Saturday, August 26, 2006

Pulse (2006)

No wonder director Jim Sonzero wouldn't do press for this film -- if I'd done such a thorough botch job, I wouldn't want to talk to anyone either. To be fair, there's not much he could have done with the screenplay from which he was working. It has one terrific if familiar idea (technology is all around us; what if it turned on us?) and does absolutely nothing with it. The concept is window dressing for yet another J-horror-inspired booga-booga bore, and like most it snatches the incomprehensible plotting but forgets the well-honed sense for the uncanny that gives the incomprehensibility its force. (And I'm not even a fan of most J-horror.) But that doesn't let Sonzero off the hook. His visual scheme is leeched of any color save for metallic grey and steel blue; I understand the monochrome palate is intended to signify a dying world, but it's tough on the eyes and frankly dull. The film's major problem, though, is its capitulation to the American taste for loud jolts and jump scenes. It's bad enough that Sonzero telegraphs every single stinger, but tossing in the audience goosers indiscriminately destroys the atmosphere that the rest of the low-key narrative is attempting to build. Shock is easy; dread is hard.

Grade: C


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