Pulse (2006)



Dear god, why did I waste 90 minutes of my precious life on this film? Why did the filmmakers waste so much of their time making it?

The story of how I came to watch Pulse yesterday afternoon is an interesting one. When it came out on DVD a few weeks ago I thought it sounded interesting. Or rather, when I learned that it was a remake of a Japanese horror film, I became interested in that.

I immediately went to Blockbuster.com and added the film to my queue. Well, I added the Japanese version, the American remake, plus another film named Pulse because I couldn’t quite figure out which version was the remake. Blockbuster’s website is amazingly slow, at least on my computer, and at the time it wasn’t worth the effort to try to figure out which was the proper one.

I put on the Japanese one first, figuring that if it was any good I’d determine which version was the remake and watch it. Of course, this being Blockbuster, their screwy queue system never works properly and I generally get my picks out of order. So, even though the Japanese import was number one in the queue, an American film titled Pulse, which was several movies down in the queue came first (and I should note the films above it are all listed as “available.”)

Putting the film in I assumed it was the American remake, but later found out later that it was in fact a British film titled Octane. Why the Americans have renamed it Pulse is beyond me. Is Pulse a better title than Octane? Do Americans not understand what “octane” means? The fact that it was changed means there was some board meeting discussing this very thing. Insanity reigns.

Anyway, the film was mostly lousy but contained a few interesting moments and was highlighted by a pretty good performance by Madeline Stowe. Then I soon discovered other movies that looked interesting, put them all way before the correct versions of Pulse in my queue, and promptly forgot about my desire to see the films.

Two days ago a friend and I went to see a movie (Night at the Museum – much funnier than I expected it to be for those of you keeping count) and afterward, he invited me over for some pizza. I had a Blockbuster return in my car so I decided to swing by there first. The only great thing about Blockbuster’s online rental program is that you can now return their mail-in movies to the local store where they will not only tell the computer to send another movie out but will let you exchange it for an in-store movie.

Being that my friend was expecting me, I quickly skimmed the new release aisle for something I hadn’t seen. Hmmm, what’s this? A new horror flick called Pulse? Sure, that sounds good. Now as insulting as it sounds, I really didn’t remember all the stuff that had happened previously in the above paragraphs and had no idea what Pulse was.

Took it home watched it and then remembered that this was the remake.

My kingdom for a better memory.

Oh! That I should have remembered and got something else. What a stinking goat turd.

Pulse has an interesting concept – the dead have found a way back into our world by slipping in through a previously unused and unknown frequency unleashed by some crazy virus-happy hackers. But the execution of this idea is astoundingly bad.

The dead find a way back to the real world, and what do they do? Drain the life out of the living, that’s what. That might make sense if this somehow made the dead more alive, but it doesn’t seem to have any effect. They just like making us living people want to kill ourselves. It’s fun, I guess.

The movie doesn’t concentrate on things like plot, or meaning, but rather spends its time trying to give the audience cheap scares. Honestly, I don’t mind a cheap scare movie, I can dig being jolted time and time again, but here they transcribe the scares minutes before they happen. Every. Single. Time. Oh, there’s a scary musical queue. Oh, the lights are flicking. Oh, suddenly our character is alone and in a strange place. Do you think something is going to jump out at them?

“Terrible” is the word.

Did somebody say plot holes? Did I hear the word continuity? You can almost hear the film saying in a Spanish accent, “we don’t need no stinking’ continuity.” You see the dead, they come through the internet onto your computer screen and then into your soul. Except when the plot needs them to come through other portable media like cell phones and PDA devices.

Then that’s okay too. Because those things have wireless connections right? Then well, okay, sometimes they can come through the computer even when it’s unplugged. But maybe they made their way into the computer before the power outage. That makes some kind of sense, until a character is in the basement doing her wash, then we need the bad guys to come out of the dryer. I guess it was a souped-up internet-ready dryer.

That kind of junk happens throughout. They make some arbitrary rules and then break them because they need another scare. But again, it isn’t scary because you know it’s coming from about three blocks away.

The only redeeming quality about the film was the inclusion of Samm Levine (who played Neil on the excellent, but quickly canceled series Freaks and Geeks) and even he has a small, nondescript part.

I spit on this movie. I fart in its general direction. I damn the 90 minutes I wasted watching it.

5 thoughts on “Pulse (2006)

  1. Something tells me you won’t be giving it a 9 on IMDB! Excellent review though, it’s awful when you’re at different points in a film and you just know you will never get that time back.

    • I tend to be the sort of person who finishes a movie even though I know it won’t be time well spent. Since writing this back in 2007 I have actually seen the original Japanese movie and it is excellent.

    • I was a very big fan of all the J-horror stuff that came out in the early 2000s. Hollywood did a bunch of remakes of those films a few years later and most of them are not particularly good (thought I do enjoy The Ring).

  2. To be honest i have not seen the original of that i don’t think, but i do agree. A very good remake is rare, and i never understand why they remake classics either.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s