The idea with Pulse is interesting: While working on a telecommunications project, someone found an unknown frequency that opens a door between the living and the dead that cannot be closed. The dead, in the form of thin pale creepy-eepies, begin to make their way into our world through the Internet, cell phones, and other forms of technology we use to communicate. Once they arrive, they steal the "will to live" from each person they encounter resulting in an epidemic of suicides and, ultimately, the end of mankind.

This is a remake of the 2001 Japanese film Kairo which was, like many J-Horror films, somewhat creepy and unsettling, but ultimately baffling in terms of plot and meaning as the social commentary was specific to events occurring within Japan and not elsewhere. The American remake, like many remakes of Japanese horror films, is much more coherent and easy to follow, but less of a social commentary and more of a straight forward fear film. Depending on what you are looking for from a horror movie, this is either good or bad.

The film stars Kristen Bell of Veronica Mars fame along with some other relatively attractive young Hollywood types. It was originally to be directed by Wes Craven who bailed on the project early on. He was replaced by some other guy who also bailed, declaring that the film was too much like the US version of The Ring. Additionally, the movie was set to be released in the US in April of 2006, but was pushed way back to August. The trailer (available on the DVD) contains a few scenes that never appear in the movie, and also has some footage from the original Japanese version. Once the film opened, it disappeared from theaters quickly and flopped with critics.

This is unfortunate because, despite it's flaws and struggles, Pulse is not a bad movie by any stretch. It has some very effective effects (as well as some bad CGI effects to be fair) where the ghosts are seen, but not fully. There are some inventive scares and atmosphere and the script (co-written by Craven) is solid. It's a nice cross between a teen horror film and a smarter sci-fi film that occasionally devolves into some technological mumbo-jumbo to try and explain things, but, for the most part, does what it's supposed to do: scare and entertain.

As an added bonus, the DVD has a featurette examining the film's relationship to and portrayal of ITC that included interviews with Jason and Grant from Ghost Hunters.

Despite it's poor reception and box office earnings, two sequels are, apparently, in the works. So I must not have been the only person who was surprised by it.

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