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Pulse (Kairo) (2001)



Average Rating: 6.8/10
Reviews Counted: 49
Fresh: 36 | Rotten: 13

A sinister spine-tingling techno-thriller whose artistry lies in the power of suggestion rather than a barrage of blood and guts or horror shop special effects.


Average Rating: 6.4/10
Critic Reviews: 16
Fresh: 11 | Rotten: 5

A sinister spine-tingling techno-thriller whose artistry lies in the power of suggestion rather than a barrage of blood and guts or horror shop special effects.



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Average Rating: 3.3/5
User Ratings: 11,544

My Rating

Movie Info

As one of the most cutting-edge Japanese filmmakers, Kiyoshi Kurosawa once again wraps a lowbrow, much-maligned genre -- in this case horror flicks (which were the rage in Japan at the time of this release) -- around some decidedly highbrow philosophical concepts. At the film's outset, Michi (Kumiko Aso) and her cohorts at a rooftop nursery cannot get ahold of their co-worker, Taguchi (Kenji Mizuhashi), who has an important floppy disk. When she ventures over to his apartment, she finds him


Drama, Horror, Mystery & Suspense

Kiyoshi Kurosawa

Feb 21, 2006

Magnolia Pictures - Official Site External Icon

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All Critics (55) | Top Critics (19) | Fresh (36) | Rotten (13) | DVD (13)

Where the average Japanese horror flick is petulant and nasty, Pulse is dolorous, shivery, and surreal.

February 24, 2006 Full Review Source: Boston Globe
Boston Globe
Top Critic IconTop Critic

It's an apocalyptic ghost story with some eerie images and a surprising turn toward the end, but it bogs down considerably between the good scenes.

December 16, 2005 Full Review Source: San Francisco Chronicle
San Francisco Chronicle
Top Critic IconTop Critic

It's not about blood, gore and oozing innards but unsettling creepiness that gets under a moviegoer's skin and makes the hairs stand up on the back of your neck.

December 15, 2005 Full Review Source: Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Top Critic IconTop Critic

While it's rattling your nerves, Pulse leaves your brain wanting more.

December 2, 2005 Full Review Source: Seattle Times
Seattle Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

It's best just to give yourself over to its dizzy dreaminess and abstract analysis of the persistent, beckoning throb of the digital underground.

December 2, 2005 Full Review Source: Detroit Free Press
Detroit Free Press
Top Critic IconTop Critic

By the end of Pulse the world seemed a whole lot creepier place. I'm pretty sure that means it worked.

December 2, 2005 Full Review Source: Detroit News
Detroit News
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Not just the scariest sample of J-horror I've yet seen, but also the most profound

August 30, 2009 Full Review Source: CinePassion

It's scary, it's depressing, it's engrossing, and it's good.

April 29, 2009 Full Review Source: Cinema Crazed
Cinema Crazed

in the labyrinthine fabric of Pulse, different characters must all, one by one, confront their own isolation, insignificance and deepest, darkest despair.

August 3, 2007 Full Review Source: Eye for Film
Eye for Film

Some find it pulse-pounding, while others might be so bored they will have to check to make sure they still have a pulse by the time it's all over.

March 3, 2006 Full Review Source:

(The remake) looks like it will hit the right notes, especially for American horror fans. But I don't think it will hear the mournful music of the original.

February 17, 2006 Full Review
Capital Times (Madison, WI)

Pulse's craft as a dread-fest is superb.

December 23, 2005 Full Review Source: Window to the Movies
Window to the Movies

Even the technology, employed to aesthetic end, creates less a sense of visual poetics than of out-of-date-ness.

December 21, 2005 Full Review Source:

Pulse is emptied and perplexing at trying length.

December 16, 2005 Full Review Source: San Diego Union-Tribune
San Diego Union-Tribune

Kurosawa... scares the bejeezus out of us.

December 15, 2005 Full Review Source: Combustible Celluloid
Combustible Celluloid

The second half of Pulse, in which it becomes clear that the entire planet is being rather swiftly depopulated, is worth the build-up.

December 15, 2005 Full Review Source: New Times
New Times

...genuinely creepy in a slow and steady way.

December 15, 2005

Still creepier than any of your other '05 slash-by-number horror films.

December 9, 2005
Planet Sick-Boy

Kurosawa... fills the film with an eerie emptiness, where suicides erupt out of nowhere and mankind dissolves in an oily smudge of hopelessness...

December 4, 2005 Full Review Source: Seattle Post-Intelligencer
Seattle Post-Intelligencer

Kurosawa's concept of an instant-messenger-aided apocalypse is honestly one of the eeriest, most lyrical visions I've ever seen on a screen.

December 1, 2005 Full Review Source: The Stranger (Seattle, WA)

Audience Reviews for Pulse (Kairo)

Not so creepy. Not so scary. Just seemed to never end....
October 23, 2012

Super Reviewer

A plague of ghosts abduct the living, leaving Tokyo and the world nearly deserted. Confusing, creepy, ambitious J-horror that tries to say something about modern loneliness.
January 13, 2012
Greg S

Super Reviewer

A computer programmer succumbs to depression and suicide after viewing a mysterious website featuring enigmatic figures in morbid situations. One of the original of the new wave of J Horrors, Pulse actually has a far stronger premise than most; that the spirit world has become vastly overpopulated and started to bleed into the living world. Unfortunately the story barely explores the implications of the idea til the last 20 minutes or so, leaving the vast majority of the rest of the film as a bunch of kids staring at pasty faced figures lurking in darkened corners and getting spooked by mysterious phone calls. In other words, exactly the same recipe as every other J Horror out there. It's quite atmospheric and the audio-visuals are occasionally interesting but by the time it had actually got to the point I didn't care any more. This may well be of interest to horror aficionados, but I'm just bored of the whole genre
July 5, 2011
xGary Xx

Super Reviewer

There's a good film here, unfortunately it took me too long to realize it, then it finished. I found the story quite confusing to follow early-on so I had a tough time getting into it. Not so many scary moments either surprisingly, but there's a constant creepy atmosphere and a few moments that'll give you the chills. I really need to watch this again though when I'm in the mood.
January 28, 2011
Lee ?

Super Reviewer

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Foreign Titles

  • Pulse (UK)
  • Kairo (FR)
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