"PULSE 3"
DVD Review
by Kevin Carr


    MOVIE: **1/2 (out of 5 stars)
    DVD EXPERIENCE: **1/2 (out of 5 stars)

    STARRING
    Rider Strong as ADAM
    Brittany Finamore as JUSTINE
    Georgina Rylance as MICHELLE
    William Prael as CLIFF
    Noureen DeWulf as SALWA

    Rated R
    Studio: Dimension Extreme

    Directed by: Joel Soisson

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You’ve gotta hand it to the Weinsteins. They not only are good at making art house films (or at least they were a few years back, although 2008’s “The Reader” is quite fantastic). They’re also good at franchises, mostly of the genre film variety.

The Dimension Extreme arm of The Weinstein Company has been giving us predictable sequels to mega and minor box office hits throughout the year, and this has been going on as far back as their Disney days when everything was released under their Dimension label.

The second sequel to “Pulse” is out on DVD, and it’s very much as I expected for a direct-to-DVD release of a smaller horror movie. This might appear to be a dig at the film, and I suppose if all you’re interested in is so-called “significant” films or major theatrical releases, it would be.

However, I have a certain amount of affinity for “Pulse 3” because I like direct-to-DVD horror flicks like I like the occasional Big Mac and fries. It’s not high quality work, but it’s a nice diversion from bigger movies. It’s the same reason I will occasionally watch the modern day monster movies SciFi Channel shows each Saturday with my kids.

“Pulse 3” actually works better than the original theatrical release of “Pulse” because the bar is a bit lower. It’s direct-to-DVD, and it doesn’t star name actors like Kristen Bell or Christina Milian. And while I haven’t seen “Pulse 2” to bridge the gap, I could figure out what was happening.

This third chapter in the series takes up well into the apocalypse. Humanity has been driven from the cities by the psychotic ghosts that haunt people through electrical signals. Justine (Brittany Finamore), who was just a child in the previous movie, is now living in a refugee camp in Texas. She’s tired of her downtrodden existence in the camp, and she longs for a life outside.

One day, she discovers a lap top in an abandoned car. When she turns it on, she starts to receive instant messages from a stranger, which asks her to leave the camp and come to the city. Justine complies and heads into the literal ghost town to discover what awaits her.

“Pulse 3” is slow going at parts, but I will commend it for being unique into its own series. The weight of having to remake a Japanese film has been lifted a bit, and the movie feels more Americanized. The ghosts don’t look so much like Samara from “The Ring.”

The climax is interesting, featuring an appearance by Rider Strong, whom you might remember from “Boy Meets World” and his other horror movie, Eli Roth’s “Cabin Fever.” The R rating for violence doesn’t cover the whole film. While there are some nice moments, including a suicidal ghosts about half-way through, the film attempts to be more psychological than gross-out.

The advantage I see to this film is that it’s at least got a different horror adversary to it. While the ghosts resemble zombies, they aren’t the flesh-eating walking dead. And at least they’re not angst-ridden vampires from Seattle.

The DVD comes with a feature commentary by the writer, producer, editor and lead actress. There’s also a behind-the-scenes featurette of the film, which covers some interesting points, including the special effects and the make-up.

“Pulse 3” is worth a look for direct-to-DVD horror fans, as it’s at least different from a lot of what’s out there in the horror aisle of the video store.

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