After seeing Pulse, you might want to check if you still have one. If the ghosts in the machines don't get ya, boredom might.
The thing is, Pulse actually has a pretty compelling premise. From the furtive mind of co-writer Wes Craven, it shows how our society's utter reliance on broadband and telecom technology has come back to bite us in the ass. A college student, trying to hack into a system, inadvertently releases some massive malevolent virus from beyond that infects anyone with a computer, cell phone, PDA, you name it. In other words, there's a whole lotta crack in that Crackberry now. Unfortunately Craven, or whoever else tinkered with Pulse, has to also adhere to the movie horror genre, throwing in the same old scare tactics as we watch pretty young things Mattie (Kristen Bell) and Dexter (Ian Somerhalder) run around trying to stop the bad, pasty-white ghosts before they, too, are infected. The one saving grace is the ending doesn't cope out.
Perky and blonde, Bell (of TV's Veronica Mars fame) is highly capable of convincing us she's freaked out. As Mattie, she witnesses her boyfriend killing himself, watches all her friends turn into black ash; we certainly feel her pain. But there's a determination there, too, and somehow you know she going to outsmart those nasty spirits--or at least outrun them. Her cohort Somerhalder--best known to Lost fans as Boone, the show's first major casualty--is right there with her, every step of the way. It's comforting, actually, to put hip young stars in horror movies because it makes it easier to root for their survival.
First-time director Jim Sonzero--probably a little freaked himself, making a big-budget movie AND dealing with the Weinstein brothers (who produced Pulse)--looks like he watched movies like The Ring and Dark Water over and over. Granted, Pulse is also based on a Japanese horror film, Kairo, so it makes sense everything is so cold and bleak, with rundown, filthy apartments and lots of concrete. Creepy movies couldn't be nearly as effective in a brightly lit environ, I suppose. What's interesting, however, is how some of the masters of horror of our generation are thinking alike. Craven isn't alone in his telecom fears. Stephen King has also come out with a new novel called Cell, which basically addresses the same issue, but in a far more twisted way, god bless him. In fact, King's end-of-the-world story starts with what he calls "The Pulse," which is sent via cell phones and makes everyone who has one go crazy. Yep, Craven and King are definitely on the same wavelength. Now, that's a scary place to be.
Hollywood.com rated this film 2 stars.