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19 of 23 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars I don't know...I liked it...
After all the bad stuff I heard about this movie I rented it with pretty low expectations; I just wanted to see the star of my favorite show (Kristen Bell of "Veronica Mars") in a horror film. To my surprise I really got into it. It's not particularly scary, but it's got an amazing look and style to it; definitely made me think of the Silent Hill video games. Bell and...
Published on December 14, 2006 by Matt Gillette

22 of 24 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars While "Pulse" lacks one itself, it is still creepy entertainment.
One third The Ring + two thirds White Noise + a dash of The Terminator = a surprisingly disappointing entry into the current Asian influenced horror flicks.

The plot is simple. It opens with a college student that appears to be following a lead on something happening on campus that few are aware of and what happens to him leads to an epidemic of suicides as...
Published on February 4, 2008 by Steven Hedge

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22 of 24 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars While "Pulse" lacks one itself, it is still creepy entertainment., February 4, 2008
Steven Hedge "Movie Fan" (Somewhere "East of Eden") - See all my reviews
One third The Ring + two thirds White Noise + a dash of The Terminator = a surprisingly disappointing entry into the current Asian influenced horror flicks.

The plot is simple. It opens with a college student that appears to be following a lead on something happening on campus that few are aware of and what happens to him leads to an epidemic of suicides as his girlfriend attempts to unravel the mystery behind his death and those of her friends that follow. There is a lot of psycho-babble drivel thrown around but no one really seems upset about things like we might be in real life. This is a direct result of tepid acting, shallow writing, and pedestrian direction.

The characters in this story are a group of rather unremarkable and stereotypical college students who are all rather forgettable soon after the film is over and that means that this film never really takes off as we never care much for any of them. This is what I meant in my headline that this film actually lacks a pulse. All the males are your typical long, uncombed hair, five o'clock shadow, 20 somethings with little to no personalities. I can barely tell one from the other. The same is true for the women who, although pretty, are shallow personality-wise. This causes the film to lack serious suspense which is created when we care about the characters such as we did with those in "The Ring" and "White Noise".

Speaking of those two outstanding films, this film attempts to mimic elements in them in regards to appearance with its sharp contrasts and washed out colors and the idea that ghosts need conduits to reach us and they don't always play nicely when they do. Both films also relied upon jolting images that suddenly appear (which has become rather old at this point, much like the overuse of CGI effects) In addition, this film attempts to tack on the message that we are too dependent on technology which is reminiscent of themes found in "The Terminator" films. Ironically, the film even has an effectively haunting scene in which we see ghosts all over cities and that reminds one of Night of the Living Dead and 28 Days Later.

So, with all this negativity, why did I still give this film 3 stars, which means it's good and why did I add it to my shopping cart? Well, I like the influence of the Asian horror films in that I like the "look" of them, the creepiness, the jolting, disturbing images, and such even when the whole film isn't that great. In addition, while this film certainly isn't original, I do like the components that are copied from better films. It is still a fun, creepy ride even though we've been on this roller coaster many times before. Lastly, at PG-13 or even the "Unrated" edition this film is one I can watch with my kids (11 and 15). There are no "sex scenes" or anything vividly violent as in a typical "slasher" type film. It's just a creepy film that has some good repeat value.

Do I "recommend" this film. No, not really and especially not to those who have tired of this genre already, but those who like this kind of film no matter how redundant or ill-produced, will get a decent kick out of it.

BTW: In regards to Star Ratings, I've read many discussion comments lately that note that 3 stars is poor on Amazon. I'm not sure where that is coming from as I understand the rating system to be something like this:

* = Poor
** = Fair
*** = Good
**** = Excellent
***** = Outstanding

Just my thoughts on this and I'm sure opinions and interpretations may vary. Happy Viewing!
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33 of 41 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Enough With the Remakes, Already!, August 26, 2006
Felixpath (Vermont, USA) - See all my reviews
"Pulse" comes breezing into theaters as the latest remake of a Japanese horror film. J-horror is lucrative these days, as was demonstrated by "The Ring," "The Grudge," and their sequels. Problem is, something keeps getting lost in translation. In general, Japanese horror films (like much of Japanese culture) involve the clash between the old and the new, between tradition and technology. In "The Ring," a vengeful ghost implanted itself, virus-like, on a VHS tape. In "The Grudge," a jealous murder caused an ordinary house to become possessed by a force of supernatural fury. But while the original films are based around understatement and slowly-mounting terror, the American versions tend to abandon that for a slick production design and lots of "Boo!" moments. While watching "Pulse," all I could think was, same old, same old.

The plot is barely coherent, but I'll do my best. Kristen Bell (from "Veronica Mars") stars as a college student named Mattie who, along with some forgettable friends, goes to the single ugliest school in the country, a dismal maze of industrial concrete, crumbling plaster, rust, cracks, mold, and rot. Their geographic location (Columbus, OH) is never stated, probably to avoid offending the people who live there. You know how college students in movies always live in apartments that they could never afford in real life? "Pulse" overturns that rule by showing us apartments that only a college student would be desperate enough to live in. Everything seems to be in a state of decay -- including Mattie's boyfriend, Josh (Jonathan Tucker) who no one has seen for days. Mattie drops by his apartment to find the place in a disgusting state and Josh looking and acting like a zombie. While she's there, he wanders into a closet and hangs himself. We already know something of Josh's fate: in the film's opening scene, he goes poking around a spooky library and gets attacked by a flickering, half-seen creature. And there was something weird on his computer screen...

While Mattie struggles to get over Josh's demise, more questions pop up. Why'd he do it? Why were his bedroom windows covered in red electrical tape? And if he's dead...who's IM'ing Mattie and her friends from his account? Mattie finds that his computer has vanished from the apartment, but eventually locates its new owner, a two-bit hacker named Dexter (Ian Somerhalder from "Lost," playing more or less the same role). When Dexter plugs in Josh's machine, all he can find is a glowing line of text -- "Do you want to meet a ghost?" -- and some grainy, unsettling video footage of hollow-eyed kids in various stages of suicide. He and Mattie join forces to figure out what's going on, while the supporting characters are systematically dispatched by horror movie clichés. (Never, never, NEVER do laundry alone in the basement!) Mattie herself keeps having encounters with the flickering phantoms, though they never actually attack her, maybe 'cause she has top billing. Meanwhile, fragments of news footage hint that something terrible is happening all over the country, maybe the world. Seems Josh did some hacking of his own, and opened the wrong file, and unleashed....ghosts, or demons, or something. The movie never pauses to explain itself; the new character who pops up near the end to reveal the source of the horror isn't helpful at all. Isn't it weird how characters in a movie can explain so much while explaining nothing? "Silent Hill" had the same problem. The ending of "Pulse" is supposed to be all grim and apocalyptic, but all I could think was: Yay! They're finally away from that butt-ugly school! I mean, if I had to attend there, I'd be pretty suicidal too.

"Pulse" isn't a total loss, though its best elements are still pretty derivative. The production design is moody and atmospheric, saturating the screen with melancholy blues and greens -- too bad "The Ring" already used that trick. The sound design is jagged and unsettling and serves to heighten what little tension there is -- but again, it's nothing that hasn't screeched and crackled and gurgled on soundtracks before. The special effects are sufficiently polished and provide us with some of the best moments, as the cyber-ghosts waver and jitter across the screen and their victims, sucked dry of their will to live, disintegrate into patches of black mold. The actors do the best they can with what little they've got -- I like Bell, Somerhalder, and Christina Milian (as Mattie's best friend), and I wished they were in a movie that gave them more than one emotional state. (Bell is "Angsty," Milian is "Sassy," and Somerhalder is "Just Plain Out Of It.") Oh, and creepy character actor Brad Dourif ("Lord of the Rings," "Child's Play," "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest," and about a million other things) pops up in a random cameo, the subtext of which is "Look! It's creepy character actor Brad Dourif in a random cameo!"

I guess the bottom line is...stick with the Japanese original. "Pulse" isn't an awful movie, just an uninspired one. I can't think of anything in the film that I hadn't already seen. Decades from now, "Pulse" will probably be shown in film study classes as a prime example of how, at the start of twenty-first century, Hollywood had barely an original idea in its head. Maybe that's why the cyber-ghost-demon-things are so intent on wiping us out: hiding in their digital lair, spying on humanity, they said to each other, "Enough is enough! Let's take over the planet before the humans make a bland, assembly-line horror movie about us! Oops, too late."
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19 of 23 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars I don't know...I liked it..., December 14, 2006
Matt Gillette (Hillsdale, MI USA) - See all my reviews
After all the bad stuff I heard about this movie I rented it with pretty low expectations; I just wanted to see the star of my favorite show (Kristen Bell of "Veronica Mars") in a horror film. To my surprise I really got into it. It's not particularly scary, but it's got an amazing look and style to it; definitely made me think of the Silent Hill video games. Bell and the rest of the cast provide better acting than most movies of this nature. Overall I really got caught up in the film. "Pulse" is nowhere near as good as "The Ring," but it's definitely better than "The Ring Two" and "The Grudge" movies. Worth a rental at least.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not nearly as mind-numbingly stupid as most JNH remakes., August 24, 2006
Pulse (Jim Sonzero, 2006)

Okay, the good news: Pulse was a whole lot better than I expected it to be, given that it's an adaptation of a Japanese horror film, is directed by an unknown, is scripted by the long-past-his-prime Wes Craven, is cast with the usual young-and-beautiful TV actors, and bears little resemblance to the original film. (I attribute this betterness to the complete absence of Roy Lee.)

The bad news: it's certainly not the film it could have been.

But this is beside the point. The real point of this review is to ask a question that has, previously, been a hypothetical one for film snobs like me: why don't we get good remakes of Japanese horror films in America? Because, folks, this question is no longer hypothetical (and I can no longer attempt to answer it with "Roy Lee"). I can tell you exactly why it is.

What is it that makes Pulse stand head and shoulders over your basic Japanese horror film remake? One thing: where Japanese horror films do a lot of leaving of gaps and making the viewer work for it (and Kairo, Kiyoshi Kurosawa's original film, is notorious for this), American horror films, and especially those that are remakes of Japanese horror films, fill in those gaps. The viewer isn't supposed to work at all when watching a Hollywood horror film. Now, Pulse does fill in some of the gaps in the usual Hollywood way, but it leaves a number of them. And guess what it is that American reviewers, critics, pundits, and armchair quarterbacks are complaining about? You got it-- the fact that the viewer has to work is being lambasted, and the movie is being called "disorganized" and "incoherent." So why won't you get good remakes of Japanese horror films in America? Because the American public doesn't want them. They were destined to think this movie sucks.

And it doesn't, really. Sure, it's not Kairo. And there are some silly missteps, and a couple of scenes that appear for the sole purpose of throwing in special effects (the "elevator scene" from the trailer, with the two little ghost kids, is a prime example), but overall it works. It's certainly miles better than the recent horrors that were the remakes of Dark Water, The Hills Have Eyes (see? We can't even remake American movies right!), The Grudge, The Ring Two, etc. etc.

Mattie Webber (Veronica Mars vixen Kristen Bell) is a university student in Columbus, Ohio. [feel free to insert jokes about Columbus liberally throughout the rest of this review.] Her boyfriend Josh (Jonathan Tucker, recently of Hostage and the Texas Chainsaw Massacre remake) has been out of contact for a week, so she heads over to his apartment to see what he's up to. While she's there, he commits suicide. Mattie and the rest of her friends-- roommate Isabell (Torque's Christina Millian), Stone (Roll Bounce's Rick Gonzalez), and Tim (Samm Levine, whose small role in Broken Lizard's Club Dread is unforgettable) try to figure out why Josh killed himself-- and why his suicide seems to have sparked a rash of others, along with an even bigger wave of simple disappearances. Eventually, Dexter (Lost's Ian Somerhalder), who bought Josh's old computer from his landlady, also gets roped into things. (I can't really stick it in a quick plot summary, but I feel compelled to point out that there's a quick, and absolutely wonderful, Brad Dourif cameo here that almost made me stand up and cheer.) There's an abundance of red duct tape, as well.

As I said before-- you're going to have to work for this. If you go to the theater expecting to turn your brain off and watch mindless action, Pulse is not the film for you. Sonzero is not going to hand you everything on a plate, spelled out in Alpha-Bits. You will have some dots to connect. (It probably helps to have seen the original, as well.) But with some thinking, it's pretty easy to grasp. The real star of the show here, though, is the subtlety with which things are shown as Sonzero builds up to his big, but quite understated, revelations. "Subtle" is not a word one is often able to use with Hollywood productions. This could be another reason the film is charged with incoherence; people weren't paying attention. Man, wouldn't that be a surprise?

The movie's biggest flaw, especially in comparison with its predecessor, is the ending-- specifically, Kristen Bell's "let's spell out the big underlying theme" voiceover, which is utterly unnecessary, not to mention surprising in a film that had delivered it so well up until then. Points off for stupidity on Craven's part.

But the best thing about this movie, perhaps, has nothing to do with the movie itself-- it was coming out of the theatre and watching everyone immediately reach for their cell phones. I just sat and watched them and chuckled to myself. ***
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9 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Ghosts in the Machine, August 11, 2006
A very noticeable feature of "Pulse" is its consistently monochromatic color scheme; every shot is drenched in grainy, unpleasing shades of blue and gray. It gave the film quite a surreal quality, as if it were filmed with an obsolete form of celluloid. What a perfect look for a horror movie, especially for one that revolved around computer technology and online video feeds. It works even better when a series of cyberspace ghosts are added to the mix. We never get a real sense of what they look like (which I found effective), but based on some very distinct glimpses, I gathered that they're pale, grayish figures, and they flicker in and out of our world like random computer glitches. Their presence gave legitimacy to the moody visuals, and that made the movie much more entertaining. I also enjoyed the dialogue; it remained true to horror movies without getting hokey. And no wonder; the screenplay was co-written by Wes Craven, a true master at creating believable dialogue.

In the tradition of films like "The Ring" and "The Grudge," "Pulse" is an American remake of a Japanese horror movie. "Kairo"--released in 2001 and directed by Kiyoshi Kurosawa--was just as much a social statement as it was a supernatural thriller, focusing on isolation in the midst of a highly technological world. This emphasis on humanity could be one of the reasons why the American version was at times is a little difficult to follow; it was as if certain things were purposely meant to be ambiguous, despite the fact that the audience is dying to know what the hell is going on. Spirits are entering the world of the living via the Internet, evil spirits that supposedly want life again. Even though their motive is not exactly crystal clear, we are given enough of an explanation to keep us from lapsing into total confusion.

It all starts when one of the ghosts attacks a college student named Josh (Jonathan Tucker). He had been wandering around a school library looking for someone named Douglas Zieglar (Kel O'Neill). Why he was attacked and what he wanted with Zieglar is unknown. All anyone does know is that he's now acting incredibly strange. Mattie (Kristen Bell) had been worried about him for days; not only has he not been returning her calls, he also leaves a single, ominous message on her answering machine. When she decides to see him, she fails to grasp why he's become so detached and why his apartment is in shambles. Papers are all over the floor. Dust and dirt coat everything. The food in the refrigerator is covered with maggots. There's even a dying cat in his closet (why this had to be included is beyond me). He ultimately commits suicide right in front of Mattie, which understandably leaves her angry, confused, and scared. Luckily, her friends--Izzie (Christina Milian), Stone (Rick Gonzales), and Tim (Sam Levine)--are all there to support her.

One night, while sending each other instant messages over the Internet, someone with the screen ID "Josh" repeatedly sends each of these characters a message saying, "Help me." Initially unwilling to accept this as a supernatural occurrence, Mattie attempts to locate Josh's computer and find out who's behind the message. She tracks it down to a man named Dexter McCarthy (Ian Somerhalder), a gruff-looking loner type. During their meeting, Mattie discovers two things: 1) the computer is not even plugged in, and 2) it's still in the trunk of Dexter's car.

That's when all the bad things start to happen, not just to the main characters, but to all of the American public, as well. The news continually reports a massive rise in suicides, none of which seem to be connected. But when Dexter opens Josh's hard drive, things start falling into place. It contains scores of video captures, all of which don't reveal too much to the audience other than some cryptic, disturbing imagery. We're led to believe that they're videos of people killing themselves. However, we never actually see it happen; what we do see are blank, expressionless faces, ones that seem genuinely tired of living. We also see the blurry image of a ghost in the background, hinting at some kind of possession. But the fact is that we don't really know what's going on; death is only insinuated, not spelled out for us.

Still, the videos are effectively creepy in their simplicity; they each had a distinctly underground feel to them, as if a snuff website had been hacked into. What makes them even creepier is that they somehow get sent to everyone's computer, each time preceded by the question, "Would you like to meet a ghost?" When the link is clicked, the videos play, giving the ghosts access to our world. They then attack anyone in their path, sucking the will to live directly out of their bodies.

The only thing that seems to keep these spirits at bay is special red tape, first seen covering the windows and door of Josh's bedroom. Three days before he died, he sent Mattie a three-pack of the stuff through the mail. Attached was a note saying, "It keeps them out. Don't know why." Maybe it interferes with their frequency. Maybe it's too strong to let electronic signals penetrate it.

Maybe I'm analyzing the specifics too deeply; all that matters is that the tape is the one and only method of protection. (Did anyone but me see the connection to duct tape and a nuclear attack?) And people are going to need a lot of it. That's because the ghosts are spreading everywhere, and it's all because they can travel through a computer signal. The cities are no longer safe, and panic inevitably ensues. Ultimately, the survivors are forced to flee towards technology-free areas called dead zones (which is a fancy name for an undeveloped area). Only one hope remains: a computer virus that Josh had been developing. If Dexter and Mattie can locate Zieglar and upload the virus into their city's hard drive, things just might go back to normal.

Will they succeed? I obviously can't say, and I'm sure most people won't find that aspect of the story interesting. However, the fact that this remake is also making a social statement can't be easily overlooked. Technology is very much the enemy in this story; the ghosts use it purely as a means of control and domination over those that are living. The symbolism in "Pulse" is in no way subtle. Granted, the message it's giving isn't exactly new. But the way it's given certainly is, and I think that's what I liked the most about it. Yes, it seems like an average, meaningless horror movie on the surface, but underneath, I think it's actually trying to say something.

However, it's open for debate whether or not it's trying to say something important. It may not be saying anything at all; maybe it truly is just a meaningless horror film, solely created to scare the audience. "Pulse" doesn't leave you with definite answers, even when explanations are given. The plot is a mixture of pop out scares, psychological analyses, and technological phobias, all of which initially seem incompatible but eventually come together nicely. If it weren't for the fact that there's no gore, sex, or nudity, I could say that there's something in it for every kind of horror movie fan. But that's all right; much like life, you have to take what's offered and make the best of it. This is a very adequate horror movie, and it's sure to please anyone looking for a decent ghost story.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars "Why Are We Watching This Again?", December 11, 2006
Ahh, Kristen Bell jumps from the CW to the big screen with America's recent adaptation of the horror movie, Pulse. It does me good to see my Veronica Mars' heroine on the big screen where she attempts to command the stage in this lukewarm horror movie.

Bell plays Mattie, a smart and witty girl who is dating a depressed and somewhat reclusive Josh...or so we are lead to believe. After Josh goes M.I.A. Mattie decides to visit him at his apartment to find him acting odd. He looks pale and lifeless as he tells Mattie to "wait here" while he commits suicide.

Nothing new for our Mars' heroine right? She solved the death of Lily Kane, so this one should be a cake walk. But unfortunately, Mattie doesn't have daddy dearest by her side nor the elements of reality.

After getting several messages from Josh on her computer after his death, Mattie decides to do a little detective work. She tracks his computer down to a Dexter McCarthy, and finds what is on his hard drive truly disturbing. "Do You Wanna See A Ghost," the computer asks, as it later turns out that Josh has let these creatures loose from the computer and is now accessible through any electronic device. Mattie is not going up against any rapists or has been movie stars in this one, she is going up against the dead.

So what are these creatures motives? The chance to be given life again and that's what they take from our batch of characters, including a lifeless performance by pop sensation Christina Millian. Bell's character is strong, with a backbone and a sense that reality can be bent and there is something supernatural that can't be explained. After all, how else can these suicides be constantly occuring and teachers walking in front of buses. Not to mention that the student population is dramatically on the decline and Mattie is the only one who seems to notice.

"It's coming for us. It's the end of the world," says the man at the local diner. Followed by a few jolts from our pale friends and the creepiness of hearing them through the walls, the film really can't make the audience jump like viewers would want, but it is complicated to make that happen these days. After all, everything now is "been there, done that" territory.

As for the script, it does not offer much with character background except for Mattie and Josh and pales in comparison to other characters. However, it does shed some light on the Kairo adaptation to explain the odd shadows on the walls and how the creatures are stealing the lives of others.

For 90 minutes, the movie does offer some entertainment. Minor chills, minor suspense, but huge on the computer animation makes this movie a decent film to watch for the fun of it. So unless you got a date with someone on the internet or a better movie to watch, grab some red tape and journey on what is to believed the unknown.

But you may tend to ask yourself the same question Mattie did to Dexter when first looking at Josh's computer; "Why are we watching this again?" For sure entertainment, Mattie. Sure entertainment.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A MISUNDERSTOOD AND UNDERAPPRECIATED FILM 9 OUT OF 10, May 29, 2009
I was disappointed in the negative reviews of Pulse, I can't deny I loved this film. Sure it's another American remake of an Asian horror film, but that's not necessarily a bad thing when it's done well. People complained this film had a jumbled plot and it was boring, it does have a jumbled plot, but I really got into it from the get-go. Still, I would have to caution anyone who watches it, but if you like horror films that are out of the ordinary, Pulse is a good rent.
WHAT IT'S ABOUT: Matty and her friends are basically normal college kids. Between studying, there's their active social life through hanging out, texting, and talking to each other in chatrooms online. But Matty notices something strange about her boyfriend Josh; he isn't acting like himself and doesn't return her calls. When she goes over to his apartment to investigate, it's a filthy mess, and then Josh suddenly hangs himself with a phone chord. No one knows exactly why he killed himself, but answers start to pop up when a guy named Dexter buys Josh's old computer from the apartment. He finds a video showing different people killing themselves on a webcam and that Josh kept a video diary. Meanwhile, Matty's life is going straight to hell. People are disappearing and another person commits suicide when she's around. Then her friends start dying around her after being attacked by cyber ghosts that are infecting computers all over the world. Now Matty and Dexter must unravel what's going on, why, and how to stop it.
MUSIC: This music has a nice creepy vibe that fits well with it. Too bad it comes and goes and isn't there all the time.
ACTION: This film actually provides a sense of fear and dread and is executed quite well. I loved the special effects used in this film and really liked how the set pieces for the film were designed along with the ghosts. This is one of the few horror films that actually gave me a true sense of fear and dread.
ACTING: The actors seemed fairly convincing, even the lead actress Kristen Bell was good, something that can be rarely said about women in horror films. She seemed very convincing and played her role quite well. For the most part the actors were good, and any actors that weren't quite on par with the good ones died off quickly. However, there were some moments of bad acting and dialogue, but not from the main characters. Overall, the acting is quite good.
OVERALL: Rental. I loved this film, but people are mixed about it. If you're tired of the usual crappy slasher films, then Pulse may provide a good time.
THE GOOD: The acting, the music, the moments that fill you with despair, the set and monster designs, and the special effects.
THE BAD: The film does get a bit boring and some moments of bad acting and dialogue.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Yet Another J-Horror Remake, February 11, 2008
"Pulse" is neither thrilling nor scary. I'm sorry to say this, but that's my impression. Some of the film's gloomy images of the deserted buildings and their interiors are effectively shot, but the story about some otherworldly existence coming through the internet to the physical world needs more refreshing approach than dark-lit library, strange images reflected in the mirror, or young men and women screaming and running around.

Kristen Bell is Mattie, whose boyfriend, she finds, is terribly depressed. She later discovers the true reason of his trouble in the strange images stored in his PC. The story looks like a rip-off of "The Ring" (or "The Ringu" if you like), but the difference is that the spooky entity behind the small screen is far more powerful than a ghost-like little girl coming out of a well.

As you know this is a remake of Kiyoshi Kurosawa's "Kairo" (aka "Pulse") made in 2001. He is often associated with such Japanese directors as Hideo Nakata and Takashi Shimizu, but Kurosawa is the most European in his filmmaking. He opts for slower narrative and less explanation that is fascinating to some viewers, frustrating to others. Whatever your reaction may be, this measured pace and ambiguity is his strength, so retelling Kurosawa's tale literally does not make much sense because in his case tension comes not from the logics, but from the atmosphere. His is like a zombie film without zombies, but surely Hollywood studio thought differently, inserting CG-created images here and there.

Where Kurosawa's "Kairo" successfully builds up the tension by not telling much about what is really going on, "Pulse" (or its characters) talks too much, trying unnecessarily hard to explain the logics of the "invasion." I am talking about the theories of red duct tapes, black ashes on the wall, and the means of infection. The more the characters talk about them, the sillier the film becomes and in fact that is exactly what happens in the final 15 minutes.

It is not just the reported studio tinkering and the clichéd narrative that considerably damaged the remade film. It is that you just cannot remake some kind of film and "Kairo" is one of them.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Was almost decent until....., April 7, 2007
they introduced the RED TAPE. Uhmmm that made the whole movie null and void for me. After that it just seemed like a very drawn out Veronica Mars "Halloween" episode.


This film is about evil spirits who have a vendetta against pc's, cellphones, and PDA's. God forbid you own either or else you will be visited by one of these beings. Forget about being killed on the spot. It just makes you so depressed you want to commit suicide or better yet you turn into what looks like remnants of an ashtray. Oh but wait, theres more you can keep the spirits at bay w/ red electrical tape. Sounds preposterous right?! Well it is.

To sum up, this movie was a hot "thrown together at the last minute" mess.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars If the Internet is Evil. . ., August 20, 2006
Going into "Pulse" my expectations had this film as a possible Worst Movie of the Year candidate. First, it was pushed back on the release schedule, then not screened for critics, then ravaged by critics. When I told my friend at work that I was going to see it I was accused of being stupid and having the hots for Kristen Bell. And while both of those things may be true, my system for selecting movies is 100% random (lots of coin tosses are involved), so there was no stopping me. What I found was a serviceable genre film that at least had enough box office strength to fill the Times Square theatre I saw it in. However, despite a few interesting ideas "Pulse" is a minor failure. Kristen Bell, one of our brightest young actresses, helps make the point that TV is a more relevant medium than film in 2006. Why watch her play an idiot on the big screen when you can watch her play a smart, confident, funny female role model on the small screen? But horror is the new comedy and people didn't show up for a female role model. People do show up to be part of a communal experience in which you don't watch the movie, you experience it.

The film seemed to be going for a creepy vibe as opposed to a downright scary or violent one. For most of the film this vibe worked. I didn't care about the characters, but I did care about the world they inhabited. I especially liked the use of red to enhance to mood. The plot involves a group of vapid teenagers who succumb to creatures that are sneaking through the internet. Unfortunately, it doesn't always make sense. Some characters go live in another dimension, some vanish into thin air, some develop nasty black stains all over their body. I was scared a few times but never felt as though director Jim Sonzero earned them. The scares were telegraphed from a mile away and I blame the theatre atmosphere more than filmmaking skills for those scares. Had I been watching this film on DVD the number of scares I experienced would probably have been zero.

The main point of the film is clearly to indict our not too bright younger generation and their over-reliance on communication technology. Early on Mattie (Bell) proclaims that her relationship with her boyfriend had been reduced to text messaging, and that she is avoiding her mother's phone calls. In other words, she is sleepwalking through her relationships, the most human or human experiences. And modern technology is helping her do this. Then later, when the characters start being struck by the internet monsters they become zombiefied shells of humanity, and then they die. The point is really driven home by the fact that Mattie is constantly carrying around her cell phone (like all teens and 20-somethings I know). That a certain cell phone provider obviously paid for product placement is beyond ironic. ***
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