No Pulse

Pulse, written by Wes Craven and Ray Wright, based on the Japanese film Kairo by Kiyoshi Kurosawa, drected by Jim Sonzero, starring Kristen Bell (Mattie) and Ian Somerhalder (Dexter) (2006): Horror movies involving emerging technologies can often be hilariously overwrought, especially when those emerging technologies aren’t understood by the makers of the film. In Pulse, life-stealing thingies that ride the cell-phone and wifi network invade a college campus. Hilarity ensues.

The colossal dumbness of this movie is really quite invigorating. It starts as a horror movie, turns into a global apocalypse around the 45-minute mark, and ends with five minutes cribbed almost verbatim from the end of The Terminator. All that, and it’s based on a Japanese horror film. Hoo ha! And as it turns out, this is all the result of a telecommunications project that tapped into hitherto “unknown areas” of the electromagnetic spectrum. Um, OK. And get this: the thingies are afraid of red duct tape.

Seriously. A particular type of red duct tape is a colour that blocks the thingie-signal. Did Red Green script-doctor this movie?

In a better, wackier movie (one probably starring Bruce Campbell), the efficacy of the red tape would cause our protagonists to wrap baseball bats, tennis rackets and golf clubs with duct tape so that they can do some serious supernatural ass-whupping. Unfortunately, the smartest characters in this movie, played by the eerily good-looking Kristen Bell and Ian Somerhalder, aren’t that bright. Thankfully, the thingies have serious trouble walking through walls, so escape is always an option. No one in this film had heard of a cellphone jammer, though.

I’ll leave you to figure out the crowning stupidity of the last five minutes. It won’t take long. Earlier, though, there’s a great sequence in which a thingie emerges from a non-working college-dorm clothes dryer. Did someone leave her cellphone in her pants? Does the clothes dryer get great cellphone reception on its own? And why is this movie called Pulse? Oh, for a roll of red duct tape. Really not recommended unless you need a good laugh.

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