Screened as part of NZIFF 2006

Pulse 2001


Directed by Kurosawa Kiyoshi

Belated NZ debut a hair-raisingly eerie ghost thriller, unjustly eclipsed by glut of J-horror imitations in the wake of Ring’s success. The last word in diabolical technological horror. (2001)

Japan In Japanese with English subtitles
118 minutes 35mm

Director, Screenplay


Hayashi Junichiro


Kikuchi Junichi


Haketa Takefumi


Kato Haruhiko
Aso Kumiko
Arisaka Kurume
Matsuo Masatoshi
Sugata Shun
Mizuhashi Kenji
Yakusho Koji


Cannes (Un Certain Regard), Toronto 2001; Rotterdam 2002


Unjustly eclipsed by the glut of J-horror imitations spawned in the wake of Ring’s success, Kiyoshi Kurosawa’s Pulse is ostensibly the last word in the now-familiar genre of modern technology ensnaring youth in its diabolical viral grip. But the film takes the cautionary, machines-as-a-subsitute-for-human-connection idea one existential step further by viewing it through the prism of a fearsome notion rarely addressed in the genre: the crushing, all-consuming void of eternal loneliness. From the premise of a creepy website causing a spate of unexplained suicides and disappearances all over Japan, Pulse, under the direction of Kurosawa’s lingering deadpan lens and absorbing, slow-burn pacing, develops into a hair-raisingly eerie ghost thriller. Dare we say it boasts the single most terrifying apparition in the history of cinema? It is also a startlingly original vision of impending apocalypse, with an emotional punch that’s doubled when you consider the year it was made, and the exact nature of its fiery climactic imagery.