(Review originally written at 5 July 2010)

To me, the Japanese movie "Kairo" was an huge surprise. I was expecting a "Ringu" like Japanese horror movie but instead got a thought provoking, well scripted movie, that was not even really an horror at all. It was an highly original movie with some great themes in it. Like all successful or remotely interesting foreign movies, Hollywood also decided to remake this movie for the more mainstream audiences. It means that they changed quite a lot for this movie, which unfortunately is not for the good of it.

I can definitely see how this movie can come across as incredibly confusing and as hard to understand nonsense, if you haven't seen the original movie. The original movie already was an incredibly hard one to follow at times but at least it all in the end made sense. This movie does however too hard its best to make sense, by simplifying lots of stuff in the movie. So what you have now in its core is a difficult main plot, with some simplistic explanations hanging around it. It doesn't make the movie easier but instead more ridicules. It's hard to buy anything in this movie, if you don't understand what the story in its essence is all supposed to be originally about.

It was quite surprising to see how much of the story they had changed for this movie. The original movie in essence was all about loneliness, while this movie is simply about ghosts, causing some kind of apocalypse, when they get unleashed through the Internet. No, most of the changes are not for the good of this movie. Suddenly the ghost are murderous evil characters, trying to scare and kill people and even the reason for the red tape in this movie has changed into something quite ridicules and it doesn't even get explained well enough. The title "Pulse" even doesn't make sense anymore.

This movie was obviously aiming toward an horror audience, with its creepy atmosphere, scare moments and lots of special effects. The average horror lover however will care very little about this story and are more interest in some good gore and scares, which this movie does simply not have. So it's kind of hard to tell what is the right audience for this movie, which should also be the reason why the movie didn't do too well and it's being rated quite poorly. This movie will get probably watched by mostly horror lovers, who will simply not love this movie.

But in all honesty, it just isn't an horrible movie. But again, this might also probably be due to the fact that I already knew what the story was all about and heading toward because I had already seen the original Japanese production. I'm sure if I hadn't watched that one, I would had hated this movie far more, strangely enough because it would had been a far more confusing movie. Now I could understand the story, even when it didn't got told too well. Some of the good ideas of the original are still present in this movie, though they do not get handled too well.

It's a simplistic movie, with an hard main story, that doesn't really know how to reach the right kind of audience. I can definitely say you are better of watching the original and then come back and revisit this movie. Changes are you'll probably like it better then.


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About Frank Veenstra

Watches movies...writes about them...and that's it for now.
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