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Overall Rating

Awesome: 3.85%
Worth A Look: 0%
Average: 7.69%
Pretty Bad: 40.38%
Total Crap48.08%

5 reviews, 22 user ratings

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Pulse (2006)
[] Buy posters from this movie
by William Goss

"It’s The End Of The World As We Know It (And I’m Online)"
2 stars

Remake an R-rated horror film, bump it down to a financially-friendly PG-13, cast two TV stars – one of whom is from 'Lost' – and remove all genuine scares, suspense, spookiness, or otherwise effective filmmaking, and voila! You have "The Fog." Oh, wait... They pulled this shit again?

After her boyfriend kills himself, Mattie (Kristen Bell) and friends investigate the mystery behind his death, which may be connected to a growing trend of suicides and disappearances at and around their über-gloomy college campus, naturally located in Columbus, Ohio. Sure enough, there are ghosts in the machine, and the whole plot devolves into little else than her teaming up with a hacker (Ian Somerhalder), as they stare pensively into computer monitors, where viewers wouldn’t be the least bit surprised if a plot development arrived as an instant message that read “Like, OMG! This is so formatted for Macs instead! LOL!”, and their pals wander off unaccompanied to dimly-lit locations and certain doom as all college students are prone to do.

The beauty of the original Pulse (or Kairo) was that the world did indeed go out with a whimper, a subtle apocalypse for which there was no end and from which there was no escape. Instead of another pale-girl-with-long-black-hair spookfest, viewers found themselves considering the inevitable implication that one didn’t have to die in order to become a ghost, particularly in a society that is steadily whittling away at basic human connection with the dual dynamics of isolation and convenience, a notion nearly as unnerving as the understated creepiness that permeated the entire film.

However, as with all American adaptations, the natural intent of a Stateside remake is conveyed in a single line of dialogue: “We’re gonna get some answers.” Oh, come on. What happened to good old-fashioned ambiguity? Ah, those were the days. (Or were they…?) No, what we get instead is a diluted translation that is typically heavy on story and light on scares, even growing repetitive as the all-too-literal exposition is dragged out and the ensemble is knocked off in rather unremarkable fashion. A little less conversation, a little more anything else taking place, preferably something actually frightening, would have been nice. Exposition-wise, the filmmakers could have cut through all the red tape (an item which allegedly prevents the ghosts from ente-- you know what, it’s just better not to ask) and left the threat a vague menace, but then 86 minutes would have been even harder to pad than it already is. A crucial web page plays more like a snuff site than a portal to the world of the dead, just one of many moments not only drawing overwrought reactions from the cast, but also evoking long-buried memories of Feardotcom and White Noise, which may actually be the greater threat to humankind. But I digress…

As far as fare like this goes, there’s the requisite snooping around the kitchen (roaches and maggots and Weinsteins, oh my!), the ever-ominous lecture about physical, virtual, and other stalking as a means of fulfilling a desire (hmmm…), and the expected studio tinkering that leaves a striking suicide sequence transplanted from the original and shown in the commercials on the cutting room floor, while another similar scene is suspiciously fleeting in its inclusion (a likely money-making move as usual: PG-13 now to lure in the teens, unrated DVD later to lure in any other suckers – see also: Cursed, Darkness, Stay Alive). We even get the addition of a recently reshot ending, allegedly added to give more clarity and optimism to the kiddies, complete with Sarah-Connor-via-Veronica-Mars epilogue narration.

Despite such interference, it’s quite easy to doubt that any legitimate artistic vision or creative contribution were infringed upon. The directorial debut of Jim Sonzero, the lighting and cinematography seem primed to elicit an atmosphere of dread that the plot and performances simply cannot sustain. Bell has a natural gravity that makes her frequent panicked responses a bit easier to stomach, yet every other role in the cast is as trite as expected, with none of the supporting actors – including R&B-artist-cum-actress Christina Milian as her roommate – able to extend beyond their plain personalities and make any notable impression whatsoever before meeting their ends. To top matters off is a nutty cameo by Brad Dourif, who pointlessly appears to bicker with a Goth girl in a café as to exactly what is going down.

If one could install a pop-up blocker on this very film, it would instantly eliminate a handful of weak jump-cuts and shrill sound effects, as well as a solitary successful scare, which only really works either if you’re nodding off by that point and/or if you’ve forgotten "The Forgotten" enough for it to still work on you. Alas, I’m not too big on all the computer jargon the screenplay applies, but I know a corrupted file when I see one. Go ahead and delete "Pulse," because of all the recent J-horror remakes, this one in particular really bytes.

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originally posted: 08/11/06 19:17:46
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Horror Remakes: For more in the Horror Remakes series, click here.

User Comments

1/16/19 David Hollingsworth typically dull American remake 1 stars
8/14/16 David Hollingsworth Has no 'pulse'. It absolutely stinks. 1 stars
1/07/14 Andrew Mac Turned it off after 40 minutes. Bad acting, bad script, bad cinematography, bad color palet 1 stars
7/18/11 Flipsider Forget this movie exists and watch the excellent Japanese version. (or crappy 80's version) 1 stars
5/15/11 stephen nettles CRAP CRAP CRAP CRAP CRAP 1 stars
4/29/07 David Pollastrini Kristin Bell looks hot, otherwise this was pretty dull. 1 stars
2/16/07 Axel Leos Oh my god.. Cellphones and Computers with ghosts ending the world...RUN!! 1 stars
2/09/07 Stanley Thai Actually a better movie than people think. 3 stars
1/09/07 Indrid Cold Makes more sense than the Japanese original, but in this case, that's not a good thing. 3 stars
12/19/06 Mike This is the dumbest movie I've EVER watched! I'm not joking at all. This is just stupidity! 1 stars
10/05/06 Regina Haniger Almost innofensive, almost coherent, and almost worth watching! 3 stars
8/29/06 Casper Can anyone recommend a good ghost flick? This ain't it. 1 stars
8/26/06 michael great horror flick, just wonder how good the new one will be 5 stars
8/25/06 Al Guy Hollywood will never learn. Awful. 1 stars
8/18/06 Tiffany Kinda scary 3 stars
8/17/06 Ole Man Bourbon E-mail is bad, mkay!!! 2 stars
8/16/06 Harold Yes, Eric, the original Kurosawa film was a million times better...this is ass. 1 stars
8/14/06 Sharon I shove that red tape up their fucking asses I hate this movie! 1 stars
8/13/06 Evil Wolfie This movie can go to hell and take it's red tape with it! 2 stars
8/13/06 phil This movie is 100x better then the Runaway Rainbow, 4 stars!!! 5 stars
8/12/06 Lloyd Burton Ending was horrible. Shows just how stupid people are when they get "want 2 see ghosts" 2 stars
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  11-Aug-2006 (PG-13)
  DVD: 05-Dec-2006

  08-Sep-2006 (15)


Directed by
  Jim Sonzero

Written by
  Ray Wright

  Kristen Bell
  Jonathan Tucker
  Ian Somerhalder
  Christina Milian
  Ron Rifkin
  Rick Gonzalez

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