10 Years: “Pulse”

Creepy films involving the dead are nothing new. In the mid-2000s, this became a go to type of film, but not because of originality. No, Hollywood was all about remaking Asian horror films, to varying degrees of success. If only more of those film ended up on the positive side.

The Dimension Films film “Pulse”, has its major creepy vibe down, but can’t seem to do much else with its story.

This supernatural horror film stars Kristen Bell (upcoming series “The Good Place”, “Bad Moms”), Ian Somerhalder (upcoming season “The Vampire Diaries”, “The Anomaly”), Rick Gonzalez (upcoming episode “Arrow”, “Bad Dad Rehab”), Zach Grenier (upcoming episodes “BrainDead”, “The Good Wife”), Kel O’Neil (“Harvest”, “Easier with Practice”), Samm Levin (“Mutt & Stuff”, “Another Period”), Octavia Spencer (upcoming “Hidden Figures”, “Allegiant”), Ron Rifkin (“Limitless (2015 TV series)”, “Gotham”), and Christina Milian (upcoming “The Rocky Horror Picture Show (2016)”, “Grandfathered”).

The film was directed by Jim Sonzero (“The Pugilist”, “War of the Angels (Short 1999)”) and written by Wes Craven (“My Soul to Take”, “The Hills Have Eyes II”) and Ray Wright (“The Crazies (2010)”, “Case 39”).

The film originally opened on Aug. 11, 2006.

It’s been some time. It usually has been. This in turn led me to being incredibly excited about this film. I don’t think many have made me this excited. Memories of this film were coming back and they all seemed to indicated I would have a great time with this film once more! Well, I did and I didn’t. I’m still not too sure on which one embodies this film experience, but it’s one of them more so than the other.

The best thing about this film, although I’m sure you could argue all day long about this point, is that it’s creepy. It’s creepy all the way through, but the problem is it’s not really creepy enough. 10 years later and the idea of what’s creepy or even frightening has drastically changed. When I think about this and the film now, it’s clear that this is what drove me to like it so much. Well, and Bell, always Bell. I found that it does still allow for this film to be quite entertaining. It got under my skin a little, but that’s really all it needed to do. Probably because I’ve seen it and knew what to expect.

The creatures, the ghosts, and the way they were used is what even makes this film watchable. The design work and the way they move is excellent. They’re somehow able to move through the wifi and technology, and while it’s all a bit silly, it makes common technology a bit scary. The only upside to this film coming out in 2006 is that, compared to now, I feel the whole use of cell phones wasn’t as common. It probably was, but looking at the world today, it seems like things have been multiplied by 100. The execution of the scares, is a bit mediocre, but it’s not all about lazy jump scares. There’s some effort put in and it’s what keeps this film’s creepy atmosphere alive. Obviously, it’s also it’s greatest weakness. This film’s not that scary, and I could easily see how someone would get bored and end up hating this film.

Helping this, and your experience, are the various characters. They’re likable. Not much effort was needed to bring about likable college students, all of whom are friends. It’s a situation we’ve all been in at some point. There’s not much else that can be said, which is sad, and apparently another downside to this film. While there’s a big mystery, and they all want to know what the hell’s going on, Bell more than any of the others, you’re still limited to what you get to know.

If it isn’t obvious by now, this film didn’t turn out like I’d expected. It’s far worse than I remember, or clearly ever thought. It entertained me enough, but up to a point. The reason behind why these entities were terrorizing Bell and Somerhalder, and everyone else, is well, it’s a bit confusing. Sure it’s stated plainly, but even how they came to be was not something I could buy into. I’m willing to believe most things with supernatural or sci-fi films, but if it doesn’t sound plausible when explained, or I just get plain confused, then I can’t even pretend. Milian tells Bell that “They want life”, which on its own makes no sense. How are they getting this life? Do they have bodies to go into? It doesn’t seem so after what happens to some of the people in this film. Somerhalder discovers something on Bell’s boyfriend’s computer, which is equally absurd, even though Craven and Wright try to make it make sense. Somerhalder says that Josh “Pulled ghosts through the wifi”. What? I was fine with technology being the conduit and essentially an evil thing, but now I’m not. Now it just sounds stupid. It’s pretty much from this point that I lost interest and really can’t view this film the same anymore. What a shame.

Even though I can now see how badly this film sucks, I still can’t help be okay with this level of mediocrity. Nowhere near as scary as “The Descent”, or any of the other horror films I’ve seen these past few years, but it’s got a major creepy vibe going for it. Perhaps it’s the fact hat I’ve been exploded to so many other mediocre and bad horror films that this one can stand so high. It could be far worse. It could be the “Paranormal Activity” films.


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