“Pulse” (Kairo) – Jason DeMoe

I like to think I scare kinda easy. That being said, most modern horror flicks do nothing for me. I suppose that speaks to the level of fear (or lack thereof) and ultimately the level of lazy that some horror filmmakers have shown. Pulse, however, did scare me. It scared me like I haven’t been scared in quite a long time, and it was a thrilling sensation that I would love some more of.

In Pulse, director Kiyoshi Kurosawa takes us on a journey through a work that almost feels post-apocalyptic in its empty darkness and constant sense of doom lingering in the air. We open on a group of friends who are attempting to cope with suicide of one of their pals. They inevitably begin to ask themselves why their friend would commit such an act. As they dive into personal investigations to uncover the reasoning behind the suicide, suddenly they are all plagued by strange happenings.

In another part of town, we meet Kawashima, who has decided to give the Internet a try, since everybody else seems to have. However, his first experience is a harrowing one, when his net connects and automatically forces him onto a site that asks if he’d like to see a real ghost. Frustrated, Kawashima logs off and gives up, but his computer refuses, eventually turning itself on and reloading said web page. With strange images appearing all over the place, “forbidden rooms” being taped shut, and more disappearances than anyone would care to think about, its up to our protagonist to find out exactly what it all means before it’s too late.

Pulse is a prime example to me of what horror should be. I was scared out of my mind. For once, I thought it was acceptable that a movie didn’t answer every or even most questions. There were so many scary elements to this thing. The ability of a film to make us question our own lives, to reach in and grab us in a way we never thought possible, always astonishes me. Here, we are forced to examine our own loneliness, thoughts of depression, and exactly how disconnected we are to the outside world and the people that surround us, even though we meet and greet them daily. The overbearing sense of dark and gloom and just utter despair did nothing to hinder the brilliant feel of this film either. Kurosawa is a genius in that he never lost sight of exactly what he had in mind. From beginning to end, the film really follows through and stays connected to itself.

Overall, Pulse is a quality piece of work that really forces us into self-examination mode, and sometimes that just what’s needed. With some of the coolest “ghost” effects I’ve yet to see, this film will definitely keep you watching. My suggestion is to pee first, ‘cause you’re not gonna want to step away.

Rating: ★★★½

-Jason DeMoe

Jason is a movie lover by day, janitor by night. He’s a random, 28-year-old father of two who enjoys all things cinematic. Writing is a passion of his, and he hopes to infuse a bit of his personality and opinions with Passport Cinema.

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