Monday, March 8, 2010

Review - Pontypool (2008)

“Now, in our top story of today, a big, cold, dull, dark, white, empty, never-ending blow my brains out, seasonal affective disorder freaking kill me now weather-front, that'll last all day - or maybe - when the wind shifts later on, we'll get a little greenhouse gas relief from the industrial south. HAIL MARY, yea though I walk - we go to Ken Loney - in the Sunshine chopper.”

Director: Bruce McDonald
Starring: Stephen McHattie, Lisa Houle, Georgina Reilly
Screenplay: Tony Burgess

Plot: A deadly virus infects the small town of Pontypool and while there is horror on the streets, Grant Mazzy and his radio team are trying to get a clear picture of what’s happening and warn any listeners not yet infected. However their radio broadcast might be causing more problems than it solves.

I heard about Pontypool a while back and was pretty interested in the idea of a zombie movie that doesn’t concentrate on the zombies and more on individuals trapped in a radio station. In a horror movie where the horror element isn’t even present for most the film the question has to be asked where does the fear come from?

Sound is very important to this film, the call ins, the news reports and the sounds that can be heard in the background, this is were the tension and fear comes from. We are as in the dark as the main characters and every scrap of info just adds and adds to the horror. In some ways it would be a relief to see a descending horde of zombies but the unknown is always scarier. It gives the movie a unique spin and really makes it stand out of the mass of recent zombie movies.

Speaking of sound, Stephen McHattie has an awesome voice and I can really buy him as Grant Mazzy. He is the core of the movie and in the hands of a lesser actor the movie would of never of worked. When he gets going on his rants I just become mesmerized. Other actors were pretty solid except for Hrant Alianak as Dr Mendez. I won’t say he was the worst actor in the world but he didn’t really mesh with others but it wasn’t the most distracting thing.

Bruce McDonald keeps the shots pretty tight to increase the tension. The fact that he can get the most out of expressions, gestures and the one location to generate fear without throwing a boo scare at us is a major feather in his cap. If I have to nit pick the one thing that might throw people off is the origin of the infection. While I myself had no problem with it and thought it was unique, people may scoff and be thrown out of the movie because of it.

I really dug this movie and I’m so glad I managed to finally watch it. For those who are looking for something a little different in the zombie genre then go and watch this movie now. I would also recommend this movie to people who want a horror movie that doesn’t resort to gore and boo scares. Good stuff.


  1. Man I really need to see this movie!

  2. Yes. Yes you do. Stephen McHattie and his awesome voice commands you too.

  3. Nice, I am happy that you enjoyed this one. I loved it and thought it was a nice change of pace...very claustrophobic with the setting, great acting, and the idea of setting an infection film based on language at a radio station is just brilliant. I got the book for Christmas and can't wait to dive into it!

  4. I've got to look out for the book. Would like to see how the language aspect of Pontypool works in print. When your done with the book you should give a little review as I know I would be interested in seeing how it compares.

  5. Hopefully I'll get to it soon...I'm a shitty reader, as in, I am a lazy reader. But this is one that certainly captivates me and from what I have been told, the stuff seen in the film is only like a chapter or so in the book. When I do get to it, I will share my thoughts, of course!