Pulse

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Bearing all the appeal of a jittery, blue-toned cell-phone commercial, this neutered American remake of Kiyoshi Kurosawa’s notorious J-horror cult item—rent that film instead!—is a strong candidate for the year’s worst time-waster. Several interchangeable nobodies (primarily Veronica Mars’ bland, harsh-voiced Bell and fashion model Somerhalder) find themselves preyed upon by ghosts screaming out of their computer monitors. Though the script goes all the way to Kurosawa’s apocalyptic ending, his theme of modern alienation takes on an unwitting hilarity with actors this plastic. Originally R-rated, the much-delayed film was recut and resubmitted for PG-13, presumably to ensure that nothing remotely scary remained. (Now playing; see Index for venues.) — Joshua Rothkopf

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