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Two years after the original film's events, Karen's sister Aubrey finds herself affected by the same curse. But what has this to do with the families in Chicago, the photo journalist in Hong Kong and three school girls from Tokyo?
With the US remake of The Grudge grossing over $110million in the States alone it came as no surprise that a sequel would be fast-tracked into production. With its cursed house, a small boy in ghostly white who yells a lot and a girl with far too much hair lurking around, the American remake of The Grudge made a lot more sense to me than the Japanese version and made for a fun night out.
By the close of the Eighties the horror genre, particularly in the States, had become tiresome and formulaic. In place of actual chills there were more bloody spills with each death sequence becoming more elaborate at the expense of plot and character empathy, within franchises that had ran out of audience goodwill.
Venturing into the cinematic marketplace fresh off such lacklustre thrills was director William Friedkin's The Exorcist. It took audiences away from the assorted Freddy and Jason sequels and thrust them back into a flick that relied more on mood than disposable thrills. Unfortunately Friedkin's return to the horror genre also required a gargantuan suspension of disbelieve from viewers still trying to fill in gaps in a script that thought it didn't have to spell out anything, aside from the opening sequence, as to what was going on.
It's a bold intention going against the grain of our spoon-fed multiplex mentality however The Guardian still does spoon-feed but in all the wrong places and not enough in the right. Friedkin's movie opens with a prologue that basically lets the audience know everything it should expect from the next hour-and-a-half. It was an opening scene it could have done without. Horror movies are about surprising the audience not tipping them off from the start.
Meet Rasputin, a completely bonkers Russian monk who needs to attend some anger management classes to curb his bullying behaviour, although despite being very ugly and very opinionated he manages to seduce any woman he sets his mind on; of course it helps that he can hypnotise them!
Through this method of seduction and with his ability to cure people with placing his hands upon the sick or injured he soon wheedles his way into the Tsarina's confidence, but as he starts pushing things too far he makes enemies who set out to put an end to his dastardly deeds.
Historically it is pretty much out of the window, but hey - it's Hammer Time!
A philosophical spin on the conventional ghost story, Pulse sees a small number of Japanese youngsters, most of whom do bugger all work at a rooftop nursery they are employed at, muse about the pointlessness of their existence as the Internet acts as a gateway for ghosts to pop back into the world of the living.
"Would you like to meet a ghost?" asks the movie's tagline. You may not meet one whilst watching Pulse but you will certainly look like death warmed up come the end of this self-important slice of Japanese horror.
Produced, written and directed by Kiyoshi Kurosawa, who infected his way into the horror fan's consciousness with 1997's Cure (Kyua), Pulse sees him wave a critical finger at the negative effect he feels technology, here the Internet, has had on Japanese people. Kurosawa has drawn on the phenomena known as Hikikomori meaning 'acute social withdrawal'.
The director sees this phenomenon a direct result of people being overwhelmed by such technology. Whilst dressing his story up in such a meaningful fashion Kurosawa has lost sight of the fact that saying technology is bad is not exactly a new concept in Japanese horror - Hideo Nakata's The Ring (Ringu) anyone?
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- The Grudge 2 (2006) Review
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- Rasputin: The Mad Monk (1966) Review
- Pulse (Kairo) (2001) Review
- The Reptile (1966) Review
- The Night Evelyn Came Out of the Grave (1971) Review
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- Island of Lost Souls (1932) Review
- Deadly Tantrum (2006) Review
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- The Zero Boys (1986) Review