Not being a horror movie person both Kairo and Pulse were hard to watch. However, besides my own biased opinion, these movie eloquently illustrate the differences between what is consider horror in two different cultures. If I had to pick I would go for the Kurosawa-portrayed horror versus the American, “omg there is a ghost run and scream” version.
As soon as Kairo ended I will admit I was a little confuse as to what I had just seen. However, after discussing it in class briefly and giving it some more thought, I love it. The film forces the viewer to think about the current plight and capture the realization that there is no solution. The use of long shots, low extra-diegetic music, and controlled character reactions to ghost makes the Japanese horror film stand out from what we might be use to. Not only did Kairo create this eerie feeling of hopelessness and despair but also left me with it too. In Pulse I am constantly being “scared” by ghost. Pulse does the opposite from Kairo: it grows a bigger connection between the viewer and fear versus the viewer and the plot with fear resonating from its main idea.
Furthermore, the acting and lighting is tremendously different. In Pulse there is a lot of low key lighting, kind of like its 12 O’clock in the after noon yet it looks like 4am in a bedroom versus Kairo has a more realistic sense of time. However, the acting differences really surprised me. In Pulse you had your typical high extra-diagetic sound correlating with the characters current state of fear and suspense and then boom, the ghost appears. In Kairo is a more subtle eerie tone, atmospherically lurking feeling capturing the audience as well as the character, softly introducing the ghost. Maybe this doesn’t scare you right away but it definitely builds up fear, creepily.