Very dark and moody, PULSE imagines a dire near future for electronic communications. As college students become immersed in their devices -- cell phones, computers, PDAs -- they lose touch with each other, and so, literally, lose themselves. The problem of communication is at the center of Jim Sonzero's remake of the 2001 Japanese movie Kairo, and while this bad-machines theme is familiar, the execution is effectively ooky, with a persistent blueish light and buzzy soundtrack. The ghosts, it turns out, "want what they don't have, they want life." The film frames its horror as if the ghosts are so many Pinocchios, yearning for what seems inherently valuable to humans. Communication has turned consumptive.
While adults are ineffective (Mattie's smug therapist [Ron Rifkin] dismisses her concerns out of hand), a computer geek helps Mattie to find the webcam loop that affected Josh. It helps that Dexter (Ian Somerhalder) is very good looking, of course, but he's also clever and determined. He finds images of other dead souls, gazing forlornly from the computer screen, emblems of the future of non-communication.