STARRING: Kristen Bell, Ian Somerhalder, Christina Milian, Rick Gonzalez, Jonathan Tucker

2006, 87 Minutes, Directed by: Jim Sonzero

Description: Based on the Japanese horror movie Kairo, Pulse centers on a group of college students who discover that a computer hacker friend of theirs unwittingly pirated a strange wireless signal that opened a doorway for a terrifying evil to cross over into the world. As it spreads, everyone in its path is consumed, and the students must race to find a way to stop it.

In Pulse cell phone signals are used to bring ghosts into the real world and here you were thinking that all cell phones could be blamed for were exuberant bills, rude behavior by users and brain cancer!

Like The Ring and The Grudge, Pulse is of course a remake of a Japanese horror movie. The movie's name was Kairo (Japanese for Pulse) and it was a genuinely creepy and frightening movie. This remake however is an okay-ish horror flick (even though it tries too hard to scare its audiences) until the halfway mark when the screenwriters suddenly felt the compunction to redundantly try to explain all the hitherto unexplained events in the movie.

In the process they merely state the obvious, as if audiences weren’t clever enough to figure it out on their own and needed characters to explain what were happening onscreen. There is a reason why it is called the Unexplained, you know. It is at this point that Pulse merely starts coming across as ridiculous. The original Japanese movie was often incomprehensible and had a dreamy surreal feel to it, factors which actually worked to the film’s benefit.

Also, there are some serious clunkers of dialogue too, which will illicit unintended laughter. My favorites were:

“I tried to format the hard drive, but it [the computer] wouldn’t let me!” (That’s what you get for using Windows XP, I thought.)

“They [the ghosts] take away one’s will to live.” (A bit like sitting through this movie one supposes.)

Also, two hammy cameo performance turns are so over-the-top that they had the audience I was with chuckling in appreciative bemusement. (One involved a disheveled “prophetic” nut case in a diner – what else? A character tradition as old as the genre itself. “Beware the full moon and stick to the roads” and all that.) Add to this some gratuitous overuse of CGI that leaves nothing to the imagination and you’re left with a film that squanders whatever promise there may have been in the original storyline. To add to the insult there isn’t even some nudity something which even the worst 1980s slasher flicks knew they had to provide despite a bath scene involving actress Kristen Bell.

Rather check out the original movie . . .



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