Pulse (Kairo) review by The Grim Ringler


Ok, I am officially unhip. I dont get it. I have seen Pulse twice now and I just dont get it. I dont get the crazy hype and the insane amount of love that horror fans are giving it. Yes, its good. Yes, its different. So what? What I admire about the film, in all honesty, is the way it examines the Japanese culture. This is a culture that was always very connected to nature, and self, and was very founded in the pursuit of knowledge, based on the popular religions. And now they are tech nerds obsessed with the next gadget. I love that Pulse shines a light on this and seems to ask what are we becoming. But, it doesnt mean I love the film.

A man accessing the web for the first time is taken to a bizarre website that seems to show someone sitting alone in a chair under dim lighting. This image is scary enough but the message that follows do you want to see a ghost? is more than he can handle and he turns the computer off. In the middle of the night the computer turns itself back on, dials the net, and loads the website again. In another part of the city co-workers at a botanical garden center are worried about a friend they work with who has been missing for a few days. When one of the women goes to his apartment to find him they arrive in time for his suicide. This suicide proves to be the first of many that strikes the city and with these deaths there is the question why? As the women at the garden search for clues to what is going on, and link up with the man and the mysterious internet problem, they all find that something is happening to the city and its people that is far more frightening than they could have ever imagined. It seems that the world of spirits has reached a point where it is filled to capacity and there is no more room for them there. They have found a rift though that allows them to sneak into our own world and so they begin appearing in the land of the living as phantoms, desperate to be seen. They do not come in peace though, wanting to be left alone. No. These spirits, knowing that there is no more room for the dead, want to make sure that no more people die, hoping to give humans mortality in the most horrible of ways. The plan of the dead is to trap humans in loneliness, making them not living, not dead, but trapped in between, shadows that stain the place they succumbed to their sorrow. As the world begins to waver, the living falling victim to the pervasive loneliness that has been just under the surface but is now loosed by the spirits of the dead, those that yet live try desperately to find sense and safety, though both are becoming harder and harder to find.

I had seen a friends bootleg of this almost a year ago and had been terribly disinterested in it, thinking it far too heady for its own good. But a friend was so adamant that I give it another chance that I felt I had to. Upon a second viewing, I can see that this isnt a bad movie, that its well made, well acted, and has a lot to say, but sadlyits trying to say TOO much. The idea is great, and the take on loneliness and death are fantastic, but its almost like there is too much plot for one movie. I felt like I was missing plot from time to time. The fact that this all escalates so quickly and badly also made me scratch the noggin a bit. What frustrates me is that there is some great stuff here. The atmosphere is pitch perfect. The ghosts are great. There really is a palpable feeling of dread and sorrow. And this is a very interesting story. Alas, it just doesnt work for me. As slow as the first two-thirds of the film is, it speeds past huge plot points at the end and it confused the hell out of me. This just seems like a case where the elements were there, but not put together right.

A lot of people will love this film. It is slow, creepy, and methodical. And a lot of people will get the crap scared out of them. For me it was a missed opportunity. If you are a fan of the genre, check it out. I think that this is a step forward from the usual ghost stories that have been coming out of Asia, and its great to see a more thoughtful horror film, but the film cant get itself out of the mire too much plot creates and for me, its a good film and no more. See it for yourself and see what you think.


7 out of 10 Jackasses
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