Horror maven Wes "Scream" Craven, brought in to adapt the script, has turned the original, "Kairo," into a "Night of the Internet Dead." It doesn't work.
Christina Milian ("Be Cool") is Mattie's hip black pal -- i.e., a potential second act victim. And Ian Somerhalder ("Lost") is the tech-whiz who may put the electronic puzzle together.
Craven (who didn't direct; that was TV commercial alumnus Jim Sonzero) cooks up scenes to show the text-message generation blitzing each other in bars or late at night when they're supposed to be doing homework. That's the cleverest stuff in this, a commentary on a generation so wired it is vulnerable to anything anybody chooses to upload.
The effects, with death attacking through spectral digital ghosts, are top drawer. But the only difference between this and "Stay Alive" is that it's about a virus, not a game, and the only difference between this and "The Ring" is that it's a virus, not a videotape.
And the acting is so flat that when veteran weirdo Brad Dourif shows up and chews the scenery with predictions of Armageddon, it's both the laugh it was intended to be and the first time "Pulse" shows a pulse.