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'JeruZalem' Israeli horror film suffers in a found-footage purgatory

In the Israeli horror film "JeruZalem," Jewish American besties Rachel (Yael Grobglas) and Sarah (Danielle Jadelyn) on an overseas party swing through the Holy City get unfortunately rerouted into the ultimate of good-time killers, the apocalypse. The biblical gates of hell open — you can guess what the "Z" in the title stands for — and trap the young women within the ancient walls.

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Brother writers-directors Yoav and Doron Paz's nifty idea for a piece of ghoulish movie tourism, though, becomes stale because of the overused found-footage storytelling style, for years a creative albatross in horror, a reality-resembling novelty that now feels melodramatically unreal. (Here, the viewpoint is rendered via Sarah's computerized eyewear, though we never hear the words "Google Glass.")

Despite getting plenty of location pizazz from filming in Jerusalem, with its bustling life and sacred monuments, it's business as usual for a low-budget found-footage scare flick: everyday (boring) scenes are perfectly clear, while the down-and-dirty stuff — namely the winged, flesh-eating beasts that terrorize in the final third — suddenly gets shaky, fuzzy, dim and digitized. By a certain point, "JeruZalem" is just a wobble-a-thon with incessant screaming and a predictable trajectory for its leading ladies, even if the final, arresting image of a malevolently transformed skyline makes one wish a more enticing, original road had led there.

"JeruZalem"

MPAA rating: R for horror violence, language throughout, some sexuality and nudity and brief drug use

Running time: 1 hour, 27 minutes

Playing: Laemmle Ahrya Fine Arts, Beverly Hills

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