Is Kurosawa’s scare story the best of this century?
2001 OUT NOW Dual Format EXTRAS Making Of, Featurettes, Booklet
Ijust got the creeps,” says one character in Kiyoshi Kurosawa’s horror masterpiece, and you’ll know just what she means. The story of ghosts invading our world via the internet might sound like tosh – and is, as Kurosawa freely admits, a copy of Hideo Nakata’s Ringu – but mastery of mood establishes it as the finest film of the J-horror cycle and one of the very best horrors of the 21st Century.
Finding dilapidation and desolation amid the bright lights of Tokyo, Kurosawa paints every desaturated frame in dread, his lonely protagonists soaked in sadness as their attempts to connect via technology only deepen their desperation. The low-lit, smudged visuals demand that your panic-widened eyes scrutinise every corner of every composition, but in vain: fear seeps into your pores to smother your soul.
The transfer is impeccable, and extras on Arrow’s disc include an archive Making Of and a best-avoided featurette on the effects (sometimes it’s better to maintain the mystery). A new, lengthy interview with Kurosawa tracks his origins in ‘pink’ films (erotica) and straight-to-video thrillers, and sees the Japanese master (his Cure and Retribution are also both five stars) list Pulse’s influences: Godzilla, Suspiria, Cronenberg’s genre/art films and, bizarrely, Tobe Hooper’s The Funhouse and The Mangler. You haven’t seen anything quite like Pulse, though
– and that includes the godawful 2006 Hollywood remake. Jamie Graham
She’s clearly not got the memo about private space on public transport.