I’m a big fan of movies that take a well known idea, such as zombies in this case, but inject something new into the mix. Even if it doesn’t always work, it’s always a treat to see a new take on an old idea.
Pontypool is the story of a small Ontario town’s radio station, while a plague spreads through language, turning people into zombie like creatures. The entirety of the film takes place inside the station, which I think works quite well.
Let’s talk about the use of sound. Pontypool has the single best use of sound in a horror movie to evoke fear. The station gets calls in from on the scene reporters, and instead of seeing whats going on, we get to only listen to it, much the same as the characters of our movie. I found the use of sound made the first half of the movie utterly terrifying, but in the last half, when we start to see things go down, it loses it’s way.
The idea that a plague can be spread through language is a unique concept that I have not heard of being done before. It left me thinking about how a plague like that would spread, much more than any zombie bite spread plague. While the idea is unique, it leads to some really badly done scenes in the last half of the movie, which I wish kept up the tense level of dread from the first half.
The acting here is quite good, I really found myself liking Stephen McHattie in the role of Grant Mazzy, the radio jocky. The supporting cast does a good job, but McHattie really steals the movie. There isn’t many effects in the movie, almost none in the first half, and only a hand full in the last half, but they are handled nicely. Some of them don’t look as good as others, but they are all passable.
I was not a fan of the ending, it really felt to me that they just didn’t know how to end the movie, so they did the same thing any zombie movie does when it doesn’t have an ending. Blow something up.
While Pontypool is a movie you should check out, if not just for original concept, you shouldn’t expect too much of it, as I’ve mentioned, the second half just doesn’t hold up.
Score – 70%
Gore – 4/10