Critics Consensus

Another stale American remake of a successful Japanese horror film, Pulse bypasses the emotional substance of the original and overcompensates with pumped-up visuals and every known horror cliche.



Total Count: 73


Audience Score

User Ratings: 83,291
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Pulse Photos

Movie Info

Imagine our wireless technologies made a connection to a world beyond our own. Imagine that world used that technology as a doorway into ours. Now, imagine the connection we made can't be shut down. When you turn on your cell phone or log on to your e-mail, they'll get in, you'll be infected, and they'll be able to take from you what they don't have anymore--life.

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Kristen Bell
as Mattie Webber
Ian Somerhalder
as Dexter McCarthy
Christina Milian
as Isabell Fuentes
Jonathan Tucker
as Josh Ockmann
Samm Levine
as Tim Steinberg
Ron Rifkin
as Dr. Waterson
Joseph Gatt
as Dark Figure
Kel O'Neill
as Douglas Zieglar
Tate Hanyok
as Cafe Girl
Amanda Tepe
as Grad Student/Margaret
Zach Grenier
as Professor Cardiff
Corryn Cummins
as Crying Girl
John Burke
as Newscaster No. 1
Julie Lancaster
as Female Newscaster
Lee Oliver Boyd
as Newscaster No. 2
Steve Tom
as Newscaster No. 2
Di Quon
as Christina
Brad Dourif
as Thin Bookish Guy
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News & Interviews for Pulse

Critic Reviews for Pulse

All Critics (73) | Top Critics (22)

  • As the ghosts suck the life out of their victims, the audience suffers the same fate.

    Sep 23, 2006 | Full Review…

    Nigel Floyd

    Time Out
    Top Critic
  • A remake that ain't an upgrade.

    Sep 5, 2006 | Rating: 2/5 | Full Review…

    Jamie Russell

    Top Critic
  • A handful of creepy visuals can't make up for a mountain of shortcomings.

    Aug 19, 2006 | Rating: 2/5
  • It would have been a lot scarier if the film's college kids, haunted by comrades who stare back at them from cyber-hell, looked like they had lives worth saving.

    Aug 18, 2006 | Rating: C- | Full Review…
  • The remake begins with the same premise and appropriates the most striking visuals, grafting them onto a more explicable but equally dull George Romero-style doomsday scenario.

    Aug 17, 2006 | Full Review…
  • What was dreadful and trance-like in the original feels here like nothing-much-at-all sandwiched between some stock horror jolts.

    Aug 17, 2006 | Rating: C-

    Keith Phipps

    AV Club
    Top Critic

Audience Reviews for Pulse

  • Jul 06, 2012
    nothing remotely scary, just the ususua boring teen horror film. Wes Craven again puts he's name to an inferior film. the ending was intriguing but the whole idea is a little over the top
    Brendan N Super Reviewer
  • Dec 30, 2011
    Another Hollywood's failed attempt to adapt J- Horror, the film used grotesque images to cover up the flaws in the plot and some suspense that failed to make the audience suspenseful. The satire message of the use of technology didn't convey well, making it an below average flick.
    Sylvester K Super Reviewer
  • Aug 29, 2011
    2.9/10 "Pulse", also known as "Kairo", was a nice, creepy Japanese horror film that made its U.S. debut in 2005 and has since garnered somewhat of a cult following. Don't get me wrong; it's a good movie, and it got some solid praise, but the fans love it the most and boy do they know it. I also assume that they will be the first out of many to be pissed off when it comes to the film's American remake, which is about as bad as every other recent J-horror remake. It has no soul, no scares, no atmosphere, with characters and dialogue written as if they were spewed right out of The Asylum; and I'll assume you know who I'm talking about. This film is very, very bad. So bad that, in fact, I could barely stand it. While I happily floated in the intelligent, suspenseful depths of the original "Pulse", this remake is too stupid to really enjoy. It takes a good premise - the one from the original - but this time, it adds in characters as thin as paper, and scares that are nothing short of wit-less. The problem is that there are many horror movie clichés, and well-made genre pictures can work their way around them, but this is a great example of a movie that is not well-made, and therefore, it cannot achieve any of what it intends to. But then again, I suppose it might entertain the stupid teenagers that think they understand that genre, and therefore go to see the film because they think it's going to be loaded with insanely creepy CGI visuals, and they would be right. Now, the story involves, if you recall, a virus spread through electronic devices and the internet. It allows ghosts, ghouls, SPIRITS, if you may, access to the world of the living. It is there that they feed off our very souls, hoping to cast the entire Earth in their own dark shadow. But we must have characters; oh yes, we must. Mattie (Kristen Bell) is just one, out of far too many (of these "characters"). She is a student, studying to be, if I remember, a...shrink? Yeah, I think that was it. We learn that Mattie's boyfriend has killed himself for whatever reason, although that reason (oh yes, that reason) shall be revealed later in the film, and I would spoil it for you, but that would go "against the rules". Anyways, regarding the character of the boyfriend, he is first seen wandering a dark library (horrible idea, but just in my opinion, you know) in the film's opening scenes, and then, out of the blue (or out of the darkness, whichever you prefer), he is assaulted by a library-dwelling ghostie that pops out at him and yells "boo!" It would appear that he was down with some sort of sickness, and this is precisely why he might have hung himself by a computer cable. However, as these movies go, this just wasn't the END of these suicides; it becomes an every-day thing, and a threat to the characters and their mental states. This is where we're supposed to find out that the ghosts have some sort of evil scheme planned out; and I already mentioned what it was. The idea that the original "Pulse" brought to the cinematic screen was a good one. I admire how the Japanese value technology and intend their horror films, involving technologies, to be, should I say, cautionary tales? If not, then it's just going to show how easily a ghost can find its way from its world to ours with just the click of a button. One of the film's gimmicks is the quote that the ghosts send to the people via computer: Do you want to see a ghost? It's a dumb gimmick, really, it is; but it got the attention of some, and hey; that works for the film's benefit, doesn't it? The actors are emotionless. The tension is frightless. The story is senseless. What more can I tell you? "Pulse", the remake, is dull, derivative, and stupid enough for one to despise every moment within it. It does, like most remakes, make me want to revisit the original; and that is something that I might do very soon. But for now, I'd see it; and I'd avoid this lame, repulsive, intellectually insulting piece of trash. Take my word for it; it's that bad.
    Ryan M Super Reviewer
  • Aug 22, 2011
    What is the deal with remaking excellent horror films? The films are terrific to begin with. There's nothing wrong with them, the only thing is that the American Studios want to cash in on the remake because they're so greedy and don't give a shit about destroying classics. With the remake of Kairo, now titled Pulse, we get just that. The film is a recipe for disaster. There is nothing good to be found within. The entire film is waste of Celluloid and it's just a big stylish special effects extravaganza. A good horror film uses atmosphere to build its horror, but this remake uses special effects, and it works badly. Although not as bad as the sequels, Pulse is still a sloppily made horror remake that just doesn't cut. The acting, story and directing are all terrible, and there's nothing going on that will appeal to the diehard horror fan. This is a pointless, awful remake of great film and it scraps the bottom of the barrel when it comes to trying to outdo the original. On the rare occasion a remake works, but 97% of the time, it doesn't. One reason they fail is because they never capture the essence, the creativity, the richness of the original film. Pulse is yet another awful horror remake and it doesn't work whatsoever. Luckily, it will be forgotten in the next ten years.
    Alex r Super Reviewer

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