Pulse 3 (2008)
|Dimension Extreme || R - 91 minutes - $19.98 || December 23, 2008|
|Reviewer: Brian Oliver || Posted On: 2008-12-24|
Writer(s): Joel Soisson (written by)
Cast: Rider Strong, Brittany Finamore, Georgina Rylance, William Prael
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[Note: Just a fair warning, but I do reveal some “plot points”, so if you actually want to see this, then skip this section.]
“You can’t stop the invasion.” Apparently not, now that this sorry excuse of a franchise is now a trilogy.
Filmed back to back with Pulse 2, this third entry continues the story of a worldwide plague in which the population quickly dwindles from a computer virus where the ghosts/spirits of those who passed in deep sorrow come back to unleash their misery upon others. However, this cannot be done without the use of electronics. In Pulse 2, we follow the journey of a father and his daughter, Justine, as they try to escape from the virus. Daddy didn’t make it, but Justine made it aboard a bus headed to a colony.
Seven years later, a 17-year-old Justine (Brittany Finamore) lives with her foster parents in a shantytown where food is scarce and electronics are strictly forbidden. Being like any teenager stuck without text messaging, wants to escape. When she just so happens upon a laptop sitting underneath a car seat (how convenient), she immediately gets an instant message from a man named Adam (who we’re introduced to in the beginning; played by Rider Strong *snicker*). After a really creepy conversation reminiscent of a “Dateline” episode, Adam tells Justine that the viral-whatever is over and that the city, Houston in this case, is safe. After an initial reluctance, Justine decides to escape and is now on a journey BACK to the city...
Along the way, she seeks shelter at a rundown wheat farm where she is taken in by the owner, Caleb, whose own wife was taken. What follows is one of the most ridiculous “plot” — and I use that term loosely — points in the film. She stays the night to keep out of a storm (another convenience) and as she sets off again, after a creepy encounter, she discovers Caleb has taken her laptop in the hopes of resurrecting his wife. She runs back and, this was great, he whacks her on the forehead with a baseball bat and later she awakens to find herself chained to a radiator (a la Black Snake Moan). Why does he do this? Sex slave? Nope. He wants to use her because these phantoms tend to get hungry... or something.
Not surprisingly, after a horrific scene when the wife does come back, Justine struggles and finally gets free where upon she continues her journey to Houston. When she finally arrives she meets the “Man with the Plan” (Giebenhain) who was known in Pulse 2 as the “Man in Red” who carjacks Justine and her dad to get a piece of computer hardware. I won’t bore you with the rest, only to say there are plans for Justine.
If you were one of the 546 people who saw Pulse 2 (according to IMDb, myself not included), then you already know about writer/director Joel Soisson’s use of green screen in place of locations. Although it’s not used as extensively as the previous project, it’s still quite prominent and looks, at best, tolerable in some place and atrocious in others. I realize they had almost no budget and all, but couldn’t they even afford to shoot in an open field?
The cast isn’t all that impressive either, but I’ll give props to star Brittany Finamore. Even though this wasn’t a star-making performance by any stretch, the fact she did an OK job with the script and story she had was notable. Finamore is a beautiful young woman and I only hope she gets a chance to show what acting she has with a better script.
Meanwhile, Rider Strong (*snicker*) gets top billing for only a few scenes, one of them being an opening sequence that seemed like something out of a romantic drama or something, until the end of the sequence. He really didn’t have all that much to do except some walk and talk early on and a little moaning/screaming towards the third act.
I will admit, Pulse 3 isn’t an altogether awful film like the original was, but with cheap filmmaking techniques, a terrible script and an unremarkable cast, this is a movie that fits perfectly with its predecessor, Pulse 2. Do yourself a favor and just avoid the entire franchise altogether or, if you have the time and energy, set up your very own screening and go “MST3K” on it!
Not much is included on this DVD except for a feature commentary with writer/director Joel Soisson, producer Mike Leahy, Editor Kirk Morri and actress Brittany Finamore. The track isn’t too bad, but the guys do most of the chatter with Finamore piping in every so often. The guys actually do a lot of self deprecating at the beginning about the reception Pulse 2 got. Odd moment half way through, one of them goes on a long explanation about the green screen process and 10-15 minutes later it seems the same info was repeated again, word for word.
In any case, the only other extra is Pulse 3 Behind-the-Scenes (8:28) which goes some into the visual effects of blowing brains out, but other than that there’s nothing much going on.
There are also previews for other Dimension films including the original Pulse.
.::AUDIO & VIDEO::.
The video isn’t particularly rich or anything, but what do you expect when 85% of the film is shot with a green screen? Pulse 3 crashes onto the small screen with a 1.78 aspect ratio and overall it’s fairly muted with little bright colors (normal for a post-apocalyptic tale).
The Dolby Digital 5.1 track (only audio option) is decent but you’re not going to get much from your rear speakers and most of the audio seems to come from the center speakers (dialogue).
Pulse 3 is, like most direct-to-DVD horror movies, a low-budget, cash grab for the studio. There’s little in this film that is either scary or just fun. The story isn’t well written and the cast, despite their commitment, was unremarkable. The DVD itself is pretty sparse even with a decent commentary track but I guess that’s to be expected. At least there wasn’t a promo for Pulse 4...