JeruZalem (2015): Oh The Horror… Of Cliche

There are three gates to Hell,

One in the desert, One in the ocean…

And one in Jerusalem.

Out of all the scary supernatural monsters out there – vampires, werewolves, demons – zombies have the most potential for horror… and even good comedies once in a while. Yet, they are the most abused and misused of them all.

Case in point, this one and a half hour failure to actually create something good from a potentially creative idea. The creators of JeruZalem – Doron and Yoav Paz – had a good concept, but the movie failed to build a unique plot around it and was poorly executed. It’s a found footage/POV style movie with the audience watching the story unfold through a Google Glass worn by the main character.

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First of all, it was not based in the U.S., and I give a brownie point just for that. I was getting sick of watching zombies invading America and the U.K. all the time. Send some of them to other countries too, you idjits. The scenic shots of Jerusalem were simply marvelous. So much mysterious history was right there at the location that the directors had a readymade haunting atmosphere for the movie.

Then they went and ruined it with cliches. Did you have to have American tourists as your main protagonists? Of course you did, it wouldn’t be a horror flick without having a couple of high-energy, horny, carefree white chicks from America in the middle of an apocalypse now would it?

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The movie even goes so far cliched to make one character (Rachel played by Yael Grobglas) an outgoing, beautiful blonde, and the other a slightly shy geek (Sarah played by Danielle Jadelyn). And just like other cliched horror flick characters, everyone in the movie has such a one-dimensional personality you could easily forgive the zombies for killing them. In fact, I started rooting for the zombies midway.

So, what do two young American girls on a vacation to a new exotic place do? They look to party! Yeah, right that’s the only thing girls do on vacations. Oh right! That and trying to get laid. Enter a fellow traveler (Kevin played by Yon Tumarkin) who befriends them in the flight. He’s been traveling around the world “researching cultures” like zombies.

He invites them to accompany him to Jerusalem. And like all smart, well-traveled people know, when a stranger you met on a flight who you’ve known for a few hours invites you to change your travel plan and accompany him to another place, you don’t just gracefully accept, you  jump on board all excited.

That’s why it’s called a cliche horror movie because nobody takes stupid decisions like that in real life. In fact, the whole plot runs on one stupid decision after another. And especially the moronic Google Glass girl Sarah. Let’s all go into the mental asylum and save Kevin, or you know what would be a good idea, let’s all go below into an enclosed old dark mine with no weapons during a fucking zombie apocalypse.

I hated the character so badly I was wishing the zombies would just kill her already. In fact, I believe that if the whole group came together and decided to kill Sarah at the start of the apocalypse, most of them would have survived by the end of it. She keeps whining throughout, can’t seem to keep up with the rest of the group and is unreasonably stupid.

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Even after Rachel gets ‘scratched’ (apparently, you don’t have to get bit to turn into a zombie) and is clearly turning into one of the undead, Sarah still won’t let anyone kill her, and even after she turns, Sarah keeps telling her to not leave her alone. Really? What the hell is wrong with you?

The horror sequences are just meh… with jump scares galore. The first jump scare gives you a jerk, the second scare gives you a slight tingle, by the third scare you’re already used to it. The jump scares are so overdone that halfway through the movie you no longer give a rat’s ass about getting scared. You just give up and slouch into your chair waiting for it to be over.

 

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The zombies are not your regular Hollywood style, slow moving, decaying corpses. JeruZalem’s zombies are like angels from hell, and I don’t mean that in a scary way. They just grew out wings! And they move real fast and have black pits for eyes.

The new zombie look is quite unique and would have worked well if the directors had actually used them to the movie’s benefit. Instead, they chose to use a POV style of choreography, which is still not the issue. There are plenty of movies that have used POV style and made very effective scares. The issue is this movie doesn’t use either of the techniques very well. Neither are the zombies used properly and nor is the suspenseful POV style used effectively.

And then there’s King Kong who seems to stroll down in between of the movie. Yep, there’s a King Kong zombie too. Just like Cloverfield.

Final Word

What I liked best about the movie was the introduction. The beginning showed a lot of promise, which sadly the rest of the movie didn’t live up to.

Like I said above, the filmmakers had a creative concept, but execution and story plot is where they lacked significantly in terms ingenuity.

JeruZalem is a cliche Z-flick that offers nothing much in terms of horror. If you have nothing else to watch, and just want to veg out in front of a screen, this movie would still be my pick of last resort.

 

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