Pulse (2006)

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Overall Rating 45%
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Ranked #2,665
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Connections: Pulse

Imagine our wireless technologies made a connection to a world beyond our own. Imagine that world used that technology as a doorway into ours. Now, imagine the connection we made can't be shut down. When you turn on your cell phone or log on to your e-mail, they'll get in, you'll be infected and they'll be able to take from you what they don't have anymore -- life. --IMDb
Review by bluemeanie
Added: September 07, 2006
The horror genre in 2006 has been suffering...greatly. We're reverting back to the days, similar to the early-90's, when the genre was dead in theatres, and only vaguely alive in the form of video rentals. A horror film would be produced for a few million bucks, hit theatres, not make half of that back, and get dumped onto VHS for geeky teens to ingest at staggering rates. Hell, I grew up doing that - it's what introduced me to what I consider to be classic films like "The People Under the Stairs" and "In the Mouth of Madness". Just when I thought the horror genre was in the clear, 2006 has yet to produce more than one worthwhile horror flick. The one film I consider to be worthwhile was Neil Marshall's amazing "The Descent", a real standout amidst a year of schlock. We have been treated to absolute garbage like "Stay Alive" and "An American Haunting", a killer played by a professional wrestler in "See No Evil", and one of the worst horror remakes in the history of film, "The Omen 666". Eli Roth gave us a peak into how lacking his talent truly is, and "Slither" was more comedy than horror, even though it certainly entertained the hell out of me, horror film or not. I walked into the theatre to see the horror film "Pulse" fearing the worst. For starters, it is a remake of a Japanese horror film. Secondly, it looked like just another "See No Evil". And, lastly, it starred the same WB pseudo-celebs that flock to every Dimension and Lions Gate film around. What were the chances that I was going to enjoy something this stereotypical, right?

Well...only partly right. "Pulse" revolves around a young girl named Mattie Webber (Kristen Bell of TV's "Veronica Mars"). First, she sees her boyfriend Josh (Jonathan Tucker) hang himself. Then, she starts noticing changes in people all over her campus, as the town's suicide rate climbs and people begin disappearing. It also doesn't help that her deceased ex-boyfriend is communicating with she and her friends via e-mail. This eventually leads Mattie to Dexter McCarthy (Ian Somerhalder), whom she first believes to be behind the less-than-friendly e-mails. Together, they slowly start to unravel the mystery that seems to be affecting the entire campus...and the entire world. It appears that some entity is coming through cell phones, computers, a wireless connections, taking over the bodies of human begins and stripping them of their will to live. Most of these entities look like Richard O'Brien from "Dark City" and they seem to be unstoppable. By the end of the film, we have drifted into "28 Days Later" territory, and the film ends on a rather apocalyptic note. "Pulse" spends most of its time introducing us to characters in order to kill them off, setting up the invasion that subsequently happens, and drawing us in just enough to not have the less-than-stellar ending serve as a major fiasco. On the whole, there have been worse films than "Pulse". And, yes, that have been better.

This premise is intriguing. I enjoyed the idea of our means of communication coming back to bite us in the ass. I loved how unstoppable they make these creatures out to be in the film. Are they ghosts? Are they demons? That question is not really answered, but we are left with this overwhelming sensation that there is no escaping their control. The direction of the film also had a familiar tone to it. Wes Craven served as one of the screenwriters, and I suspect he was brought in to clean up the script and give it a few needed touches (they must not have watched "Cursed"). I could tell the Craven influences. There were touches of "Scream" and "A Nightmare On Elm Street" all over this thing, from some of the locations to some of the dialogue that was more reminiscent of Kevin Williamson than Wes Craven. Nevertheless, Craven only made the film better with his contributions. I loved several of these sequences, most notably the scene where Christina Milian is in the washroom in the basement. This was a very well stayed sequence and most everyone in the audience was wide-eyed at what happened next. It was not a surprising event that unfolded, but the intensity of it was really nice to see. This film would have been far better in the hands of a better production team.

And, once again - how do you criticize performances in this type of film? Kristen Bell did all right in the lead role, but she is far from a leading lady. She likely needs to stick with her hit television show for a while longer. Pay attention, Amber Tamblyn. Ian Somerhalder also does all right, but he is no leading man. He was great in "The Rules of Attraction", but he is not appropriate for every role, and this is one of them. Jonathan Tucker had a nice, but brief, appearance in the film, as did veteran actor Ron Rifkin. I am not sure why Rifkin was even in this film, but I hope his paycheck was big enough that it made it worth his while. Are we even sure if his character was killed? The big surprise comes when Somerhalder and Bell are in a restaurant and happen to bump into someone...oh, you guessed it...Brad Dourif. He just popped out of nowhere, ranted for about half a minute, and then went back to his business. Not needed, but appreciated, especially for most horror fans. "Pulse" had some good things going for it, indeed.

In conclusion, "Pulse" is not nearly as terrible as I thought it would be. It has some very well filmed sequences that might make you jump, it has an interesting premise that could be explored more in a sequel, and it gives you enough entertainment to not make you feel like you've wasted your eight bucks. "See No Evil" was a waste of time. "Stay Alive" was an utter waste of time. "Pulse" eclipses those films because it takes itself a little more seriously than they did. It wants to be a horror film, and doesn't really care if you laugh or not, though sometimes you do. Wes Craven obviously had an influence on the film, and even his influence on this film was better than the whole of "Cursed". Maybe Craven just needs to stick to script-doctoring for a while, until he can shake off the stigma of his werewolf disaster. I know he had "Red Eye" also, so maybe he just needs to stick to thrillers. I would like to see Craven directing a sequel to "Pulse" that shows us what happens to the people who find themselves into telecom-free zones. I want to see more of a George Romero tone to the sequel. There probably won't be a sequel, but I would not be disappointed to see one. Some films need one. "Pulse" is one of those.

Chad #1: Chad - added 09/07/2006, 02:55 PM
From my review of the original: "Wes Craven has owned the rights to an American remake of this film since 2002, and while there's currently no news about his usage of those rights, you can almost certainly bet your bottom dollar that we'll eventually be treated to Hollywood's take on this film."

Called that one, I did.
bluemeanie #2: bluemeanie - added 09/07/2006, 05:11 PM
You certainly did. I have been doing more research on the film and evidently Craven did have a considerable influence on the film, as I assumed. I read some accounts that he even served as director for a couple of sequences in the film -- and I bet I can guess which ones. I can't find any information on any talks for a sequel, but this film certainly ends with a sequel possibility, and I want to know more about these creatures and what makes them work and how they can eventually be stopped. Maybe I will never get that. Maybe I should just stick with the Japanese version, since it does explain things a wee bit better. Anyhoo, not a bad little flick...all things considered.
Ginose #3: Ginose - added 11/07/2006, 11:54 PM
I saw this movie in theatres and on the way into the screening I tripped and bit my tounge. About 20 minutes into this movie I was so bored that I kept nibbling at the tounge wound... it was slightly more interesting and far more frightening then this movie could ever hope to be. 2.5/10
danimigra #4: danimigra - added 03/20/2008, 03:07 PM
I love this remake..!
Lucid Dreams #5: Lucid Dreams - added 11/06/2010, 12:04 AM
Meh,not that great. 4/10
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