I was initially excited about Jeruzalem, a Cloverfield-esque found footage take on the biblical end of the world. The trailers were indeed promising and the subject matter looked to be something rarely tackled in horror, albeit executed with the found footage spin, which deservedly has gained more than a few detractors. At the very least, we were guaranteed some nice apocalypse action and well, I’m a sucker for the ole “fire and brimstone”.
The film opens with the gifting of the “device” through which the entire movie is lensed, the Google glass technology that never quite made the impact on the tech-consumer world that the company hoped. Here, however it seemed to make perfect sense and the way the “glass” uses face recognition to link the person it sees with their social media account saves the film a lot of exposition and unfortunately a whole helluva lot of character development. The device, worn by Sarah (Danielle Jadelyn) to accompany her and her best friend Rachel (Yael Grobglas) on their fun-filled rompous adventure to Tel Aviv (yeah, it was either that or Cabo San Lucas, you know) takes us puddle jumping to the motherland where they hook up with Kevin (where does Kevin’s accent come from you ask? Apparently the small Eastern European village of Christopher Lambertvia because I HAVE NO FUCKING CLUE!!!) who convinces them, “hey, your Zagat’s Guide to Places You Never Knew Had Dance Clubs and Radical Terrorist Cells is dead wrong, It’s Jerusalem where are all the cool kids are hanging out” and off they go to explore their supposed Jewish heritage. Oh, btw Kevin just happens to be researching all of these crazy instances of people being resurrected from the dead…in between finding the best hashish that their tourist dollars can buy. They also meet Omar…yeah, just another “wild and crazy guy” son of the Muslim hotel owner whose digs they are staying at, and everybody gets good and sloppy drunk wandering around a city that may or may not have metric shit-ton of civil unrest…sigh.
Jeruzalem’s characters are so horribly cliché and underdeveloped that every second they occupy a scene with the horribly underused rich historic landscape of the city is just downright painful. Sarah’s brother is dead…alright, thanks for the backstory, because it gives us every single reason why she thinks twice about going down on strangers in seedy club bathrooms…gawd yes, all of this actually happens… a subplot that is also awkwardly unexplored yet somehow manages to come back to haunt her when her brother pops up again, this time as one of the otherworldly creatures attacking the city for no other reason than, “hey, did I write that part when I was drunk? Oh, fuck it”.
The major offense with JeruZalem is that the concept itself is a provocative one, especially in this day and age of slasher knock-offs and endless strings of sub-par zombie flicks, but everything orbiting it is so profoundly stupid and nill-explained that it collapses under its own uninspired writing and absurdly tired and sadly familiar one dimensional characters. And this is truly a shame because a film filled with murderous angels and 8 story tall Nephilim is just too wonderfully bizarre to be treated in such a fashion. If you find yourself bored enough to make hating yourself a past-time, the film is currently available on Amazon on-demand. NOT RECOMMENDED.