Pulse

  • 2001
  • Movie
  • NR
  • Horror

If one masterpiece were to emerge from the recent glut of generally good-quality Japanese horror movies, this chilling apocalyptic ghost story from Kyroshi Kurosawa is it. After her friend and colleague Taguchi (Kenji Mizuhashi) doesn't show up to work for an entire week, Michi (Kumiko Aso) begins to worry. When she arrives at his apartment, however, she...read more

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Reviewed by Ken Fox
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If one masterpiece were to emerge from the recent glut of generally good-quality Japanese horror movies, this chilling apocalyptic ghost story from Kyroshi Kurosawa is it. After her friend and colleague Taguchi (Kenji Mizuhashi) doesn't show up to work for an entire week, Michi (Kumiko Aso) begins to worry. When she arrives at his apartment, however, she finds him alive and well but behaving a little oddly. As Michi searches for a computer disk she needs for work, Taguchi quietly hangs himself in the next room. A few days later, when Taguchi's coworker, Yabe, receives a pleading phone call from Taguchi's apartment, he races over only to find it empty, save for a strange, oily black smear on the wall where Taguchi died. Later that night while heading home, Yabe's drawn into a doorway that's been sealed off with red tape. Once inside, he has a ghostly encounter — one of the most frightening ever put on film — that will also drive him to suicide. Elsewhere, scruffy student Ryosuke (Haruhiko Kato) is hooking up his modem and Internet software for the very first time, but when he logs on, he sees only what appears to be a series of live, low-resolution video feeds beamed from apartments very much like his own. In each, the figure of a man or woman moves with a slow heaviness. Some look directly at the camera with tired, empty eyes, while others appear to be distracted, dazed or asleep. Then a question appears across Ryosuke 's screen: "Would you like to meet a ghost?" Spooked, he switches off his computer, but it's too late. Something has already found its way back into the world through Ryosuke's Internet connection — and connections like it all over Tokyo — something so dreadfully lonely and sad that it has the power to drain all who encounter it of their will to continue living. Kurosawa is the master of creeping, everyday dread; most often, the horror in films like CURE (1997) and CHARISMA (1999) comes not with a zoom and a scream, but with a disconcerting silence, and often in the background of an artfully composed long shot. Here, that bravura style is matched by profound emotional richness that's rare for a genre movie. What begins as a masterfully told ghost story full of shifting shapes and forbidding rooms soon evolves into the kind of pessimistic, dystopian dark fantasy that has made Kurosawa such an important force in modern horror. In Kurosawa's Tokyo the technology that should be linking his characters together is only isolating them further, and ultimately proves to be the conduit through which a final, fatal loneliness is able to infect their souls.

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  • Released: 2001
  • Rating: NR
  • Review: If one masterpiece were to emerge from the recent glut of generally good-quality Japanese horror movies, this chilling apocalyptic ghost story from Kyroshi Kurosawa is it. After her friend and colleague Taguchi (Kenji Mizuhashi) doesn't show up to work for… (more)

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