Yoav and Doran Paz’s JeruZalem (B) is a welcome addition to the found-footage horror genre, with a compelling female-centric viewpoint, a mysterious setting and a surprising portal for storytelling. Two traveling American females winningly played by Yael Grobglas and Danielle Hadelyn meet a young anthropologist, the charming Yon Tumarkin, on a plane to Israel and divert from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem for what becomes a vacation to the gates of hell. In addition to the novelty of on-location shooting in the Holy City, the film’s revelation is that it’s seen through the eyes of a Google Glass type application. Facial recognition, virtual reality avatars, photo freeze-framing and links to popular social networking sites rendered right in front of Hadelyn’s character’s line of sight add a compelling mind’s eye viewpoint into proceedings both commonplace and apocalyptic. Tom Graziani is also a delight as the Arabic host who turns the travelers on to hostels, hummus and hash before the quartet all face horror together. A sinister and sly story for the selfie age, the film suffers a bit when it veers too sharply into the conventions of its genre, and there are missed opportunities to plumb some of the film’s potential religious ramifications; but high production values and a smart POV ultimately win the doomsday.
In Mark Forster’s World War Z (C-), a ham-fisted and improbable zombie adventure, Brad Pitt turns in a vacant-eyed performance to match the sleepwalking screenplay. There are three nice action sequences, one of which will probably not screen on an airplane any time soon.