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By Ian Grey | Posted 8/16/2006

Strictly speaking, Kiyoshi Kurosawa’s already classic 2001 nightmare Pulse didn’t score points by making linear sense. An almost unbearably scary-sad movie, the original Pulse used its trash-horror hook--the dead reclaiming Earth via telecommunication devices--as an unlikely go-point for existentially achy, uncanny meditations on urban spiritual squalor. Its "plot" was an intricate weave of seemingly disparate, uncanny images: a black splotch on a wall where a person should be, strangers furtively sticking red rape to a factory wall, a haunted woman wrapping her arms around nothing and telling it, "I love you." Dimension Films’ remake--directed by Jim Sonzero in color-desaturated Bucharest locations--has a decent idea of what made the original great but, in catering to American market needs, attaches to it an ungainly teen-movie frame, imposes what logic it can find in Kurosawa’s original, and loses the poetry in the process. Kristen Bell (TV’s great Veronica Mars) plays a student whose suicide boyfriend seems to have uploaded a nasty virus that includes mpeg attachments of the deceased. Instead, it turns out the dead are Wi-Fi-ing their way into this world, leading to some OK re-creations of Kurosawa’s set pieces. Like Sarah Michelle Gellar in her J-horror remake, The Grudge, the intrinsically plucky Bell makes an unconvincing victim. Otherwise, not an awful picture, just profoundly unnecessary.

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