Pulse-pounding fun!
Updated: 08-11-2006

Pulse, co-written by horror maven Wes Craven, is no Scream — but that doesn't mean it's not a scream all the same.


In my opinion, Pulse should be a midnight movie. I could definitely see the fans in attendance wearing red tape on their t-shirts, carrying loofas and cell phones, clutching raggedy cat puppets, while quoting the hilarious dialogue and swinging their Ethernet cords aloft like lassos. All that's missing are the corsets and musical numbers.


The thing that makes the movie so amusing, is that it is not played for laughs. There is no intentional comic relief, but the overwrought performances by the Butterfly McQueen of Horror, Octavia Spencer ("I don't know nuthin' 'bout no compuuuuter!"), and Brad Dourif as a drunken diner patron (if only he'd been noshing a ham and cheese sandwich in addition to the scenery!) who pops up like a jack-in-box then retreats never to be seen again, are simply laugh-out-loud funny. (Not to dis the actors, because they are both terrific... yet terrifically over the top.)


Kristen Bell from Veronica Mars plays Mattie, a college student plagued by the unexpected suicide of her boyfriend and a few pesky ghosts who've found their way out of the machine. 'The machine' is our technology: Computers, cell phones, and snazzy washer-dryer combos. The creepy critters have been unleashed into our world thanks to a virus called redtape.exe, and somehow this translates to actual red tape over windows and doorways keeping them out… sort of. That's the typical tease of Pulse: certain rules are seemingly established, then abandoned without a backward glance or a word of explanation.


Along for the supernatural soiree are Mattie's buddies, played by Samm Levine and Christina Milian. Ian Somerhalder from Lost plays the newbie to the clique who's drawn into the wicked worldwide web of destruction after he buys Mattie's dead boyfriend's cast-off computer. He and Bell redeem themselves reasonably well in the movie. In spite of being hampered by some rather absurd dialogue and being made to perform some typical dumb horror movie character machinations, I did enjoy spending an hour and a half with them.


The monsters in Pulse offer some pulse-pounding fun — particularly the one in the laundry room who's frantically separating the whites from the colors before the whole load is ruined. Too bad they didn't let him edit the movie. He's a cool cross between Telly Savalas and a Lovecraftian nightmare, and this scene does leave a burn-in impression — here's hoping for more of him on the unrated DVD. I'm also interested in seeing how the director's cut disc compares; I believe Sonzero has talent, but it is hard to tell thanks to a script that seems to have had more hands in it than the ones on the movie poster.


Even though it was for all the wrong reasons — I am sure the filmmakers are hoping the audience will be scared — I had a great time watching Pulse, and when the DVD comes out I just might have a Pulse party. The cold pizza and spiked coffee's on me.


= = =

Reviewed by Staci Layne Wilson

Latest User Comments:
I liked it!
Didn't rock my world - but I liked it and it kept me awake for a while after! Nice.:)
09-22-2009 by Gothchic discuss