Movie Title: Kairo / Pulse
Date Released: February 10th, 2001 (Japan)
Date Seen: January 10th, 2014
Language/Country of Origin: Japanese / Japan
Part 1 – Spoiler Free Quickie Review
A movie about the dangers of technology – and how we might spend a little bit too much time on the internet and literally lose ourselves into it.
This movie has been sitting in my queue for a while, and Netflix is getting rid of it (on instant) so I sat down to watch it. I wasn’t a fan of the movie. It moved to slow, seemed not well explained to me, and I didn’t care for about half of the characters. However, I think a lot of problems in this movie were caused by cultural differences and translation issues. Another thing that caused some issues is how much technology has changed since this movie was made. The movie tries to be a commentary on how the people that spend all their time online are essentially ghosts. The movie then takes this very literally by having a portal open up between the spirit world and the human world through the internet or technology. This is obviously a bigger issue now, with so much technology keeping people from real life interactions, but the movie just didn’t really hook me. Honestly, it was a bit confusing too, but I think that was just the subtitles were poor in the version I watched. I didn’t understand why people would freak out so much over someone being late for work, and I think it was something cut out of the subtitles instead of just “he’s late”. More like a “he’s late and is never late and isn’t answering his phone”. I also because of this was never scared. There wasn’t that much of a creepy atmosphere going on, just because I was missing so much.
There were some things I liked, like the way that a grad student explains ghosts. He says that all souls go to some other realm, but like any realm, it has a finite limit. Once that realm has reached its limit, they start “oozing” into other realms, including the physical world. That is how the situation in the movie got started. The thing the movie doesn’t really explain is that this is happening EVERYWHERE. But again, it was probably my version of the movie that didn’t explain this well, due to the subtitles. So please, try to find a good version if you see this movie.
Best character is definitely Kawashima. He doesn’t try to hide the fact that he knows literally nothing about computers to the pretty computer science girl, and is just a sweet guy. I wanted to be his friend. He had the right amount of understandable creeped out by the things that were going on, unlike the girls, who I didn’t get why they were freaking out half the time.
The director loves curtains, shadows, veils, and screens to distort the images of people that are “dead” or dying. He does it a lot. I mean, the screen part is obvious, but he also gave away when someone was going to die soon because they’d slowly appear behind more things. The shot was pretty and cool and first but after about 5 or so people, you just don’t care anymore.
I was just disappointed in this movie. I wanted it to be great, but it was so dated and the subtitles were so bad, that I couldn’t get into it.
Part 2 – In Depth Spoiler Ridden Review / Synopsis
I hated Sasano. She would get all annoyed when Yabe didn’t show up for work, and then whines like a little brat when he “ignores her”, and then says “well who cares” and goes on like nothing matters. She seriously throws like a two year old little girl fit. Her character was all over the place. She did it when the boss was missing as well, she went all whiney again. “whaa I opened up this door and see the scary ghost lady but refuse to leave”. I wanted her to die, all the time.
I love the book that Kawashima is reading that says “Everyone dies, so there is no logical reason for ghosts not to exist.” Ie, the evidence that ghosts exist is that people die…. ha. I’m hoping something got lost in translation there, because that was pretty funny if not.
Again, I admit that part of the reason I might not have liked this was due to the horrible subtitles. It has potential to be a lot better, but was so dated and badly translated that I was not scared at all, and was honestly quite bored during the movie. A disappointing fail.