Sunday, 20 March 2016



Unthinkable! Can it really be that someone has managed a new wrinkle on the found footage genre several years after it had been thoroughly flogged to death? Israeli production Jeruzalem (despite the large red Z in the title it's nothing to do with World War Z, and isn't even a zombie movie) doesn't solve any of the by now overfamiliar problems of the form - either narrative or technical - but at least it's documenting something slightly more interesting than the usual night-vision idiocy and it does lace proceedings with a few nice gags about the technology.

Shot entirely first-person with Google Glass (which makes the film a one-off, at least for the present, as that product has now been put on hold), Jeruzalem tells of (the barely seen) Sarah and her best friend Rachel, two annoying American tourists who suddenly decide to abandon their (presumably expensive) holiday to Tel Aviv in favour of hanging out in Jerusalem. Of course they don't know that there have been documented instances of the dead coming back to life there; they don't know one of the holiest cities in the world is built on one of the three gates of Hell. So they've having a terrific time partying when suddenly the apocalypse happens. As the city descends into the chaos of a hasty evacuation, impossibly tall demon beasts walk the streets and the dead return as malevolent angels spreading a contagion, our heroines try and get out of the city through the network of ancient tunnels....

It all ends, as these things inevitably do, with a lot of running around in the dark and screaming while the impressive-looking monsters aren't seen in more than shaky glimpses, and Sarah does the usual illogical thing of refusing to believe that one of her comrades is transforming into a demon in front of her. Still, the film does manage some nice moments through the Google Glass technology: music tracks, maps and Skype conversations open up on screen (bringing to mind Unfriended), while facial recognition software that opens up Facebook profiles is a neat way of introducing characters.

But you are yet again left with the feeling that this could have been a decent little religion-based horror movie if they'd made it as a proper film. I know it's more difficult and more expensive, but it's worth it. Yet again the project is sunk by the format: it restricts the film-makers to a single viewpoint and it allows for no injection of visual style. Moreover, it (yet again) makes no narrative sense within the context of events on screen: how has all the footage been obtained, who has edited it together, and why on Earth would they spend half the running time documenting the holiday antics of Sarah and Rachel when there's a full-on biblical Day Of Judgement going on down the street? Overall it's a slight improvement on the usual found routine, but not enough.


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