Kairo (Pulse) (2001)

7.5 Overall Score
Story: 6/10
Acting: 6/10
Visuals: 9/10

Good visuals, interesting theme

Would like a central character to develop the theme

Movie Info

Movie Name:  Kairo (Pulse)

Studio:  Toho

Genre(s):  Horror

Release Date(s):  February 10, 2001

MPAA Rating:  R


Don’t remove the red tape…apparently it keeps ghosts in or something…

The dead are reaching out to the living through the internet and technology. When the dead come in contact with the living, a sense of dread encompasses the contacted, and the encounters spread like an infection. People begin disappearing and everyone in the detached society is becoming more detached. The darkness is spreading, and it might be unstoppable.

Directed by Kiyoshi Kurosawa, Kairo or 回路 (also known by its English title of Pulse) was met with much critical acclaim and has gained a cult following. The movie consistently makes the lists of top horror movies (especially those lists of movies you might not have seen).


Hey, wasn’t that a person there?

I had heard a lot about and seen lots of praise for the movie. With a lot of build up, I had a hard time keeping interested. The movie is largely atmospheric and slow paced. The results are creepy, but I just couldn’t get into it. Much like many Japanese to United States movies, there is a strange detached feel to the film…here, it is the theme, but it also hinders the movie.

I like how Kairo looks and sounds.  Kiyoshi Kurosawa (no relation to Akira Kurosawa) does some strange things with the audio which is rather unnerving. The movie will have a soundtrack or sound and then it will suddenly stop. Visually, there is a lot of horror in the shots. You know something bad is coming, and you know the direction it is coming from, but like the characters, you can’t seem to turn away once it begins. With such great direction, I wish I could get into the story more.


Hey…are you like Casper?

I couldn’t get into the characters.  Like Ju-on or The Grudge, there are a few storylines that eventually come together into one story.  I found this aspect disjointing since you never really got a feel for the main characters, and if you lose the characters to me, you often lose the story.  I wish the movie had followed on one central character who slowly sees their world disappearing.  This is kind of present in Michi Kudo (Kumiko Aso) who ends up being the central character, but I wanted her to stay the central character instead of jumping to another storyline.

I wish I liked Kairo more.  It looks great, sounds great, and has a great atmosphere.  I like the theme of detached and think the idea makes for a great film, but I don’t love the story.  Kairo was remade for the United States in 2006 as Pulse starring Kristen Bell and Ian Somerhalder.

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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