The American remake of Kiyoshi Kurosawa's Pulse is already previewing in movie theaters, but why settle for a copy when you can have the real thing, with its spooky made-in-Japan vibe? Like Ringu and Ju-on, which morphed into The Ring and The Grudge, Pulse is an exercise in atmospheric horror. Instead of people leaping out from behind doors and shouting "Boo!" they stay back there, lingering in the darkness. Oh, and they're dead, which makes Pulse a ghost story ' a ghost-in-the-machine story, to be exact. Having run out of room in the netherworld, the once-alive have found a way back to ours, and wouldn't you know it, it's through the Internet. Once here, they roam around, infecting the still-alive with existential dread. Suicides ensue, lots of them.
Pulse drifts along just slowly enough that you may want to check it for a pulse every once in a while. But Kurosawa certainly knows how to drench the screen in foreboding. (And the soundtrack is a symphony of musique concrÃte ' everyday sounds that seep into your bones.) Computers are a bit of a red herring, by the way. The real villain of the piece is our fear of death, a fear so fearsome that we're willing to kill ourselves to overcome it.