Posted in Other Media

A to Z Blogging Challenge 2021: Horror Movies J

#AtoZChallenge 2021 April Blogging from A to Z Challenge letter J


Year: 2015
Runtime: 1h 34m
Rated: R

Directors: Doron Paz, Yoav Paz (as The PAZ brothers)

Writers: Doron Paz, Yoav Paz

Stars: Yael Grobglas, Yon Tumarkin, Danielle Jadelyn

Initial: There are a dearth of horror movies that begin with the letter J…

Production Notes: An Israeli production, which is something of a saving grace, giving the proceedings at least a little authenticity.

What Did I Think:
Found footage, except not really “found.” More like, a first-person film which we watch while it happens, except not that either really because there are pauses in the action as though cut, like a movie instead of a stream… But, let’s not think about *that* too much. The footage stunt here: our protagonist is wearing a pair of smart glasses (presumable Google Glass). The glasses film and there are occasional overlays of apps like facial recognition (with social media connection), navigation, Wikipedia, music and even games. So, the whole movie is shot as though through the eyes of Sarah as she takes a trip to Jerusalem where Bad Things Happen.

For the first half of the movie, this sort of works. Early in her stay, Sarah’s bag is snatched and she chases after the perpetrator (a kid). The sequence is kind of tense as she careens, alone, through darkened alleys. We don’t know where she’s going, how lost she’s going to get, or if something else is going to happen. The point of view adds to the confusion and the audience is disoriented.

The second half of the movie, though, ended up feeling too much like a video game. When things start to happen, much of the movie is running, following other characters, dodging dangers that are too big (literally) to face—sort of like the beginning of Skyrim when your no-level character follows an NPC through town while it’s under dragon attack. Maybe you lose the NPC, but the game contrives to bring you back together so the NPC can deliver more of the tutorial in bad dialog and perfectly framed in your view. Plus, the Glass conceit puts Sarah in the position of following the action. We most often see her friends backs as they run. Following scared characters isn’t as effecting as seeing their faces.

This isn’t a terrible movie. The setting of Jerusalem is somewhere I haven’t been often in movies. The characters are tolerable (though I’m not sure what accent Yon Tumarkin was going for). The plot is more similar to [REC] (2007) than the average zombie movie. It’s kind of a shame that it was burdened with the whole smart glasses thing.

All the posts for this challenge. Or, find me on Letterboxd.