Kairo – The Original Pulse
Kairo is a Japanese horror film that is based on the novel of the same name by Kiyoshi Kurosawa, who also directed the film. The film was released in 2001 and since has collected a cult following. Pulse is the American re-make of this film, and although there are some minor changes in the plot, the idea for both films is essentially the same.
Kairo seems to have a few more details than Pulse as to what the ghosts are, spirits somehow spilling out of the afterlife because it is full, and using the internet to do so, but overall it is similarly vague as to how, and why they then kill the living.
The movie is based in Tokyo, which slowly begins emptying of inhabitants who disappear, leaving black stains, just like in Pulse. The Japanese storyline follows two characters who meet up later in the film. Kudo Michi (played by Kumiko Aso) is a woman working at a plant sales company, who is the equivalent of Kristen Bell’s character, Mattie in Pulse, and Kawashima Ryosuke (played by Haruhiko Katô) who is the equivalent of Ian Somerhalder’s character. Ryosuke seems to play more of a major role in Kairo than Dexter in Pulse, but dies in the end, where as Dexter survives.
The theme of loneliness and alienation is more prominent in the Japanese version of this movie, blaming technology and the internet as a force driving people apart, where as in Pulse, it is only slightly mentioned by Mattie’s therapist regarding the suicide of her boyfriend. Perhaps the slight modernization of Kairo in Pulse took away from the original story, or perhaps the public is too internet savvy these days to experience same kind of fear as its original audience, but either way this original technological horror flick, is worth watching.