Pulse (2006) Review: Technology Ruins Everything
“There are some frequencies we were never meant to find”
Synopsis: When their computer hacker friend accidentally channels a mysterious wireless signal, a group of co-eds rally to stop a terrifying evil from taking over the world.
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Pulse was not what I was expecting. Even as an American remake of a fairly popular Japanese film, I still assumed this would be a funny movie – if not deliberately a horror comedy, then at least funny in a “so bad it’s good” kind of way. (The plot and cast list really backed this up.) But instead, I ended up watching some cross between the Matrix and a ghost possession story.
The thing is, neither Pulse’s actors nor its writers were good enough to pull off the dark and mysterious tone the filmmakers were going for. Much as I like both Kristen Bell (Mattie) and Samm Levine (Tim), they do best in family movies and comedies, and while I had no major complaints about their performances, they still felt out of place in this movie. And they weren’t the only ones – almost everything about Pulse felt out of place, like it didn’t quite go together.
The biggest problem with Pulse is how silly the premise is. Even with the best possible people working on it (which they weren’t – just ask Wes Craven), some sort of extra-dimensional ghosts that travel through wireless networks is just hard to take seriously. Even with decent effects and creepy found footage-style pieces, it was hard not to laugh at the ridiculous nature of the movie. But on the other hand, Pulse is presented with a completely straight face, meaning laughter feels… I don’t know. Out of place.
Pulse gets points for its creativity and star power, but most of the things the filmmakers attempt just didn’t fit together well enough to make the movie work. Even if you’re on a technology horror kick, Pulse doesn’t rate top billing. You’re better off watching Shocker if you want a fun option, or maybe just sticking with the Japanese original.
Calamity Brains’ Rating: C-
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