Concerned about the welfare of Taguchi, who has been working
alone on a data disc and has been out of touch for a week,
Michi calls at her colleague's apartment. While she is collecting
the required disc, Taguchi hangs himself in another room.
When the disc is played, Michi and others see static film
of Taguchi's apartment. He is standing motionless, and the
imagine on his computer shows the same picture. Meanwhile,
technophobe Kawashima loads an Internet server disc. Afterward,
it shows him a static film of someone sitting in a dark room.
The chair moves closer to the screen, and Kawashima loses
his nerve and pulls out the plugs. At odd moments, however,
his computer continues to dial-up a connection by itself.
Finally he seeks help from Harue, an IT teacher. A "forbidden
room" sealed with red tape is discovered in Taguchi's old
apartment, and there is an encounter with an apparition looking
as lifeless as those individuals seen in the static film.
All parties are to learn that there are other sealed rooms.
The realm of the dead is becoming overcrowded and is beginning
to seep into the real world...
this is more like it. Pulse is an intelligent, atmospheric
and creepy film. It is eerie in the same sense as The
Ring; this dates itself after that classic
but before The Grudge and Dark Water. Ghost
stories are what the Japanese do best at the moment. As I've
reasoned in previous reviews, although entertaining, many
horror films don't have the power to shock or chill anymore.
The supernatural is the genre most likely to make the hairs
on the back of our neck stand on end. Death is the only certainty
in life and something we are all at least a little apprehensive
about. Pulse strikes just the right balance of using
technology with base instincts, with the emphasis in this
case placed on lonely people who are being displaced.
hoping for Hollywood-style whizzes and bangs should leave
this film to the more discerning viewer. Pulse is well-structured,
with periodic moments of hair-raising terror for anyone willing
to immerse themselves appropriately in the story. The scene
in which Junco, a colleague of Taguchi, is backed into a corner
in the "forbidden room" is a good set-piece, as is the moment
when Kawashima is watching the hooded figure get closer on
his monitor and, visibly shaken, he disconnects his computer
before the figure can pull off the hood. The "Help ... Help
... Help ..." messages which come through are also quite chilling.
Throughout the film you are under the impression these events
are just affecting a close-knit handful of people, only to
discover later through much devastation it has had considerably
wider-reaching implications. The whole of Tokyo, if not the
country itself or much of the modern world.
niggle is I don't think the incidental music score is used
to its strengths, although it does prove effective to stop
the music entirely when something of major incident takes
place. What Pulse does prove is that it's not necessary
to throw a fortune at a project to make it outstanding. Not
as effective as The
Eye (a classic in my humble opinion), but very
nearly as good as the original Japanese version of The
Ring. A very solid piece of work.