Pulse is a remake of the 2001 Japanese film Kairo which was based on a novel of the same name. The movie opens with Josh entering a dark university library looking for someone named Zieglar, where he is instead met by some creepy old man and an entity that sucks life out of him. At this point everything seemed to be promising, although a bit out there. We soon find out that Josh was the boyfriend of Mattie (Kristen Bell) who is now worried as to where their relationship stands because Josh isnï¿½t speaking with her anymore. She goes to his apartment where Josh is still alive but looking very pale and lifeless. Moments after he asks her to wait for him, he walks into another room and hangs himself using a wire, Mattie is left blaming herself. Shortly after his death Mattie and her friends begin getting messages from Josh online, believing it is a virus Mattieï¿½s friend Stone goes to his apartment to turn off his computer, where he is in turn met by these entities. Basically the rest of the movie is Mattie and her new found friend Dex trying to figure out who these people are and how to stop them, while her friends are slowly being killed one by one.
The movieï¿½s central theme is technology’s negative impact on people; instead of connecting people together, it has in fact distanced us from personal and emotional relationships. But maybe thatï¿½s getting a little too deep, because thatï¿½s exactly the opposite of this movieï¿½s intention. Instead, while keeping that as a core theme, the movie is essentially The Grudge combined with White Noise, The Ring, and Night of The Living Dead with the exception of digital zombies in the place of human-like ones. Thatï¿½s right, two of the most overrated and weak horror movies, The Grudge and The Ring, essentially piled into one even crappier movie, Pulse. Referring to The Ring, as in Pulse a creature if you will comes from a television and kills people. With reference to The Grudge (another Japanese remake) you got someone wandering around trying to figure out some nonsense plot all the while leaving you to wonder when something scary is going to happen.
Basically, this is the style of film where the odd creepy thing happens filled between by nonsense and aimless walking around with anticipation of something really scary about to happen. Except half the time nothing happens, and when it does, its always the same thing, a pixelated humanoid sucking what appears to be the soul out of humans. As we later discover they are sucking the will to live out of the humans, much as this movie did to me. The real kicker to me is that the ending is abrupt and leaves a lot of questions open, with little or no social commentary as was the original intention of the novel, and the Japanese film. Ultimately we never discover who these digital zombies were, or why they were trying to take away humankind’s will to live; all we know is that for some reason red tape keeps them from killing you. If you want to watch a movie with the odd scare, that doesnï¿½t make you think at all then watch this, but even then donï¿½t expect much.
Presented in 1080p 2.40:1 aspect ratio, Pulse is given a mediocre video transfer. The film is grainy, soft and looks very enhanced. Although this may be an intended look, it just doesnï¿½t look good in HD. Details are almost non existent, hidden in softness that follows the entire film. The film is dark and luckily the blacks and blues do look very good.
Pulse was hard to review the video for this film, given the look was intended by the director. However director intent or not this film looks too damn washed out for a HD DVD. Out of all the Weinstein titles I have reviewed, Pulse was by far the worst looking of the bunch.
Pulse is given a Dolby Digital Plus 5.1 track, which seems to be the standard for Weinstein thus far. I was disappointed in the execution of the films audio track. Horror movies are all about creating ambience, trying to draw in the viewer, Pulse fails here. Subtle noises from the rear channels were almost nonexistent, a feature that is key in horror audio track. Bass was also sorely lacking, rarely making an appearance. On a plus note dialogue sounded crisp and clear, although you will hear better delivered lines on The Young and the Restless.
If you are a fan of the film then there are a few features worth checking out. You can even watch the film two extra times to listen to the films two commentary tracks. Oh joy!
- Two Feature Commentaries
- Deleted / Additional Scenes ï¿½ Very weak and subtle scenes, not even worth checking out.
- Creating the Fear: Making Pulse ï¿½ A boring look at the making of Pulse. Includes interviews with the cast and crew. It is funny how great of a film these people think they made.
- The Visual Effects of Pulse ï¿½ A look at the visual effects used in the film. I was surprised to see much work went into creating this weak looking visual style.
- Pulse and the Paranormal ï¿½ A look at supernatural events and beings in the real world. Worth checking out if you are into these things.
A disappointing movie in all regards, video transfer and the audio track were severely lacking. If you are a fan of this film, then the HD DVD still offers an upgrade over the SD DVD. But if you havenï¿½t seen this movie, you will not be missing out on anything and it is safe to say you can avoid it forever and would be doing yourself a solid.
Special Features List
- Two Audio Commentaries
- Deleted / Additional Scenes
- Creating the Fear: Making Pulse
- The Visual Effects of Pulse
- Pulse and the Paranormal