A remake better left untouched

Pulse

on August 11, 2006 by Richard Mowe
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Based on the cult Japanese horror movie Kairo by Kiyoshi Kurosawa, Pulse revolves around a group of university students who discover that a now-dead computer hacker friend unwittingly pirated a strange wireless signal that opened a doorway for a terrifying evil to cross over into our world. As it spreads, everyone in its wake is consumed, and the students must find a way to stop it for all our sakes.

The starting point is the suicide of a young man who is glimpsed being stalked by mysterious creatures. His girlfriend Mattie (Kristen Bell) witnesses his death and becomes haunted by the idea that she should have recognized the warning signs of his impending suicide. Things get curiouser and curiouser when it appears that her dead lover is attempting to communicate with her and her friends from beyond the grave. When they are at their computers, online messages mysteriously appear saying, “Help Me.” Mattie's overtaxed imagination soon begins to see these strange creatures following her around the city. Are they just figments or are they really there?

Director Jim Sonzero enlisted the help of veteran horror hand Wes Craven to work on an early version of the script, and that should have augured well. Subsequently the narrative has been developed and given added edge now that whole cities are going wireless. It all taps into our paranoias about the electronic age where human contact is being fast eradicated by reliance on emails and texts. After this you will never look at your keyboard in the same way again.

Unfortunately Sonzero lets the promising theme slip away, and the narrative descends into an unsatisfying mix of cyber thriller and monster movie, which is a pity because at the beginning it sets up a creepy enough atmosphere to lead to a truly gripping horror outing.

As is frequently the case with remakes, it probably would have been better to have let the original rest in peace. Distributor: Dimension
Cast: Kristen Bell, Ian Somerhalder, Christina Milian, Rick Gonzalez and Jonathan Tucker
Director: Jim Sonzero
Screenwriters: Wes Craven and Ray Wright
Producers: Anant Singh, Brian Cox, Michael Leahy and Joel Soisson
Genre: Horror
Rating: PG-13 for intense sequences of sci-fi terror, disturbing images, language, sensuality and thematic material
Running time: 98 min.
Release date: August 11, 2006

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