Pulse ★★★★★

Odd, isn't it, that your denial of the existence of ghosts is the very reason they exist? That the fear of admitting life after death exists is intrinsically linked with the loneliness and isolation of the departed? That the lack of contact in the real world and in cyberspace, both worlds perceived as havens of interaction and communication, may not end in death? Maybe ghosts are real, maybe they're just as lonely as they were alive — whisper for help, writhe for acknowledgement, but everyone will try to forget.

This is my first Kiyoshi Kurosawa, and I have to say… what an introduction. I'm fully blown away by just how perfect Pulse is. The direction, the use of shadows against a dulled palette, the chilling score, and the sheer confidence throughout the movie that it'll scare the pants off anyone. This is scary, the scariest movie experience I've had in a while, and since its terror is so intertwined with sorrow and somberness, it's also one of the most deeply affecting movies I've seen. Seeing these people (and shadowy non-entities) wander through their lives with such sadness is a harrowing experience, to a degree most tearjerker drama films can only dream of. Pulse is as much an ode to the lost and lonesome as it is a cautious tale of Internet isolation and grief, and it's bloody brilliant on both fronts. It's truly a flawless film and, needless to say, my go-to reference point for J-horror from now on.

Beyond the red tape, something sad is stirring in the shadows.

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