Horrorible Review: “Pontypool”

Enjoy this Monday with Mildred!

This is also Zombie World Tour post!

Pontypool movie poster


This Zombie World Tour is a quiet trip to Canada, where even the zombies are pleasant.  It’s a quiet, quirky film with very low gore and perfect pacing to build enough tension to leave CFR quivering on the edge of her blue stability ball.  That’s how I could tell she liked it.*

The movie is set in a converted church basement in the middle of nowhere, Canada, where well known radio personality Grant Mazzy has fallen onto hard times due to some problem at his previous job. He’s a big fish in a small town bowl and is still learning that school closing reports are more important to CLSY’s listeners than his cynical philosophical musings.

Unlike most zombie films, I can’t say “and before you know it, here come the zombies” because this movie takes its time building the story, building character, building tensions.  I’ve read some reviews that don’t like the movie because it’s not like a typical zombie film, but that’s one of the major draws for me.

Except for one jump scare there are no real surprises, and that scene is the only one outside the church/radio station.  I never got a claustrophobic feeling, though, because the radio links the characters literally to the whole world and the direction makes the movie feel like it has a lot of movement.

Pontypool turns the zombie apocalypse on its head, with negligible gore and violence, and because we’re in a radio station, hearing the reports come in and seeing Mazzy relay them to his listeners, this is what the zombie apocalypse looks like from inside the social media.  Eventually Mazzy acknowledges that the world outside is going to hell, but can he help or is it just too late? Watch this film and you will be drawn into a terrifying world relayed almost entirely by sound and not the visual vivisection of society.

Typically the event that causes zombies to rise (virus, comet, terrorists, etc.) is quickly glossed over so we can get to the gut chomping, but there is more of an effort here to understand the why.  It’s all rather confusing and I think doesn’t help the movie much, except for being the most bizarre origination idea ever.

There are some other nice touches, like the quick running dialogue listing who died, rose and killed again, under a series of sepia photos that reminded me somewhat of the “documentary” Wisconsin Death Trip.  And stay tuned past the credits.  All I can say is, hopefully someday someone can explain that to me.

This movie would work well in a newbie double feature with World War Z, if you wanted to gently introduce someone into the zombie apocalypse sensation.  But play this one second, because the makers get why all this is scary, and demonstrates how to portray it without all the usual stuff.


 *CFR: In Addition: All true. 🙂

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