Friday, October 21, 2016

Film Review: JeruZalem (2015)

JeruZalem (Review)
Format Viewed For Review: Netflix Instant
Netflix Instant: Yes
Amazon Prime: No
*A 31 Days of Halloween Special Review

"It has a very interesting concept, there are some suspenseful scenes, and it even has some great moments, but it just isn't very effective."

A pair of American friends travel to Jerusalem, where hell eventually breaks loose...

JeruZalem is a found footage-style film. It's captured through the smart glasses of Sarah (Danielle Jadelyn), a young American who travels to Jerusalem with her best friend, Rachel (Yael Grobglas). During the first half of the film, you're essentially watching a couple of douchebags doing what douchebags do. There are tidbits of interesting information here, but it's mostly a set of generic home videos. The city is beautiful, but the story is thin. The second half of the film takes off as hell breaks loose in the city and the gates are closed. So, Sarah, Rachel, and a group of survivors try to find a way out of the city. It leads to a very contrived and absurd ending.

Conceptually, JeruZalem is very interesting. It's this idea that there's a gate to hell under the city and that the dead will rise. It's something you don't really see, especially in found footage movies that usually take place in a haunted house/castle/hospital. The execution, however, is flawed. The first half of the film is downright boring. It's interesting for sightseers, but the plot just doesn't move. The second half features more action and excitement, creating a playground for demons small and large in a beautiful city, but it has its own issues. Particularly, you're still spending time with the same characters. This, unfortunately, is one of those films with very stupid characters; and their stupidity usually leads to them being annoying. This allows for lazy writing (i.e. plot contrivances) and general annoyances.

The acting doesn't fare much better, either. Some of the supporting actors, such as Tom Graziani, get out just fine – perfectly natural. Danielle Jadelyn, Yael Grobglas, and Yon Tumarkin are mediocre, though, especially during the second half of the film. I blame the odd and unnatural dialogue more than anything, though. I mean, most of the dialogue is riddled with cursing, which makes it feel lazy and overdone. This is a found footage style film and it suffers from the same issues. The camerawork is as shaky as ever and, of course, the footage always glitches when the action happens – how convenient. The film was written and directed by the Paz Brothers. The Paz Brothers craft a few decent horror scenes, a few even reminiscent of [Rec], but the found footage style doesn't suit them. The writing is all-around sloppy, which is unfortunate considering the interesting concept.

Overall, JeruZalem was a disappointment. It has a very interesting concept, there are some suspenseful scenes, and it even has some great moments, but it just isn't very effective. The first half of the film was a drag, the ending was bad, and it suffers from its found footage gimmick more than it could ever benefit from it. At most, I can only recommend it if it's available on your streaming service (I watched it on Netflix) and if you're a forgiving viewer. Otherwise, there are better movies for your time.

Score: 4/10
Parental Guide: Strong violence and blood, some nudity.

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