Good news, I didn’t have to work late today. Bad news, I am still pretty tired. But I know a few days of normal hours will help fix that. In the meantime, I can go ahead and watch today’s movie. Like I said yesterday, I went to see this movie when it came out in theaters and, knowing it was a remake, had to see the original. That actually has happened with most of these J-horror movies. I would watch the American version, then go watch the original Japanese version. So let’s continue with today’s movie, Pulse (2006).
The plot: Josh is heading to the university library to meet his friend Zieglar but when he gets there, he notices some strange things occurring just before he is attacked by a ghost. A week later, his girlfriend Mattie has returned from hanging out with some friends when she receives a strange message from Josh but when she tries calling him back, she gets no answer. She goes to see Josh the next day and notices a window in his apartment building that is covered in red tape. Letting herself in, she finds the place a mess and Josh somewhat distant. After finding his cat locked in the closet and severely malnourished, Mattie goes to tell Josh but she discovers that he has committed suicide by hanging himself. The next day, Mattie and her friends, Isabelle, Stone, and Tim, are chatting in a group message when they receive a message from Josh, continuously saying “Help Me.” Figuring that Josh’s computer is still logged on and a virus sent the message, Stone goes to Josh’s apartment to turn off the computer, only to discover that it is gone. As he is leaving, he decides to look around, and discovers that Josh’s bedroom door and windows are covered in red tape, just as a ghost appears and attacks him. Since she is still receiving the messages and Stone is acting depressed, Mattie decides to head to Josh’s apartment and turn the computer off herself. When she gets there, she discovers that the landlord had sold the computer to Dexter McCarthy, but when Mattie confronts Dexter, she learns that the computer is still sitting in the trunk of his car. Later that day, Dexter finally plugs in Josh’s computer and a message comes up, asking if he wants to meet a ghost appears, just before a bunch of strange videos start playing. Mattie receives a package that Josh mailed 2 days before he died containing rolls of red tape and a note saying that it keeps “them” out. Dexter runs into Mattie and shows her the videos that he found on Josh’s computer. As more and more people seem to be committing suicide, and the classes on campus are becoming more empty, Mattie keeps seeing a ghostly figure in her dreams and seemingly following her. Tim decides to go check on Stone but when he gets to Stone’s room, he finds Stone holding a knife and saying he doesn’t want to die as his body is dissolved into a dark, ashen spot on the wall. Tim goes back to his apartment and uses the red tape to cover his windows and door, but he runs out and a ghost attacks him through the peephole. Mattie begins getting the videos on her computer but when she shuts it off, her printer suddenly begins printing out sheets that form a giant, ghostly face. Mattie goes to see Dexter, who shows her a video diary of Josh that he recovered, where Josh keeps trying to contact Douglas Zieglar, saying that whatever Zieglar had on his computer, Josh let it out. Later that night, Isabelle begins getting the videos on her computer and when she goes to the building’s laundry room to do laundry, she is attacked by a ghost. Dexter manages to locate Zieglar, as well as a flash drive that Josh had hidden containing a file called Red.Tape. Mattie returns to her apartment, where she sees a video of Tim, just as she receives a call from him. She tries to locate Isabelle, and finds her in her bed, with half of her body turning black. Isabelle tells Mattie that the ghosts want life, and that they are coming for her, just before she says she’s sorry and turns into ash. Mattie calls Dexter, who picks her up and tells her that he saw what attacked Josh when he found the flash drive. He also tells her he found Zieglar and they are going there to get some answers, when they get in a car wreck. Continuing on foot, they reach Zieglar’s apartment and meet Zieglar, who tells them that he had been working on a telecom project when he discovered frequencies that they never knew existed. He discovered that those frequencies allowed spirits to travel to the realm of the living. He also tells them that if the ghosts get a hold of you, they will suck the will to live right out of you. Dexter tells Josh that they need to crash Zieglar’s system and he tells them where it is then, after they leave, he seals himself back into his room with red tape. Heading to the basement of the computer lab, Dexter and Mattie find themselves attacked by a swarm of ghosts and end up separated when a pair opf ghosts are between Dexter and Mattie, who was holding the elevator for him. Mattie continues into the basement, where she sees the Zieglar’s computer but she suddenly finds herself being attacked by a ghost until Dexter saves her. After getting her to safety, Dexter goes back to the server room and uploads Josh’s virus and the ghosts appear to leave, but the system suddenly reboots and the spirits reappear. Dexter and Mattie leave the building, just as a plane crashes nearby. Stealing a car, Dexter and Mattie drive out of the city, but as they stop to rest, they find themselves attacked by spirits until they manage to drive into a dead zone. As Dexter and Mattie drive to a safe zone, the movie ends with a voice over from Mattie, saying that the cities are theirs, as Josh’s ghost is seen looking out from an apartment.
Unlike the original movie, Pulse (2006) was heavily panned by the critics, earning a 10% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. The consensus was that it was a stale remake of the original, bypassing the emotional substance of the original and overcompensating with pumped-up visuals and every known horror cliche. The movie was a mild success, earning almost $28 million off of a budget of $20.5 million. The film also inspired 2 direct to video sequels that were both released in 2008.
On it’s own, this isn’t a bad movie but as a remake, it’s pretty weak. The acting was ok but in my opinion, the only person that remotely stood out was Ian Somerhalder (Dexter). I’m sure Kristen Bell was cast to cash in on the popularity of Veronica Mars, but she really could have been replaced by anyone. The story was different from the original movie, really focusing on the world’s growing reliance on technology/internet to stay connected whereas the original focused more on the loneliness generated in an overcrowded world. The special effects were kind of bland but the dark imagery in the movie did make them seem more effective. It’s decent, but if you really want to get the creeps from a movie, then you should watch the original.
Rating: 3 out of 5