Release Date(s)1988 (March 7, 2017)
Studio(s)Columbia Pictures/Sony Pictures (Mill Creek Entertainment)
- Film/Program Grade: B-
- Video Grade: A-
- Audio Grade: A-
- Extras Grade: F
Pulse tells the story of a young boy named David (Joey Lawrence) who, after his parents’ divorce, goes to spend time with his dad (Cliff De Young) and his new stepmother (Roxanne Heart). Days before his arrival, a man seemingly goes crazy across the street, smashing the electrical appliances in his home before dying in the process. David finds this fascinating and, after experiencing strange electrical phenomena in his house, discovers that something in the electricity is trying to kill him and his family. No one believes him but soon enough, after confirmation from a neighbor who has more definite knowledge of it, David must find a way to convince his father and stepmother of the truth before it's too late.
For all intents and purposes, Pulse is more of a family divorce drama that mixes horror elements into it. Judging by the disc’s over-the-top cover, one might expect something a little more horrific. That’s not the case, yet it’s not entirely a bad thing. The movie features good performances and special effects, but moves very slowly. It has purpose, but the pace could have been picked up a little more in the editing room. It feels almost like Videodrome meets Poltergeist, in some bizarre way. It’s also a horror movie without a body count, outside of one death that happens off-screen early on. Pulse is an interesting movie with some effective moments, but might not stand up for many fans of the genre today.
Mill Creek Entertainment presents the movie on Blu-ray with a fresh transfer from Sony. As with the majority of their transfers, it’s quite organic and filmic in appearance. It features mostly even grain with a high level of detail, even in backgrounds. It’s also precise and sharp without appearing digitally processed. There’s great color reproduction with some colors that pop, despite the suburban setting of the movie, as well as deep blacks with good shadow detailing. Contrast and brightness levels are quite satisfactory as well. It’s also a very clean and stable image with next to no film damage leftover. For the audio, an uncompressed English 2.0 LPCM track is available. It’s a mostly aggressive stereo track when it comes to the horror elements. There’s definite stereo movement and spacing between speakers, highlighting strong sound effects and a hefty score. There’s also wonderful depth with clear, discernable dialogue as well. It’s not the kind of soundtrack that will blow your home theater setup away, but it’s an effective track nonetheless. Subtitles in English are available, but unfortunately, no extras have been included.
Pulse is certainly no lost masterpiece, but it’s not a bad movie at all. Even though its subject matter is a bit on the mediocre side, it’s executed with some class and style. Mill Creek’s Blu-ray presentation (and the current price tag of less than $5) make this a no-brainer for genre fans. It’s definitely worth checking out.
- Tim Salmons