A group of young friends is rocked by the sudden suicide of one of their own & his subsequent ghostly reappearance in grainy computer & video images. Soon there are more strange deaths & disappearances terrifying tooms sea... more »led in red tape & the appearance of more ghosts as the world is drained of life. Studio: Magnolia Pict Hm Ent Release Date: 11/07/2006 Run time: 118 minutes« less
Jefferson N. from BLAIRSVILLE, GA Reviewed on 9/19/2012...
Pulse...To put it simply...Is a bunch of ideas done wrong. To elaborate, Pulse is four or five movies jammed together into one...If you took Ringu, Dawn of the Dead with ghosts instead of zombies, The Happening, The Langoliers, and the Seventh Seal and smooshed them all together, Pulse would be their bastard son.
To describe the movie: Pulse is the story of people in Tokyo that find themselves becoming depressed an suicidal after going on the internet and finding "The Forbidden Room" where they meet a ghost. There are also apparently people in the know who are closing off rooms with red tape to keep the ghosts in. This would have been a complete Ringu rip-off, but perhaps still entertaining. But it's not over! Next, people start seeing shadowy figures that disappear when you get close to them. The male lead is told this is because the land of the dead has become overpopulated and the dead are seeping into this world. A more interesting premise...but it's still not over! Next, amid a lot of suicides, all of a sudden most of the people in Tokyo just disappear. Only a few people are left...the main characters, and they start meeting up. But, every time someone goes off on their own, they become suicidal and kill themselves. Finally, the male lead is confronted by the Forbidden Room ghost who tells him that Death is lonely. And the mystery continues...
Once again, my biggest gripe with this movie is it's just so piecemeal and schizophrenic...It will start going in one direction and then veer off into another. I'll admit...It seems like there's a point in this movie somewhere, but it's just mostly lost in the hodgepodge. If I HAD to guess, I would say it's the writer's statement that even in our internet world where we can talk to anyone at anytime, we're probably more alone and separated than before the technological revolution. Don't rush to see this because of that explanation...It's explained in that sentence better than it is in the movie...And that's not bragging on my skill...mostly just saying how weak the director's vision is. I even watched the special features hoping the behind the scenes footage would reveal something I missed. What I learned was that the director was far more interested in how many Coke cans are shown on a characters table than what the move was about. This was is extremely weak. If you want to see shadowy figures running around and killers from the digital world Japanese style, watch Ringu or Ju-On. Only if you really MUST see every Japanse horror film would I watch this. I will say one good thing...The actors do a good job trying to act around the collapsing plot. Give them a better movie to be in, and any of them could shine. Oh, and in closing, if you really want good Asian Existential horror, check out Premonition or the Eye 2. They shine in the genre, where this one is beyond tarnished.
Art cinema with blood.
Robert P. Beveridge | Cleveland, OH | 06/28/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Kairo (Kiyoshi Kurosawa, 2001)
While Kiyoshi Kurosawa is no relation to the great Akira Kurosawa, he does seem to be Japan's most likely director, at the present time, to fill the master's shoes. Kairo is another stunning set piece in his arsenal, a worthy successor to Kurosawa's previous films and a fine work in its own right.
Kurosawa's trademark impressionist style haunts this tale of the ghosts in the machine. It follows, alternately, two characters-- Michi (Casshern's Kumiko Aso), a worker at a greenhouse, and Kawashima (Haruhiko Kato), a University student, as they live through an apocalypse about which few people know anything except that it involves people disappearing (or committing suicide) and red duct tape. It seems to be connected to a website called The Forbidden Room, which keeps appearing mysteriously on Kawashima's computer.
Kairo is to Japanese horror film what Akira is to anime; it has become exceptionally well-known in a very short amount of time, but it's probably not the best film for beginners to start off with. While the storyline is linear, it's told in such a piecemeal fashion, leaving a good deal to the viewer's imagination, that those new to the particularly Japanese style of making horror films might find it a bit hard to follow. (This is generally true of Kurosawa's films; his Silence of the Lambs homage, Cure, follows the same general path. Hideo Nakata's best film, Chaos, is another example.) It would be better for the Japanese horror neophyte to start off with Nakata's justly-famous Ring and Dark Water to get a taste of the wonderful atmosphere of Japanese horror before diving into the wonderful world of Kurosawa; that said, his films are a must for any horror film aficionado looking for the cutting edge of the medium. Once you've gotten into the spirit of Japanese horro, get to know Kiyoshi Kurosawa's work. You won't regret it. ****"
A Twist On Apocaliptic Tales.
William Chant | Scranton, PA | 02/20/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Many films have attempted the end of days. Zombie films such as Dawn Of The Dead, 28 Days Later, 12 Monkeys to name a few. All of them have their own story but never had their own Feel. Get Ready for PULSE. A J-horror film to it's own completely that will leave you thinking about the film long after a viewing.
To keep this short and without going into ruining the story for you. This is not like any Asian Horror film you've seen before. It's not for those looking for a gore fest but, those that like artistic films with a message may enjoy this much. It's not so easy to understand but in Japanese culture films don't spoon feed the story to the viewer. This way you get to take away from it what you feel and still (hopefully) understand the story. It's not so hard and you don't have to look far to see the undertone of this film is that we are all living in a world where we are all seperate. There is no sense of community and we are living like ghosts. If you aren't, then you're one of the few who isn't paralized by consumerism and (more importantly) internet. We've never been so connected yet so separate.
I think it's perfect for anyone planning on comparing the American release or who's in the mood for something deep and atmospheric. If you're into Teen horror flix or the famous blood soaked asian shock flix this is not for you. This is unto itself and will pull those viewers with a though process deep inside only to turn you out full of thoughts and urging for a second viewing.
Only dissapointment is the distribution company was so cheap that they FORCE you to watch their previews. If you try to skip them you can't get into the menu. Although the previews were interesting they had nothing to do with the film in any relation and this company will not get another purchase from me unless they had something I definately wanted. The price for the DVD is so high... you should be able to have a working menu if you find the way around those previews. Making the menu not work if you pass around the previews is only an annoyance and is a total shame on the Production company and the studios. I hope the stingy hollywood studios don't catch on to the process because I would honestly stop buying DVDs that perform like this.
Feature presentation 4 STARS DVD EXTRAS 2 STARS (a little thin/Ok for Asian film) SUBS -FAILED A LITTLE DELAY! COME ON! $20 DVD! DVD Transfer 5 STARS Feature Presentation looks great DVD Production -FAILED (forced previews dud menu if bypassed)
Magnolia DVD Production is the worst of all Asian turn outs. Check companies like TARTAN for QUALITY Films THIS IS NOT WORTH 20$ BUT MAYBE $9.99 IF YOU CAN BUY THE INTERNATIONAL OFFICAL RELEASE MAGNOLIA DOESN'T DESERVE $20 FOR THIS TRANSFER."
One of the creepiest cries for help i've ever heard
celticriver | houston, tx | 09/21/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"i saw this movie unfortunately after i saw the remake. the remake doesn't do it justice. while it may move slowly for some american audiences, it was a creepfest galore. it was mildly entertaining until one of the ghosts began whispering for help in japanese. that actor's voice scared the bejeezus out of me!! i had to leave the room, but even then, since by tv had stereo sound, i heard him in the back room! i had never been so glad when my family came home later that day."
Watch this version, not the remake
A. Smith | Latham, NY | 09/12/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I saw the American remake first and was put off the idea of an original. Friends talked me into getting a copy (thank you) and as usual the original film is far and away the better version.
A very disturbing film about ghosts, technology, internet despair, loneliness, and the collapse of society.
Fascinating that special effects can be sparse, but you can have the wits scared out of you by one good professional contortionist. The movie does a great job of playing into visual and auditory notions of right and wrong."
Very impressive indeed, the work of a genuine talent.
Rob | Oxford, UK | 03/25/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This is an excellent Japanese horror movie. It's thoughtful, creepy, unsettling & very well directed by Kurosawa Kiyoshi. On the one hand you have your standard urban horror themes of loneliness & technology-as-villain (in this case computers & the net). On the other there's this speculation about what might be waiting for us 'on the other side.' Is death, as one of the characters wonders aloud at one point, a chance to be reunited with loved ones & so no longer endure the day to day loneliness of life? But as things turn out, being dead is just as miserable & painful an experience for the ghosts as being alive is for the human characters, something Kurosawa demonstrates in a number of genuinely unsettling sequences.
Kiyoshi has an excellent & mature style - demonstrating a preference for long takes (a style that'll drive impatient teen horror fans up the wall) & shocks achieved within the frame rather than through flashy editing. Two sequences epitomise this - in one a young woman searches an apartment for her co-worker in vain while a shadowy figure rises silently from a chair at the back of the room behind her. It might not sound terribly creepy but honestly I think my heart skipped a beat when that happened. In the other - & this is undoubtedly one of the films most talked about moments - a woman jumps to her death & the camera unblinkingly records her fall & impact with no cutting away.
But don't get the idea this is some J-horror gorefest because it isn't. What's so refreshing for me about 'Pulse' is that rather than harping on gore & shocks for two hours the director takes the time to lay out an intriguing story. One in which ghosts are flooding back into our world because there's no more room in theirs. The only trouble being that when ghosts & real people come into physical contact with each other neither can survive (the humans leave behind a smudgy blackened residue which recalls the blast shadows of Hiroshima victims).
Throughout Pulse Kurosawa balances the increasingly apocalyptic imagery of a hi-tech Tokyo in which life has all but ceased with an insistently humanist theme. Our characters clearly care for each other & the story culminates with a small group of survivors setting sail toward an uncertain future. Meanwhile the heroine of the story comes to realise that having found a temporary happiness with the young student who helped her escape she now has the strength to go on.
I'd like to think that's really what Kurosawa is getting at here. Not for him the simple scares of a ghost story, nor the fashionable sense of nihilism (hey, we're all doomed!) which so appeals to moody teens, but the message that in life the small bonds we make with each other, those passing moments of happiness & kindness, these are what shield us from loneliness & enable us to keep going in an unforgiving universe. Seen that way it makes for an appropriate visual metaphor that the final shot of Pulse is a stunning birds-eye view of a tiny shipful of humanity adrift in a vast ocean.
I look forward to seeing more films by Kurosawa Kiyoshi.
One last point: a sequence in Pulse depicts a jetliner seen from street level falling out of the sky & crashing into a building. On the DVD featurette there's a behind-the-scenes glimpse of a location recce for this particular scene. The date? June 2000. Talk about prophetic."