I have kind of sort of been interested in watching this movie for almost 9 months now, with no real justification of why I want to see it. It was a film shown at the Music Box Massacre, a 24 hour horror movie marathon at Chicago’s Music Box Theatre. Having never seen it, or even heard of it before, I immediately added it to my Netflix queue. Mysteriously, it never actually shows up in my queue, just the “Saved” section. I know this movie exists, so what the fuck is the problem? It was made in Canada, do they not believe in DVDs? Are they not the proper region? Do DVDs made of maple syrup not hold up so well? And then, one fateful afternoon, I was in Blockbuster, and the mystery was solved. Right there, for sale, was a copy of Pontypool, and in big letters at the top it said “Blockbuster Exclusive!”. So I immediately turn to Rampaige and say, “Hey, I think I wanted to see this at one point”, and history was made.
Even just looking at this guy, you can tell how awesome he sounds.
Stephen McHattie plays Grant Mazzy, a washed up disk jockey stuck in a small Canadian town named Pontypool, where he is announcing school closures rather than engaging in political discourse. A call comes over the police scanner about a “hostage situation” and is somewhat made light of, then more and more details come in. The weatherman, who is supposedly in a helicopter but the town is so small he actually just parks his car on a hill, starts seeing riots, explosions, and violence, and reports everything to Mazzy. This is when “shit gets real”, as the kids say.
Yawning or yelling? You be the judge! Hint – he’s not yawning.
At this point, Mazzy is being contacted by people from the BBC, because the story is escalating out of control, and it’s hard to figure out what is actually going on in the town of Pontypool. Eventually, a doctor breaks into the radio station where all of this movie is taking place, and he starts shedding light on the situation. Turns out that there is a virus going around centered around the English language. It’s hard to explain, both in the movie and in this review, so I will spare you the details. Either way, the only way to avoid becoming “infected” is by remaining quiet, or speaking a foreign language. Mazzy’s producer even becomes infected, and they seek refuge in the recording booth. Rather than chronicle the last events of the film, I’m going to, well, not, because I don’t want to spoil anything.
Is it just me, or do most women look better with blood dripping from their mouths?
I guess maybe it was a good thing I had never really heard of this movie or spent too much time looking into it, because I went in with low expectations, and left quite pleased. The fact that the filmmakers so successfully conveyed the paranoid delusions of what could be happening, while having every scene take place in one building, was quite impressive. I know that even I was having doubts about whether or not the supposed events were actually happening, or if it was a similar reaction to the first time War of the Worlds was broadcast on the radio and everyone started losing their minds. Also, the concept of a virus that spreads audibly rather than physically is also pretty interesting. It was similar to the film “The Signal“, which I thought had its moments but overall fell a little flat. I feel Pontypool stuck a little more closely to the concept and was just that much more successful. Granted, this movie kind of falls apart towards the end when it tries to explain a little too precisely what’s happening, because it’s not really possible, but up until then you can completely buy what they’re selling.
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