Wednesday, August 01, 2007


Greetings Sporefans. This week we'll be reviewing a movie that could arguably be one of the worst movies to come out of Japan since "The X from Outer Space". Strap yourselves in, because this week we'll be taking a look at the movie "Kairo", which translates into "Circuit". The movie was remade in the U.S. as "Pulse", and from what I understand, the American translation has been given pretty lackluster reviews.

For those of you who haven't seen either version of this movie, and for those of you who have seen this movie and are still confused about what the SPORE is going on, Kairo is about creepy Japanese ghosts that come out of the computer and depress the crap out of you.

Seriously, that's what this movie is about.

Oh god, I'm so depressed!

The premise of Kairo is that the afterlife has become full, and souls are escaping into this world because there is no more room for them. The dead souls get on the Internet and form a plan so ridiculous that it could only be unintentionally mimicked in an episode of Aqua Teen Hunger Force. Because killing people would only create more ghosts, the ghosts decide to make everyone in the world immortal: by trapping them in their loneliness.

This ghost plan hinges on the Japanese culture's sense of fatalism. Kairo follows a cycle where someone finds some ghosts online, they become obsessed, the build a "forbidden room", then they encounter a ghost or a trapped soul, then they turn into a trapped soul and someone else stumbles upon them. Lather, rinse, and repeat until the Apocalypse is complete. No matter how much you think a character might want to survive, they all lose their will to live and are reduced to a stain on the wall, whispering "help me" for all of eternity. Its really kind of sad when the crux of your movie is undone by the concept of free will. Oops.

Man, I hope that we don't get depressed. Maybe we should do it now... just in case. No? Oh... well that's depressing.

That's not to say that there are no scary moments in this movie. There are a couple of pretty scary scenes in the beginning, but as the story progresses they become few and far between. The movie mostly focuses on the "survivors" as the struggle to keep the will to exist alive within them. Those who fail usually rake their own lives, but there is one scene where a victim literally spontaneously ceases to exist and becomes dust. Its actually pretty silly.

The girl in the back ground is about to not exist any more. Prepare yourself for spontaneous non-existence!

It seems that the will to survive is somehow tied into a character's need to be with other people. The more lonely and isolated the character feels, the more likely they are to succumb to the "undeath" that spreads over the world. The affected characters are put in situations where they are with other people, and yet they somehow still feel lonely. This is pretty frustrating to watch, as the young couple who met right before the apocalypse falls apart when the girl wants to be with her dead classmates more than the living boyfriend she just met. Behold the horror of motivation! Or lack thereof.

While this movie isn't really scary, what I did find interesting is that I could easily generate a list of things that Japanese people seem to be afraid of by watching this movie. As a matter of fact, I did make a list of things that Japanese people appear to be afraid of, at least according to the movie "Kairo".

By the way, this list is in chronological order, so it was written as the movie was playing. If you're brave, watch the movie and see if you can pick out the scene's where I came up with the items on the list.
  • Computers
  • The Internet
  • Ghosts
  • Children
  • Phones
  • Reflections
  • Duct tape or Red tape
  • Stains on walls
  • Libraries
  • Critical Mass
  • Hair
  • Televisions
  • Death
  • Loneliness
  • Separation anxiety
  • Living
  • The phrase "Tasketke!", which translates into "Help me!"
  • Spontaneous non-existence
  • Wind
  • Depression
  • Empty arcades
  • Shadows
  • Static
  • Rooms
  • Suicide
  • Seeing yourself online
  • Losing your girlfriend to a ghost
  • Silence
  • The Apocalypse
  • The future
  • Spilling gasoline
  • Acknowledging death
  • Blurry ghosts
  • Plane crashes
  • Dust

As you can plainly see, the movie Kairo depicts the Japanese as hopelessly neurotic. Not only are the characters afraid of all of the following, encountering some of the items in the above list will drive them into a fit of depression and eventual suicide... or spontaneous non-existence. Afterwards they either become whispering stains, or very blurry ghosts, and either choice leaves them horribly depressed.

There is a convention in the movie where one of the characters states that ghosts look like everyone else, unless you notice them. But the movie goes on and destroys that notion, as most of the ghosts in the movie appear blurry or walk really funny. I don't know about you Sporefans out there, but If there was a blurry person standing in front of me I think I might notice that. Sure, they get clearer as they get closer, but they all move in that creepy dead person walk the Japanese are so fond of portraying. That might just be a giveaway that you're staring at a ghost.

Can you tell if this blurry chick is a ghost? Or a girl? For those of you who said probably, you're probably right. The rest of you will be depressed and turned into stains.

I also noted that as the movie continued, the Internet as a conduit for souls was phased out of the movie, in favor of a "contagion" theme brought about by contact with souls in the forbidden rooms. I guess this is necessary, as webmasters and Internet service providers who got all depressed and turned into stains or ghosts wouldn't be around to maintain the Internet.

I totally knew this would happen! Why didn't we do it when we had the chance?! WHYYYYYYYYY??!?!?!!!

I'm so depressed now.

In short, if you're afraid that the Internet might be making you lonely while simultaneously connecting you to everyone in the world, you might be influenced by this movie. The rest of you will be too busy on MySpace. You're probably better off not watching this movie, as the concept of being horrified by spontaneous non-existence is really very si...

Click below if you want to see a ghost. Warning! This is creepy!


fnord12 said...

Oh my god i am a minute and a half through the clip so far and nothing has happened plus you can't see anything but shadows. How much caffeine did you need to inject in order to sit through this entire movie?

esuarez said...

I will not post a witting reply, that will add a another piece of depth to this don't seem to feel making me lonely......and sad <_>!! Don't want to go on, but I can't off myself....sigh.......the world verification wants me to spell vykeuzlf.......sigh..........

Pop some pills all better!! ^_^