Thursday, January 21, 2016

The Paz Brothers' horror, JERUZALEM offers sex, demons and Armageddon in Israel

Hand-held horror has come to the homeland. Oy.

JERUZALEM -- with that "z" replacing the usual "s" because, I suppose, it looks so cool on the poster image and will remind audiences of World War Z -- is the new film from The Paz Brothers, Doran and Yoav (pictured below, with Yoav on the left). In a word, it's a stinker. After a been-there/done-that opening, the movie seems to settle into a family/computer technology vibe. But only briefly, as our two heroines prepare for their trip to Israel, where, that opening has warned us, bad stuff is gonna happen.

In this film, hallelujah, zombies are given a religious/Biblical bent. (And isn't it about time!) Except that -- uh-oh -- wouldn't this mean that Lazarus must have been the original zombie? For Christ's sake, Jesus -- what did you do here? But I digress. What the two brothers have done is conflate horror movies and religious beliefs with technology, sex and a cell-phone call from dad at the most inappropriate moment. The Pazes' single addition to movie history may be their introduc-tion of "face recognition" into the plotline, but even here, you can see the "surprise" outcome a mile away.

Along with some clunky exposition and information about how The Jerusalem Syndrome can hit you once you reach the holy city, we're given the usual tourist stuff, with a little "Monkey's Paw"--Be Careful What You Wish For" tossed in for good measure (and telegraphed well before the film's halfway point).

The movie biggest problem is its build-up, which seems to take for-fucking-ever. The foreshadowing, too (as our junior- and high-school English teachers loved to point out) is happily present but rather too-insistently accounted for.

Once the action begins, things ought to crescendo. Instead, they keep stopping and starting, over and over, with one detour into a mental institution featuring a ridiculous I'm-not-gonna-leave-my-boyfriend development, after which, the film becomes a hysterically overwrought and very tiresome piece of silly horror, with nearly everything stolen from other, better movies. The creatures, too, once we finally see them (as above), are nothing to write home about and finally grow repetitive.

My favorite line of dialog has one of the girls asking the other, "You're OK, right?" when it is more than clear that she is already half-dead (or half zombie). It is probably not this actress' fault, but her character wins the stupidest, most annoying that I've seen on film in maybe a decade. Out of kindness and cordiality, I will not mention her name but will wait to do that if and when I see her again in something better. Fortunately, this actress is relegated to being the hand-held photographer throughout a great deal of the movie, so we see much less of her (though we do, unfortunately, hear her) than we do her friend.

That friend, and the supposed star of the movie, is a pretty blond actress named Yael Grobglas (shown above and at left, further above) and she does indeed steal what tiny "loot" the film possesses. Only the very up-to-the-minute technological look (or maybe it's only up-to-last-year, considering how fast technology changes) seems at all fresh here. The words FATAL ERROR -- which keep periodically appearing on screen after some technological glitch has occurred to the camera -- describes the entire film to a T. You'd think those Paz boys would have realized they were setting themselves up as their own punch line.

Jeruzalem, released via Epic Pictures Group and running 93 minutes (with enough actual content to fill maybe 45 of those minutes), is said on the distributor's web site to be opening theatrically tomorrow, Friday, January 22. In New York City, however, it does not open until January 29 at the Cinema Village. Whoops! Over the past 24 hours, it has even been removed from the Cinema Village's web site, so I guess we won't see it playing there. Elsewhere? Don't know, but as it is also simultaneously available via VOD, if you're curious, I'm sure you can easily find it. (I just checked Comcast's On-Demand list down here in Florida and, sure enough, there it is.)

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