Japanese vs American Pulse

The film Pulse and its American remake had an array of interesting similarities and differences. Some pretty obvious ones were the acting, lighting, and chain of events. In the Japanese version, all the actors’ movements and reactions to even the most frightening things were very subtle and quiet whereas in the American version, the characters were much more expressive and dramatic. The lighting was extremely different: in the original, the lighting was pretty natural, except in the scenes with ghost or haunted rooms where it was typically dark. Contrastingly, in the remake, it was dark almost the entire movie except some scenes at the beginning before all of the bad things started happening. Even though there were terrible events taking place in the Japanese Pulse, it wasn’t always dark and hard to see the characters faces like it was in the American version. Something else very different was the way that the situations and the storyline are presented to the viewers. The American version provided a lot more context and background details whereas the Japanese version was very vague and somewhat open to interpretation. This may have something to do with both countries’ contrasting histories and current events around the time period of the films’ release.

Surprisingly, despite all of these major differences, there is almost exactly the same plot. There were even a few of the exact same tiny details and scenes in both films that made it very obvious that it was the same film but remade differently. For instance, the scene with the TV pausing all of the sudden was the same in both films. There were also a lot of the same settings (the library, the first character to die’s rooms) and specific details that were noticeable right away. Watching the two films back to back really made the cultural influences on the plot and film style stand out.


3 thoughts on “Japanese vs American Pulse

  1. The plots were actually so similar that I expected the voice over at the end to be the same. Both films played off the fear of technology and how there was no way to fully escape the system. As the main characters escaped the city, Pulse had exactly the same airplane-crashing shot. In an odd way, the movies almost resembled love stories because the main characters ran off together at the end. The major difference in the plots were the ways in which the ghosts were portrayed. In Kairo the ghosts were creepy just being there. The build up of emotions during their presence was enough of a scare without showing a bloody death. In Pulse, the ghosts are out to get you. They break the props, pull the characters, suck out their souls. The two versions of the movie show just how different one plot can be portrayed.

  2. I did happen to find that the lighting was much brighter and natural in Kairo because I believe they wanted to have the effect of a peaceful existence that was disrupted by something foreign, as said in the interview that was given about Kairo. Pulse, on the other hand, makes the mood very quickly with the low key lighting that was going to be scary and the deep shadows outside even enhance during the day. The night and day has very little difference, it seems. The genre horror was very foreign to me because I have always wanted to watch funny videos rather than scary movies because it sets me in a better mood. This time, as you said, the culture does stand out different in the movies. The plot is very similar in the two movies and it allowed me to see the genre and the culture.

  3. This film definitely shows the cultural differences between movies in the same genre. I also thought that Kairo was more open to interpretation and vague compared to Pulse. Pulse was easier to follow and had a more stable plot. I was confused by what was happening at multiple times in Kairo because there are many characters and I didn’t know what their relationships were. However, the details were similar in both movies and they even had the plane crashing in the end. One thing that stood out to me about the plot was that in Pulse, the ghosts came from a traceable source, in this case, the wifi signals. In Kairo, we never knew how the ghosts were hacking into the computer systems and left us wondering what would happen next. In American horror there tends to be a plot of good versus evil, whereas in Japanese horror the evil is all around and unstoppable.

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