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Kairo
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Reviews & Ratings for
Pulse More at IMDbPro »Kairo (original title)

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111 out of 147 people found the following review useful:

The creepiest horror movie ever made

10/10
Author: Zev from Israel
23 July 2005

Sorry for the hyperbole topic but I mean it. I am a horror movie fanatic and I have become desensitized to cheap scares with loud noises and murderers running around with axes. I am very picky and only like one out of every few dozen horror movies I watch. I also don't like nonsensical supernatural horror that uses creepy images as a gimmick without actually bothering to make any sense. So when I say that this is the creepiest horror movie ever made, it is not hyperbole.

That said, this movie will bore or confound the average horror movie watcher. It is not linear or logical and it doesn't explain everything that is going on, but it doesn't have to.

This is an apocalyptic horror movie about loneliness and how people may become distant islands and ghosts even through connecting technology like cellphones and the internet. I don't know how anyone can make a horror movie about loneliness and make it creepy as hell but Kiyoshi Kurosawa pulled it off.

That's all you need to know. Experience it with the lights off, no breaks, noise or distractions, or I will lock you in a room with a depressed ghost and tape the door shut with red tape until you become so lonely you will evaporate into nothing.

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74 out of 89 people found the following review useful:

Major Creep Fest

10/10
Author: dbborroughs from Glen Cove, New York
17 July 2004

Why isn't this available in the US?

I don't know how to describe this with out making it sound like something its not, but I have to say that this is one of the creepiest and most disturbing films I've seen in quite some time. Its not perfect, even if I gave it a 10 out of 10, simply because few films have left me that uneasy.

Operating well with a sense that I can only describe as dream logic this concerns the really weird events surrounding several people who notice something is wrong when a friend goes missing. The friend is not the trigger, but the event that they notice making them suspect that all is not right in their world.

Everything about how this story is calculated to send slowly building shivers up and down your spine. There are no real moments of shock, just ever growing horror and unease. I hated the way that this movie made me feel but couldn't stop watching.

If there are any flaws is that the film is a bit long at just under two hours. The pacing wears and the logic, while frightening gets stretched almost to the breaking point.

If you can stand slow calculating horror films that freak you out with images and implications then see this movie. Its one of the best I've seen in a while.

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68 out of 93 people found the following review useful:

Forever death is eternal loneliness.

10/10
Author: HumanoidOfFlesh from Chyby, Poland
2 March 2004

Kiyoshi Kurosawa's "Kairo" has to be one of the most mesmerizing supernatural horror films I have ever seen.The film is loaded with extremely dark and brooding atmosphere and some scenes actually scared me.The photography by Junichiro Hayashi is truly beautiful and the score is very haunting.The theme of "Kairo" is that at the end of the line there isn't anything except a fearful nothingness-no heaven or hell,just a miserable eternity of living in between states.The film is cold and bleak,even nihilistic in its portrayal of total isolation."Kairo" is pretty slow-moving and there is absolutely no gore,so fans of "Scream" or similar crap will be disappointed.Still the visuals are amazing:dark skies,deserted streets and crawling shadows will leave you stunned.A must-see for fans of Japanese horror.10 out of 10.

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73 out of 103 people found the following review useful:

Incredibly Creepy and Haunting

9/10
Author: shark-43 from L.A. CA
5 November 2002

This film works on many levels. What's odd is that one place it is weak in is the plot - it does somewhat tie it all up and make sense but my main point is it doesnt really matter - the director set out to make a scary ghost story and that it is! I see horror films from all over the world so I am pretty jaded when it comes to something "scaring" me but this film has many sequences that truly are frightening and disturbing. Some of the images have stayed with me for weeks. The lighting, the art direction and the use of muted colors (aside from reds used effectively)all make up for a creepy, eerie visual. I have to laugh at the arrogance of some of the comments on this and other "horror" films that claim since it didnt scare them the film is NOT SCARY. That is b.s. What scares one person may not scare another. You can say the piece didn't scare you but to make such a sweeping statement is vain. I personally didn't like any of the Friday of 13th movies, but obviously those films work on some level for millions of people. This film is so non-American in it's pace and core that that is what might turn off some viewers, but that's what I loved about it. The director just sets up the camera and keeps it on a space and then has things slowly emerge from the sides - he has you start to look and scope and wonder if you are REALLY seeing something as opposed to the lazy, bloated SHOCK moment of most US horror films. There are moments when people are confronted by visions/images of ghosts that move and terrorize just like real dreams - slow movements, awkward movements as the ghost approaches you. Terrifying. The film definitely doesn't know how to wrap it all up but in many ways, I found this film even scarier than the original RING. Well made ghost story. Seek it out, fans.

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41 out of 57 people found the following review useful:

Remarkable, intensely creepy

8/10
Author: Robert W Saint John from San Francisco, CA
4 June 2002

I don't want to give away anything about this wonderful, haunting film. If you liked "The Sixth Sense", "The Others" or "Ring", this will show you how those films pale in comparison. I felt my skin crawl so many times, and the movie has been haunting my thoughts for days now. I sincerely hope that a wider audience has a chance to experience this dark, beautiful film.

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23 out of 26 people found the following review useful:

Probably my favorite movie

10/10
Author: Scatterpulse from Canada
3 July 2009

This movie is very touching. In fact, almost painfully so. I would recommend it to anyone in the mood to engage in a thought-provoking narrative about the human condition.

I have to admit that when I first saw this film I did not expect it to be what it is. The basic premise involves a haunted website, so when I sat down to view it I was expecting something at the same level of terrible as fear.com; instead, I was shocked to find a truly provocative story full of surrealism and drama that examines the concept of isolation and the deep fear that all people have of loneliness.

This, of course, means that the fear that Kairo invokes is not typical of the horror movie genre--at least not the North American horror movie genre; I can't speak for the Japanese--because it isn't really scary. It's disturbing and eerie, and frankly I wouldn't watch it alone in the dark, but I'll admit that I'm a bit of a coward (The Grudge still terrifies me, so make of that what you will). If you go into this movie wanting to see people being hacked apart, or if you want to be jumping out of your seat every few minutes by fake-out scares, you will probably be pretty angry by the time this one's over. Seriously--you'll probably be more freaked out by the original version of Dark Water, and that's saying something.

However, I don't think that's necessarily a bad thing. This film provides a very moving portrayal of people's inability to truly connect with one another. It offers a bleak examination of human nature without being heavy-handed or pretentious; it doesn't come off as condescending and the creators obviously aren't trying to be snobbish or "intellectual". It simply asks the question: can we ever truly connect with one another, or are we doomed to be alone by our very natures?

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30 out of 42 people found the following review useful:

Made me squirm...

8/10
Author: saladin-10 from Slovenia
12 March 2007

I'm an old horror buff. I've seen some of the more notorious stuff around (Salo, Cannibal Holocaust, Caligula,...), but they all more or less about visceral horror.

Which doesn't work if you helped slaughter a few pigs.

What does work? Psychological horror. Impending doom you cannot prevent. Things you can't see or understand, but that are there right in front of your face. Music that shouldn't be scary, but which lingers anyway.

It's a typical, slow moving J-Horror with an atypical idea behind it. That oblivion is actually preferable than immortality.

Gore doesn't scare me - but some ideas do.

Like i said - it made me squirm... One of the best horror movies ever made - for the patient ones.

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26 out of 39 people found the following review useful:

truly frightening

10/10
Author: Ryan Miller (rtil@washington.usa.com) from United States
13 June 2007

a horror film hasn't given me chills in a while. this film made me feel as isolated and terrified as the characters in the movie. I had seen the American re-make before this film, and i'm kind of glad I did, because I got to save the best for last. If you were disappointed by the American Pulse, this predecessor will certainly make up for that sorry excuse for a horror.

I can say without a doubt this is one of my top films to watch alone in a dark room if I wanted to scare the hell out of myself. And that just puts a big grin on my face. Not to mention, the lighting and cinematography in this film is also really well done, and adds a lot to the completely creepy mood throughout. While the story may be hard to follow if you don't know the history behind the film beforehand, it's scary either way. I've watched it twice now, and it's just as good the second time around. Even though this film is considered an older J-horror film, it's still fresh in my book.

I think horror film makers that rely on cheap thrills and gore should take Kairo for a spin, they'd learn a lot from it. Kairo is a truly haunting, scary film that will leave your eyes wide open in terror. 10/10

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14 out of 16 people found the following review useful:

More depressing than scary, and not worth 2 hours...

5/10
Author: MinionWench from United Kingdom
23 July 2008

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I fully anticipate some hate in my direction, as some people have really taken to this film, but I have to say that it has just never done anything for me. I first watched it a couple of years ago and I had to force myself to finish it, for the sake of finishing it, but I was overwhelmingly bored. I returned to it again this afternoon (with a little bit of an older head on my shoulders :)) and I feel I can sort of offer a little more than 'boredom' as a comment.

I think you have to start off be coming to this film with the right preconceptions, or at least not the wrong ones. It doesn't fit the same 'type' of J-Film as the Grudge or Ring, there are deaths but it's not some vengeful she-ghost hunting you for eternity, this film tries to utilise a different sort of 'horror', on a more emotional or psychological level by focusing on very everyday human fears such as death, the afterlife, and loneliness.

It's interesting to see how (although much of the technology in the film is now very dated) some of the comments on it - such as those about how the internet doesn't really connect people - are still quite valid. But one of the problems I came to realise that I had with the film is that its message of an isolated world, with people ultimately being unable to face existing alone any more, felt too forced. It was alluded to or actually stated by the characters quite repeatedly, it was unmistakable what they were trying to 'say', and the more they said it the more depressed I felt.

I wasn't scared by the thought, I wasn't horrified or disturbed I just felt a bit blue. Watching the world become less and less populated just felt a little too unbelievable, I felt I was watching a film taking place in some kind of parallel Earth, I felt distanced from it and that distance just sort of numbed the impact.

One of the things I did like were the two separate stories playing alongside each other, and the meeting up, but I felt that the male student's story was far more engaging than the co-workers, they never seemed to progress in the story, they just kept dropping out one by one until the requisite one was left behind.

I also have to agree that some of the film is beautifully shot, but to balance it there are also lots of grey scenes (some of which are quite hard to see), intended I think to add to the isolated, cold, world, but it's not really enough to break up the film or to keep it visually exciting. You can only sit and watch people having conversations, or wandering around unhappily, for so long. The use of music is very good, actually lifting up some scenes and making them quite memorable (I'm thinking of the jumping woman, for those who have seen it). But there seem to be quite long periods without it, or where it isn't used to contribute at all.

I'm not saying that this is a horrible film, but I'm trying to balance out that it won't suit some people. Rent it first if possible, this isn't the kind of J-Horror film (can we call it horror?) that all films seem to be marketed as at the moment, it really might work for you, but it just didn't have the effect on me that it seems to have done on others here.

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19 out of 27 people found the following review useful:

A unique Japanese horror film

9/10
Author: LoneWolfAndCub from Australia
21 December 2007

Kario (Pulse) is unlike any Japanese horror I have seen. As much as I love the Ju-On series, the scares come from creepy ghosts that pop-up from unseen places. They are good movies, but those scares wear off after awhile. However, in Kairo the ghosts don't pop up suddenly and they aren't accompanied by loud music. They are just there and boy are they creepy. Sometimes they do nothing, they just stand there, staring. It creates a feeling of unease and constantly keeps the viewer on edge.

It's not just the ghosts that are unique, the story is incredibly interesting and intelligent. But it is not linear, logical and it doesn't explain everything (it doesn't have to, though). It really leaves it up to us what to decide. This is what is so good about this movie, it's much unlike most horror films. Forget all the recent American horror films, although some are excellent they really aren't like this. This film is almost like a dream in some ways. It goes at a very slow pace (clocking in just under 2 hours) and there aren't a lot of scares. At times the story may seem illogical but I beg to differ.

Kairo is really an apocalyptic horror much like the 2002 British horror film 28 Days Later (just replace zombies with ghosts). Also like 28 Days Later, this film carries a very profound social message but unlike 28 Days Later this one is about loneliness and how people become distant through the use of technology. There's also a heavy emphasis on the evils of suicide.

Kiyoshi Kurosawa has created an intelligent, unique horror film that doesn't quite get the attention it deserves. If your willing to experience movie that will leave your unsettled and weired out afterwards, look no further than Kairo.

4½/5

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