"Is anyone still watching?" "..." "Hello?"
At the beginning of the summer, Latin Snake spoke with us a bit about the editorial guidelines for our reviews, and he provided us with the important caveat that some films simply might not merit more than a paragraph of write-up. Until this moment I hadn’t encountered one, but I should have known it would happen before the summer dragged to its end. So yes, ladies and gentlemen, if I wanted to I could review Pulse in two words and two words only, which is the question that was foremost in my mind when I walked out of the theatre: “Why bother?”
But I’ll expand on that question a bit, and in so doing, start a second paragraph, which frankly I didn’t intend to do when I sat down to start a-typing. It should be obvious from the tone of the above that Pulse (or more precisely, Pulse, Brought To You By Motorola) was not a very good movie, and that said question was posed in two directions: the first to myself, interrogating my motives for ever having sat through it (motive: Nobody else on staff would do it), and the second to the filmmakers and production company responsible. Seriously, why bother? If you’re going to make a horror movie, shouldn’t it at least be scary? If you’re going to make a movie about the apocalypse, shouldn’t the apocalyptic bits look different from the shots where someone’s walking down the street in broad daylight? (The visual style for the film is horrendously monotone, rendering moments that should be creepy flat and rendering moments that should be flat, well, even flatter). If you’re going to film in goddamn Romania, are you really going to have the balls to try to pass off a Soviet bloc cityscape as Columbus, Ohio? If you’re going to set up an internal logic as to how the “monsters” (are they ghosts? Are they monsters? What are they? The film never bothers to explain) travel, shouldn’t you also try to follow it, even a little bit, so that the film bears some kind of passing resemblance to reality and can therefore be even slightly disturbing? Had they sent me on the press junket (not that they probably splashed out for one, since the budget was so thin that they filmed in – I’ll say it again – goddamn Romania, and apparently lost the bidding war for Ashanti to John Tucker Must Die and were forced to settle for Christina Milian), I’m sure I would’ve embarrassed a few people with these questions. Before being swiftly ejected.
So yes, I pose the question to you now, dear reader: Why bother? Do not see Pulse (no matter how much you love Veronica Mars – yes, I’m looking at you, fellow nerds). Going to see it crowded out the time and money I would’ve spent on The Descent, which I hear is legitimately both scary and satisfying; please, learn from my wretched example.