Kairo (Pulse) 2001
Directed by Kiyoshi Kurosawa
You may be familiar with the name “Pulse” after it was released as a mediocre blip of a horror filme starring Kirsten Bell (of Veronica Mars fame). You may not have noticed until Pulse 2 and 3 were released straight to DVD with a combination of atrocious writing/acting and effects. This is only a sad legacy because it was all based on a fantastic Japanese horror film called “Kairo”.
Japan is inexplicably plagued by suicides. Sadness and depression begins to grip the populous. It follows a lot of the conventions established by films like “Ringu” and “Ju on” with the female, dark haired spirits but mixes it up with inventive scares and a healthy level of tension. For the record, the dark haired pale ghosts have been a mainstay in Japanese history for centuries and have popped up in Japanese film since there was film to pop up in.
The spirit world has decided they no longer like being trapped outside our world, and decide to force their way into ours through the technology we’ve surrounded ourselves with (the internet and cell phones of course, “One Missed Call” takes another shot at our “connected culture”). Once they make contact with you
you descend into darkness and depression and eventually join the ranks of the spirits themselves, usually killing yourself in a spectacular way.
The soundtrack is almost silent, this makes the haunting noises and wailings of the spirits far more disturbing, yet hauntingly musical. The atmosphere is built almost entirely off the unnerving quietness and occasional piercing moan, very similar to “The Eye” in how much the noise of the angry spirits remains with you long after the film is done.
“Kairo” is genuinely one of my favorite films of the past couple of years, it shouldn’t be missed, especially if you have to get the nasty taste of the American trilogy out of your mouth (There are currently only three but somehow they’ll drag the franchise down as low as possivle). Since it is an actual good movie I don’t want to give too much of the plot away. Find it, watch it. Now.