Tuesday, 12 July 2011



Remember Pulse? That weird little American remake of a Japanese original in which some kind of virus thing goes, well, viral across the whole of electronic technology and causes some kind of wifi apocalypse? Crucially, I don't remember much more than the vaguest outline of various people sellotaping themselves in their bedroom and - unless I dreamt it - someone got killed by a wifi-enabled washing machine. (I remember even less of the Japanese film.) Brilliant isn't the word.

Nor is brilliant the word for Pulse 2, unfortunately. In fact I was absolutely baffled for the first fifteen minutes and while it might have been a good idea to catch the first one again, it really shouldn't be necessary. You don't need to be intimately familiar with Mad Max before embarking on Mad Max 2, but in these post-Saw days it seems sequels assume an unreasonable degree of familiarity with previous instalments. It starts off with a distraught mother Michelle (Georgina Rylance) searching for her daughter Justine after the black-ash apocalypse: the city is deserted and the only people around are the infected, with black-vein markings on their skin. Also looking for Justine is her father Stephen (Jamie Bamber), who wants to get her to a vigilante-protected safe area, away from the electronic projections of the dead (if that is what they actually are)....

This is nonsense. It's also rather weird looking, as if it was all shot on green-screen, even scenes that didn't need to be. Occasional incidents, such as an entirely random self-immolation, and a few nice visual moments please, but it still needs to be harnessed to some kind of logic. Are they ghosts returned via the internet? Possessed by some kind of virus? There's just not enough clarity. What there is is a Pulse 3, but that doesn't appear to have a DVD release in this country. Maybe that will explain it all, but again, shouldn't the movies stand on their own? The odd moment aside, it's pretty dull and not very good. Subtitled "Afterlife" on the artwork but not on the film.


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