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New trailer, release date, exclusive directors’ comments: Israeli horror film “JERUZALEM”

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The burgeoning genre-film scene in Israel continues to make inroads into the U.S. with the upcoming release of JERUZALEM. Read on to check out the new trailer and word of the debut date, plus some exclusive words from the creators.

Epic Pictures has announced that JERUZALEM, written and directed by brothers Doron and Yoav Paz (who also produced with Patrick Ewald and Shaked Berenson), will open theatrically on January 22, 2016. Yael Grobglas of RABIES and JANE THE VIRGIN, Danielle Jadelyn, Yon Tumarkin and Tom Graziani star; the synopsis: “JERUZALEM follows Rachel [Grobglas] and her friend Sarah [Danielle Jadelyn], two American girls on vacation in Jerusalem. The two follow Kevin [Tumarkin], a mysterious and handsome anthropology student, into the heart of the Old City. The party is cut short when a biblical prophecy comes to pass on the night of Yom Kippur and Jerusalem’s gate to hell is opened, releasing an epic apocalypse. Trapped between the ancient walls of the holy city, the trio must survive long enough to find a way out as the fury of hell is unleashed upon them.”

The story is told from the point of view of a Google Glass-style eyewear rig worn by Sarah, adding a modern angle to the story of ancient evil. “You see one layer in the back and there’s another layer in the front, because Sarah’s talking to her dad on Whatsapp or whatever,” Yoav tells FANGORIA following the movie’s world premiere at this year’s Fantasia film festival in Montreal. Doron adds, “This is how people consume television or cinema these days; everyone is holding their cell phone in front of the TV, and it’s OK to watch a show and then use the second screen. It’s OK to watch a game show and hold an iPad in your hand and play along, to be a part of it. So it was very appealing for us to make a film with this second-screen technology built in—not just telling the one story, but adding another layer that has a sort of dialogue with the first one.”

Shooting on location in Jerusalem, the brothers indulged in a certain amount guerrilla filmmaking to capture the shots they needed. “The biggest scenes were controlled, like at the Zion Gate,” Doron recalls, “but for the scenes in the really sensitive areas, we needed it do it more low-profile. We didn’t have the money to hire security and get the police to close the streets. When Natalie Portman shot her movie [A TALE OF LOVE AND DARKNESS] in Jerusalem, it was such a big production that they could close the whole streets they needed for it. We had to come up with a different way to do it. We had a lot of difficult experiences while shooting; the locals tried to kick us out once.

“At the Holy Sepulchre,” Yoav says, “they noticed our boom man. I told him to keep back, but he had to come inside with the boom, and then they kicked us out. When you’re shooting on locations like that, you can’t predict what will happen. It was crazy; we spent whole nights running all over the streets of Jerusalem.”

For more on JERUZALEM, head over to the movie’s Facebook page.

About the author
Michael Gingold

Michael Gingold has been a member of the FANGORIA team for the past three decades. After starting as a writer for the magazine in 1988, he came aboard as associate editor in 1990 and two years later moved up to managing editor. He now serves as editor-in-chief of the magazine while continuing to contribute numerous articles and reviews, as well as a contributing editor/writer for this website.

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