The opening to this film tells us there are three gates to hell, one of which is under the holy city of Jerusalem. Now of course this can’t be right because Fulci said there were seven, but we’ll go with it for the moment. Two American college girls are coming to the Holy Land sightseeing, so you know what is going to happen.
The film starts very promisingly with footage from a 1970’s era exorcism of a woman risen from the grave. They have a priest, an imam and a rabbi involved, (sounds like the start to a bad joke don’t it?), but they still fail and have to resort to a bullet to the head. This is actually creepy as hell and got my hopes up. Unfortunately we have to wait until the fifty minute mark before anything else of interest happens. The two leads get convinced to go to Jerusalem instead of Tel Aviv, they wander around tourist spots, party in clubs and have sex,(at least we get to see breasts). Apart from a purse snatching it could be a government ad for tourism, and every bit as dull as it sounds.
Then the film’s winged demons appear but it doesn’t really help. What could have been a unique creature is basically treated as a flying zombie. It wastes a great opportunity to do something different. There is also a giant creature of some kind but it is just barely glimpsed and never explained, another wasted opportunity.
The film’s other major problem, at least for me, is it’s a variation on the found footage theme. One of the girls has a pair of Google Glass clones and we see everything through them. While the sex scene viewed through them, (complete with incoming messages from her father about how he trusts her because she’s a good girl), is amusing what it really means is much shaky cam footage as she runs from the creatures. This is made worse by the glasses taking a fall and starting to malfunction adding random lines, static and video to the shaky cam action. The final shots are quite effective, but they don’t make up for the headache inducing footage that comes before it.
Setting a film like this in a city with the history and importance of Jerusalem should have made for a great setting that would give the story plenty of depth. Instead it’s pretty much glossed over and ignored, this really could have been set anywhere.
Jeruzalem could, and really should, have been a great film. Creepy looking and well realized creatures, a perfect setting for this kind of story and an opening that sets your hair on end. Sadly it wastes all of this on a tired and dull script that is basically just another zombie film with some fancy effects.