elements horror fans have seen before in other films the clever use of the format and excellent special effects elevate JeruZalem far above other found footage films making it more than worth a watch.
Just make sure you take off your Google glasses beforehand or you might start seeing double.