Home > Pulse (1998) - 4 > Pulse (1988) – 4

Pulse (1988) – 4

Director – Paul Golding

Cast – Joseph Lawrence, Cliff De Young, Roxanne Hart, Matthew Lawrence, Charles Tyner

Release Year – 1988

Reviewed by John of the Dead

I came across Pulse while searching for Netflix DVDs of films I had little knowledge about, and after reading the plot for Pulse I decided I would give this one a go despite my intuition that it would not deliver what I expected. Why was I interested in this piece? One reason was the film’s very limited release and the fact that few people have seen it. The other was that all my life I have adored horror films that involve inanimate objects coming to life, and this storyline all but promised such things. In the end I was given what I expected, and while this was not a complete waste of time it definitely felt like a cheap “dated” film aimed at a young teenage audience.

An intelligent pulse of electricity is moving from home to home, taking control of household appliances and terrorizing the inhabitants until they can take no more. When young David Rockland(Joseph Lawrence; “Brotherly Love”) travels to his divorced father’s home to spend time with his dad and stepmother he learns that this will not play off like the typical visit, but a weekend of terror when the pulse attacks their home.

If this sounds a bit silly then you can rest assured that you are correct – this storyline is a silly one. This did not play off in the same science fiction fashion that Virus did, but was overly simple and simply consisted of a malevolent pulse of electricity harassing a family. We go through the usual template, where the young David is the only one to take notice to the strange happenings around the home until his father and stepmother are eventually bombarded by it and forced to believe that he was right all along. I can deal with a simple story, especially when the direction is good, however I cannot deal with a lack of horror. Aside from this piece rarely giving us any scare sequences stronger than a shower going amok and raising the water temperature as high as the water heater will allow, there was a complete absence of one very important element of horror…kills. In addition to that, during this scene the “electricity” was able to somehow keep the shower door from opening despite it being a non-electrical door – you know, because it’s a shower and there’s water all over the place. I hate to spoil films, but given this one is not a very good one I feel no shame in letting you know that throughout this 95 minute experience we are only given ONE kill, and it (“hold onto your butts”…) occurs OFFSCREEN. Enough said on the storyline.

Director Paul Golding did a decent job with this flick, which wound up being his only full-length directorial effort of his career (unsurprisingly). His atmosphere is OK for the film’s budget and me manages to use positive sets along with pretty decent electricity FX for the late 80s, although naturally the acting performances were pretty bad – also reminiscent of horror films and the usage of Lawrence brothers in general. Despite the low amount of horror and incredibly pathetic amount of kills I did find his execution of the horror to be decent as well. I was not overly bored with this piece and found myself engaged in what was going on from time to time, but I definitely had much higher hopes for this one.

Overall, Pulse is an effort with little horror despite a fairly eventful story that could given the viewer much more carnage than what it came with. It seems the film was obviously marketed to a much softer and younger audience than most horror films, and that is why I would not recommend this to you unless you are close to graduating to the 6th grade.

Rating: 4/10

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