Pontypool (2009) - Bruce McDonald

Awhile ago I wrote a review on the movie Dead Air with Bill Mosley. That movie was really forgettable and got away from itself really quickly. It had to do with a radio DJ and his wacky morning crew that just happened to come to work when a zombie outbreak started. The movie plays up the terrorist angle a bit too much and shows what scares Americans (namely Corbin Bernsen). I thought I would never see another movie like this one... that is until I discovered Pontypool from the same year. This movie is far better than Dead Air.

Pontypool is a movie that is shrouded in mystery from the beginning to the end. The film stars Steven McHattie as shock jock Grant Mazzy who takes the mic during an outbreak of some sort that is centered in their little town of Pontypool. Somewhere in Canada. Little is revealed about the actual incident. We are just aware that emotion and the English language play a part in this. The fact that you don't know what is going on propels this movie forward much like Night of the Living Dead. That movie as well drew a ton of its intrigue because they never explain anything. There are just zombies and that's that. Pontypool doesn't have zombies. Which I am very happy about. The Z wave that Shawn of the Dead started was really swell, but now the swelling has gone down. Lets move on... Anyway, Pontypool is under quarantine and everyone in this radio station is holed up for safety.

There are some scenes of gore, but that really doesn't provide the terror. The terror is more implied leaving the viewer to stew it around in their minds for a moment. The viewer essentially has to piece the happenings together through phone interviews and on the ground reporting from the radio stations own Ken in the Sunshine Chopper. That is what delivers the terror. Knowing that something is going on and you are fully restricted from knowing just what that is.

The movie has a pretty decent script for such a weird story line. The end of the movie is played out really well and I really enjoyed watching Steven McHattie's performance. It wasn't Bill Mosley in Dead Air that is for sure. I haven't heard much about this movie here in the states. Maybe it's just bigger in Canada.

"Sydney Briar is alive."

  • Orson Welles' infamous radio broadcast of The War of the Worlds inspired the approach that they decided to take. It was simultaneously produced as a motion picture and a radio play.
  • There are three stages to this virus. The first stage is you might begin to repeat a word. Something gets stuck. And usually it's words that are terms of endearment, like sweetheart or honey. The second stage is your language becomes scrambled and you can't express yourself properly. The third stage is that you become so distraught at your condition that the only way out of the situation you feel, as an infected person, is to try and chew your way through the mouth of another person.
  • Writer Tony Burgess and director Bruce McDonald are intending to include more exposition for two planned sequels.