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Pontypool (2008)

  Tags: Bruce McDonald, infected, infection, outbreak, people, pontypool, population, radio show, small town, Stephen McHattie, virus

Your rating: None Average: 7.1 (11 votes)
Reviewer Rating: 
7

pontypool4.jpg
Rating #: 
7/10
Director: 
Bruce McDonald
Runtime: 
96 minutes
Cast: 
Stephen McHattie, Lisa Houle, Georgina Reilly, Hrant Alianak, Rick Roberts


Based on the novel by Tony Burgess, who also wrote the script, Pontypool takes your standard story of an infected population of violent psychopaths and adds a few interesting twists to it. For one, the infected in this film get that way by certain words in the English language. You heard me, they become infected by words! This causes them to become obsessed with the word and basically goes towards any other English speaking person and acts out violently against them unless the person hears the word too, which would then turn them as well. Pretty crazy stuff!

Not only does that aspect make the movie incredibly original, but it's also done in a way that's not normally displayed in film. Since we follow a radio personality and his crew of two other people in the studio, all of the "action" involving the infected is told to the host by people calling into the radio station and we go off of the caller and radio staff. We don't actually see any infected until around the half-way mark, but they really don't appear until towards the end. Luckily those infected aren't zombie-wannabes like we usually see in these types of films. Sure, they do move in groups at times, but aside from that and some blood, they're very un-zombie-like, in my opinion.

As if you really needed to be told the story at this point, the film follows a once-popular radio personality named Grant Mazzy, who's now stuck at a go-nowhere little town on a boring morning show. It seemed just like any other day until some strange unconfirmed reports start coming in about a swarm of crazed rioters storming a building, causing a lot of casualties. Other reports start coming in about people acting out in unnatural ways, but the staff really takes things seriously when one of their own staffers calls and details witnessing people becoming violent with others and then come after him.

I really liked the film, despite the lack of any action involved. The film really only played off two actors -- the host and his producer, both of whom dished out good performances, especially Stephen McHattie as the radio host. He has a natural radio voice, so his character really felt believable for me. Since we don't really see the infected much, we don't see much death or gore, but there's some decent blood here and there. I especially liked one scene that involved someone slamming their head against the radio booth's window, in an attempt to break through.

Pontypool successfully delivers an incredibly original and clever take on the "infected population" sub-genre that has been sweeping horror flicks lately. Although there's not much in the way of action, it has some great performances and forces us to use our imagination, which is a nice refreshing take from the norm. Worth a check if you go in expecting a smart horror flick.

Posted on June 23, 2009 - 10:37pm | FrighT MasteR

 

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