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Friday, March 20, 2009

Pontypool Movie Review

I apologize if it seems that all the updates recently have been movie related. But, you know... I don't make the news. I will, however, let you know that I am working on another contest and should have another zombie toy review posted next week. Just to get your mouth watering a little bit, I'll tell you that the review centers around the best zombie comic I have ever read. Speaking of movies, don't forget to enter our contest for a free iTunes download of the recently available American Zombie brought to us by New Video Digital. There will also be random drawings for Zombies & Toys swag.

The first of many zombie movies to be released is Pontypool. Currently being shown in Canada, Pontypool is the story of a radio host broadcasting out of a city with the same name. It is already well-known that we're not dealing with the typical zombie we're all used to (a-la Romero). If you don't want to know more, stop reading now. I am also about to post some excerpts from a review released in the Winnipeg Sun. The information to follow isn't enough to ruin the movie, but rather offers some details and insight. But I wanted to post the warning in case you are one to not want to know anything before seeing a movie.

Caution: Possible Spoilers Ahead

The following is borrowed from a review posted over at the Winnipeg Sun.

It's winter outside when smalltown talk-radio host Grant Mazzy (Watchmen's
Stephen McHattie) arrives for his morning gig at the station in a Pontypool,
Ontario church basement -- this after a weird, short encounter with a
babbling woman. Through some sharp exchanges with his exasperated producer
Sydney (Lisa Houle), we get a sense of how low Mazzy's career has taken him -- to a dead end corner of Ontario, where the "news copter" reports are from a guy in a car and the celebrity guests are epitomized by a weird local faux-Middle-Eastern family
singing act. The only other company in the studio is an intern named Laurel Ann
(Georgina Reilly), whose chipperness seems to actually exacerbate the workplace

Suddenly, the previously routine outside reports begin to turn strange. The "chopper" reporter relates a gory riot at a doctor's office. Wire services start to hum with crisis announcements and bizarre speculation (the BBC
reports that Ontario is under attack by "separatist terrorists"). Eventually, as
a quarantine is declared across the region, enough facts filter through that the
symptomology becomes clear. Sufferers begin repeating certain phrases over and
over before descending into gibberish and turning violent (seeking to devour the mouths of the uninfected in an apparent attempt to "eat their words"). Eventually, it's deduced that the words themselves are the means of infection, and reports start being disseminated in fractured French as a precaution.

All this, and all we see is still three people in a studio. (We don't actually see the zombies until a frenetic last-act break-in). The underappreciated McHattie is in brilliant form as Mazzy, suddenly enervated by the slaughter outside, riffing philosophically and sardonically.

Personally, I'm pretty excited. Some might complain about the actual lack of zombie scenes but I think that well-acted tension can be better. Part of the appeal to the original Dawn of the Dead was the knowledge that just beyond the walls lies pure and utter chaos.


  1. I hope Pontypool finds an audience in the US. I'm Canadian and on Thursday I was at a special screening of Pontypool that Horror in the Hammer, a group with which I am involved, helped set up. About half the audience liked it; the other half were not fans because the pace is notably slow and the film is not a conventional zombie flick. I see their point.

    However, the movie is uniquely Canadian and uses humour that I think only Canadians would really connect with. From those I spoke with who didn't like Pontpool, at least they appreciated the Canadian perspective.

  2. Thanks for posting, Aaron. IFC Films is looking to release this in the US (hopefully sometime soon). I'm envious that you were able to see it! I'm working on something special to celebrate the US release so keep an eye out!


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