Pulse (2001)

pulse japanese horrorThis movie should have everything that you could ask for in a horror film. It is a completely original Japanese film that showcases sophistication and relevant topics over gore and trivial matters. It takes place during the internet revolution- when the whole world was “dialing” in with AOL, connecting with strangers across the globe.

I went into this film knowing that it has been criticized for being too slow. But what happened to good old-fashioned suspense with a volcanic buildup, just ready to blow? I felt ready for it.

A young woman witnesses the suicide hanging of a work associate. The people close to him are extremely affected by this unexpected tragedy. He just didn’t seem depressed. They don’t understand why he would do such a thing. Trying to make sense of the whole mess, the woman and fellow friends search his home computer for clues. They find an image of his home on the computer, and on that image they can see a reflection of a face. As soon as the others witness this image, strange things begin to happen.

The movie breaks off into individuals stories of those who witness the horror on the internet- their common link. There are a lot of characters in this film, and I really hate to say this, but sometimes it was hard to tell them apart. As ignorant as that sounds, it is the truth.

Pulse 2001One man starts exploring online. But this is not the internet we know today- more like the old AOL dial up. When he is logged in, he sees an image looking back at him, a man starring; then a new image- a woman rolling on the floor; followed by more sinister images. The computer asks, “Would you like to meet a ghost?”

It is discovered that the internet is a gateway to the world of the dead. And with this new revolution of the internet, the ghosts are no longer a weak presence that they have always been in the past. Now they have more access to the world and they are getting stronger and stronger.

I really wanted to enjoy this movie. I just didn’t. I am a big advocate for indy and artsy films that a lot of people would consider boring or slow. But this movie is painfully slow and I just couldn’t connect to the characters.

pulse 2001 japanBut this film deserves high praise for the vintage, creepy atmosphere that it creates. This vintage feel is accomplished without feeling like a throwback or homage to previous horror films. It has its own style which is a feat in itself.

The music/sound effects are absolutely amazing. It is actually some of the best music I have heard in a horror film. Some of the melodies remind me of the music from Insidious and Eyes Wide Shut, which are both beautifully composed.

I’m glad I finally watched this, but I think it is a film you either love or hate. I gave it a fair shot, but unfortunately, I have to place myself in the latter group.

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Pulse (2001) on IMDb

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