Bruce MacDonalds' latest picture, Pontypool, is a unique take on the zombie horror genre. Even though Bruce MacDonald himself says that this film does not feature zombies, no, he insists this film in fact features hordes of "conversationalists".
Now when i say hordes, i really mean horde singular. See this is a zombie flick (i don't care what Bruce says, hordes of unresponsive human beings trying to eat other responsive human beings? dem's called zombies) that doesn't really feature all that many zombies, nor does it have that much gore. Which makes it all the better when the film shows you the goods.
Pontypool is set in the small town of Pontypool, Ontario, on a seemingly uneventful winter morning. We follow our protagonist, disgruntled morning radio host Grant Mazzy, as he reports on the weather and the news from the city's only radio station. With him are his assistant Laurel Ann and producer Sydney Briar, the film follows the three as the days events unfold.
Besides the opening shot of Mazzy on his drive over to the station, the entire film unfolds within the small space of the radio station. The film draws us in as we find ourselves anticipating the eventual zombie outbreak. Within that time MacDonald gives us some up close and personal time with the characters. When the shit finally hits the fan we genuinely care for the characters which makes the impact of the film that much stronger.
What made the film stick out in my mind was that the most disturbing scenes i remember from the film were not actually in the film at all. Since the films events are completely contained within the radio station which is isolated from the horror outside, the only information were given of the dire events transpiring is that of towns people calling into the radio station. These eye witness accounts paint vivid pictures in your imagination that i personally found to be more horrifying than actually getting to see what was being described.
The one thing that completely sets this film apart from your run of the mill zombie story is that what is infecting the greater population isn't some viral outbreak from monkeys. Nor has the dead risen to eat the brains of the living. Here it is actual language that is infecting people. Hidden within the English language is a certain string of words that, once heard, infects you. The infected have a hard time expressing themselves, as they can only repeat words that they've heard last. They repeat words as a sort of way of trying to get out the infected words. To repeat language so much until it stops making sense. Well, i don't want to give too much away but really interesting stuff, and the idea is fleshed out enough to be believable.
This one will be coming out in a few weeks and i recommend it, as a great Canadaian picture and a unique take on zombies. It's hard to really recommend this for horror buffs as the use of ones own imagination to dream up the gore rather than seeing it on screen can be discouraging for some. I have to say that immediately after viewing i wasn't too ecstatic about it but, i've watched three films since seeing Pontypool and i can't get the flick out of my head.
Oh, and i must mention that Stephen McHattie as Grant Mazzy is fantastic. A solid performance from a great perfomer, if you've seen his work in The Fountain then you know what i mean. Solid all around and you'll have his voice stuck in your head for days.
alright kids, until next time this is Dropkick dropping out.
and remember, Sydney Briar is alive Sydney Briar is alive Sydney Briar is alive Sydney Briar is alive Sydney Briar is alive Sydney Briar is alive Sydney Briar is alive Sydney Briar is alive Sydney Briar is alive....