Blu-Ray Review: Pulse

For a period around the turn of the last century, Japan dominated the market when it came to the art of fear. This fertile patch produced some of the most iconic and terrifying works of horror cinema. Ringu, Audition, Ju-on: The Grudge and Dark Water set the tone for modern movies. A generation of new directors demonstrated how image and sound could be combined to cause utter and absolute dread. They rejuvenated a stale genre. However, the best of this era, and arguably of all time, is Kiyoshi Kurosawa’s Pulse (Kairo).

When Taguchi (Kenji Mizuhashi) commits suicide, Michi (Kumiko Aso) is shocked. When, one by one, the rest of her workmates begin to withdraw and become depressed, she wonders if it’s connected to a strange image on Taguchi’s computer and the mysterious ‘Forbidden Room’. Ryosuke (Haruhiko Katô) signs up to the internet for the first time, only to discover his computer accessing a website showing unsettling images of people alone in a dark room. A technophobe, he enlists the help of a student (Koyuki) to help him. As more and more people start to go missing, and strange apparitions begin to appear, they both strive to find answers.

Pulse is more of a terror than a horror. Focussing on isolation, Kurosawa catches the fear and paranoia which was running through Japanese society. A generation was becoming more withdrawn, choosing to spend their free time alone online. When the apocalypse comes, it’s not some huge natural disaster or nuclear Armageddon. It’s people giving up hope. A disease so deadly no one sees it coming. Pulse is one of the most harrowing, soul-destroying, perplexing and terrifying horror experiences you’re likely to experience.

Special Edition Contents:

  • High Definition digital transfer
  • High Definition Blu-ray (1080p) and Standard Definition DVD presentations
  • Original 2.0 audio
  • New optional English subtitle translation
  • Broken Circuits: a new video interview with writer/director Kiyoshi Kurosawa
  • Creepy Images: a new video interview with cinematographer Junichiro Hayashi
  • The Horror of Isolation: a new video appreciation featuring Adam Wingard & Simon Barrett (Blair WitchYou’re Next)
  • Original ‘Making of’ documentary, plus four archive behind-the-scenes featurettes
  • Premiere footage from the Cannes Film Festival
  • Cast and crew introductions from opening day screenings in Tokyo
  • Trailers and TV Spots
  • Reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Tommy Pocket

FIRST PRESSING ONLY:Illustrated collector’s booklet featuring new writing on the film by critic Chuck Stephens

Pulse is released on Dual Format Blu-ray and DVD by Arrow Video on Monday 10 July.

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