In regards to the genre, both Japanese and American versions of Pulse portray horror in a fashion that is synonymous with each of their cultures. In the American Pulse, the film is more straightforward as it basically spoon-feeds the audience the context of the film and leaves little room for them to ponder the message of the movie. Consequently, due to the American version’s lack of mystery, the film must rely on graphic images, tense music and jump cuts to evoke fear in the audience. The film also relied on special effects and close up shots to establish the state of fear needed. Essentially, the audience is left feeling that the film tried too hard to scare them.
On the other hand, Kiyoshi Kurosawa’s Japanese Pulse leaves much more mystery throughout the film compared to its American counterpart. Even towards the end of the movie, the audience is left with much more to ponder, as many questions must still be answered. It is in leaving the audience with such ambiguity that Kurosawa is able to evoke the psychological fear that is common in Japanese horror films. By comparing the loneliness of death with that of a life filled with technology, Kurosawa leaves his audience with a fear of isolation that they can better relate to than a ghost popping out at them while they do their laundry.
Kurosawa’s film is able to better convey this fear of isolation by making the scenes with the highest tension silent and the use of the long shot to show the distance between many of the characters. It makes the audience feel that although people live in the same world, technology isolates them and it is the reason why they never truly connect. Ultimately, Kurosawa proves that true horror does not need graphic, “up in your face” intensity to strike real fear in the audience.