Some young people are celebrating, recording everything they do, and things are going really wel,l when suddenly all hell breaks lose and, with the help of the military, they try to escape lots of small monsters and one really big one you see in passing now and then, only to end up in dark underground passages where they aren't alone. One of the young girls has been bitten and is starting to change...
Yes, Cloverfield really was great, wasn't it? But this description is for Jeruzalem, a shameless rip off / homage of several movies, of which Cloverfield and World War Z are the most imitated.
Here, a couple of young American girls are heading to Israel for a backpacking holiday, as one recovers from the death of her brother. They befriend a fellow traveller, an anthropologist with an interest in the occult and religion, and together they stay in a hostel in Jerusalem. But the holiday becomes a nightmare of biblical proportions when a gateway to hell is opened and the gated city goes into lockdown as winged demons appear and a bloody big thing, that's impossible to make out, strolls around in the distance. Trapped, their only way out is to venture underground, where a series of caves and tunnels could lead them beyond the city walls. Oh, and one of the girls is wearing a nifty pair of smart glasses, and we see the entire film through them.
As you can imagine, the film does have a certain sense of deja vu about it. Holidaying Americans in trouble? Check. Weird locals offering a strong sense of foreboding? All present and correct. Authority figures unable to help when the chaos reigns down? You betcha. Yes, we've seen it all before. But on the plus side, writer/directors The Yaz Brothers, spend their time building things up, so we do get a genuine sense of the city, and it's nice to see an apocalyptic invasion film set somewhere other than LA for a change. Once the carnage starts, there are some quite atmospheric sequences and the demons themselves, all wide of mouth, tortured of soul and ragged of wing, are pretty creepy and provide a couple of good jumps.
On the minus side, towards the end there's too much running about, so the action becomes a little repetitive. Some of the acting is a bit hokey too, and the main character, Sarah, who wears the snazzy glasses, starts to grate with her endless whining.
But the glasses are the key to what makes the film stand slightly above some of the worst examples of the 'found footage' sub-genre of horror. As you're seeing through the eyes of the main character, you're also getting other snippets of info as she does, like maps popping up, to show where you are, photos being taken as she snaps her holiday, Skype calls with her Dad, old photos and, importantly, facial recognition, something which brings about a nice little twist towards the end.
So whilst it's hardly going to top any lists, is it worth 90 minutes if you're a fan of horror good or bad? Hell, yes!
JERUZALEM / CERT: 15 / DIRECTORS & SCREENPLAY: DORON PAZ, YOAV PAZ / STARRING: YAEL GROBGLAS, DANIELLE JADELYN, YON TUMARKIN / RELEASE DATE: 4TH APRIL