‘Pontypool’ really surprised me. I had heard the premise before watching it, but I was still amazed by the originality and slanted take on the zombie-genre.

The film takes place in a small Canadian town called Pontypool, where Grant Mazzy (Stephen McHattie) works as a radio DJ with his two producers Sydney Briar (Lisa Houle) and Laurel-Ann Drummond (Georgina Reilly). During the course of his radio show, Mazzy starts receiving reports from their roaming reporter of acts of violence being perpetrated by zombie-like rioters, all chanting random sentences.
As the radio show continues, Mazzy learns of an infection spreading throughout the town, but it isn’t the regular zombie outbreak of people biting each other etc., the infection is in the words people are speaking and the names they call each other. This leaves Mazzy and his staff with the choice between warning the outside world, but risking infection, or do they stop speaking and live?

The premise alone allows ‘Pontypool’ to have the unique element of hardly showing anything happening, and yet still being incredibly threatening. The entire film is shot in one location; the basement of a church in the middle of Pontypool, and this only adds to the tension. The film gets increasingly claustrophobic as the infection slowly makes itself known and more reports are called in from their ‘Eye in the Sky’. The calls describing the violence allows the viewer to make up their own scenes of violence, much worse than showing the viewer a bloody image.

I certainly favour films of this nature; limited actors and locations allow for the dialogue to take centre-stage instead of over-the-top action sequences, and that’s what this film is all about. The three main actors are very believable as normal people in an abnormal situation.

The abnormal situation Mazzy finds himself in is a tad hard to understand at first, and I feel that if I wasn’t aware of the case of the virus before I saw the film, I would have had a hard time understanding it. The solution as well is a little surreal but once you get your head around it, as the characters do, it’s still as an enjoyable edge-of-your-seat thriller as before.

Fantastic acting, editing, storyline and especially the sound. Definitely recommend it to fans of the unconventional horror.

Rating – 9/10

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