Opinion based Horror

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.


3 thoughts on “Opinion based Horror

  1. In Kairo and Pulse, you were right about the lighting and the effects. The cinematography is also very special when you are talking about the big difference between the two. In Kairo, the cinematography is very wide and encloses the whole environment so that you are more watching the movie instead of being a part of it. In Pulse, I felt like I was very into the movie because it was so close up and sometimes the monsters would look like it was looking at you. Both have very large effects on how the audience feels because one is very creepy and leaves you with that feeling. Pulse, on the other hand, gives you very high emotions during the scenes but when the movie is over, there is not much fear left.

  2. I agree that Kairo had a lot more realistic sense of time, in Pulse, the fact that it is never sunny and rains everyday is a little too much. The film has a messed up sense of time because it is never sunny, I know it is suppose to make the mood grim and depressing but it is just too much. The evil was also a lot more unrealistic in Pulse. I think that is also a testament to the cultures. The Japanese version is less dramatic and more realistic.

  3. Oh I am most certainly not the most affluent my knowledge of horror films. But at the very least I can determine the key differences between the cultures on horror. I was also confused with Kairo, but as we spoke about it more, I begun to like it more. It made me realize that American horrors often peg the audience as uncultured and needs everything catered to them, whereas Japanese films allowed the audience to fill in the detail themselves, and mostly gives the audience the necessary colors to complete the picture. Pulse used what would be typical of American horrors, low key lighting, rapid movements, graphic images, suspenseful music, and so on. In my opinion, Pulse was very boring and predictable and loss its fear factor very quickly. But Kairo, however, kept its feeling fresh and lingered even slightly a bit after the film.

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