Director Kiyoshi Kurosawa brings an imaginative contemporary twist to the traditional framework of the horror genre, and the actors convincingly depict the mounting terror. Kurosawa maintains suspense by combining a foreboding enigma with the common fears of a computerized society. Starring Haruhiko Kato and Kumiko Aso. Directed and written by Kiyoshi Kurosawa. Produced by Daiei Co. A Magnolia release. Thriller. Japanese-language; subtitled. Not yet rated. Running time: 119 min
"Pulse" generates considerable tension from an increasingly common plague in our increasingly electronic world -- a computer virus. But it's much more than hard drives at stake, as we see when a young woman, Michi (Kumiko Aso of "Dr. Akagi"), goes to the apartment of a co-worker to obtain a disk containing a business document. Michi gets the disk, but suddenly her colleague hangs himself. A shadowy figure appears on his computer monitor. Meanwhile, Kawashima (Haruhiko Kato), a student, is connecting to the Internet when a message appears on his monitor: "Would you like to meet a ghost?" Sinister images begin to appear on computer screens, followed by bizarre behavior and mysterious deaths. Eventually Michi and Kawashima join forces to escape the lethal virus that is spreading throughout Japan.