Holy Land Hell (Jeruzalem, 2015)

Found Footage films always feel like an attempt to make a movie on the cheap with a hope for big returns. Ghosts are common because they are easy to fake. Sometimes you can strike gold…but frankly, a lot of times you have a forgettable film with wide hollow eyed ghosts in asylums.

This film tries to be something a bit different. At times it reminded me of Cloverfield, but with a religious bent. the film opens with footage and voiceover referring to three gates from hell and one that was discovered. There are glimpses of winged demonic looking creatures being detained by the military.

The film then jumps to two friends planning a trip to visit Isreal. On the plain they meet a handsome archeologist and decide to follow him to Jerusalem. But what they expect to be a fun party time suddenly is shook when the military starts flooding the city and bombing areas. They find themselves locked in the city and along with others seek to avoid the the monsters that seem to be infesting the city and get outside the city walls through tunnels.

The winged demons attack people and then those people start to exhibit behavior not unlike a zombie. It is a race against time to survive.

Like a lot of found footage, the film struggles to justify keeping the camera running. The film has decent looking monsters, even if the early stage is just “black eyes”. But I did find myself curious to get a better idea of the creatures and their motives. There were glimpses of large creature that the Israeli military is firing on, but we never really find out the nature of that.

The film never devolves into a preachy, God’s Not Dead take on religion and really plays up the mystery of the even. Even at the end it is left unclear what brought this all on.

As I noted, the film struggles to justify the main character constantly filming and honestly, they start adding “battle damage” to the picture which is meant to give more realism (hey the lens is cracked!)… but honestly is become kind of annoying.

This is a pretty middle ground found footage film. It will not leave you frustrated…but it is not likely to be one you are talking about long after watching it.

The Lost Broadcast (The Last Broadcast, 1998)

Last_Broadcast_CoverTwo guys who have a cable access show devoted to the paranormal hire a third party for their planned investigation into the veracity of the legend of the Jersey Devil…but only one of the three returned and he was put on trial for the murder of the other two.

The Last Broadcast is the Documentary that seeks to find the truth, believing it possible that the man found guilty of the murder of the other two men may be innocent…and the filmmakers may be on the verge of discovering the true killer.

While mock documentaries are nothing new, they were a rarity for horror in the 1990s. They were mostly the domain of Christopher Guest and comedy. The Last Broadcast plays itself serious for the entire film.  It is interesting to watch it unfold if you can find it.

Remember how I mentioned Kolobos get steamrolled by the Blair Witch Project? Weeeeell… The Last Broadcast was made at about the same time as the Blair Witch, but it actually came out first. Maybe if it had come out a year or two later it could have ridden the wave.  Instead it became largely forgotten.

My only big criticism with the film is upon revealing a twist to the story, it just drops the documentary format entirely for conventional movie story telling.  And this fails to make much sense.  But otherwise, this is a bit of a lost gem.

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