Pontypool is a 2008 thriller about a deadly virus that spreads through a small Ontario town. Critically acclaimed, and inspired by War of the Worlds, it is this week’s Hot Flick Pick.
It’s the last weekend before Halloween and we’ve got a special recommendation for you. This pick is taking it back to the basics with a good ‘ole fashion horror movie. That being said, only half of this movie is really great, but that half . . . let me tell you. It’s a truly scary ride. Horror at it’s finest. Have you ever watched a movie and gotten chills because it was just that creepy? I did during this one. And that’s saying a lot considering I’ve seen a fair number of horror movies and I’m fairly desensitized . . . Okay, really desensitized. And this one got to me.
Pontypool is a Canadian film that takes place in the real Canadian city of Pontypool, a small Ontario town where nothing big really happens. The best kind of place for a horror movie to take place.
DJ Grant Mazzy (Stephen McHattie) goes in to work at the local radio station in Pontypool one morning and comes across someone on his way in. She’s mumbling gibberish and walking through the centre of the road. He tries to help her but there’s a big snow storm and she wanders off. Slightly taken aback by the incident, he continues on his way to the station. Once there, it’s business as usual until one of their guests of the show starts showing similar behaviour. From there, Mazzy needs to figure out what’s going on and how widespread this “disease” has become.
As most of the movie takes place in a radio station, we hear most of what’s going on and witness only the reactions of the few people in the station. This is incredibly effective. With most movies, it’s the things we don’t see that are the most haunting. In fact, as I mentioned earlier, this movie takes a turn for the worst in the second half. That turn takes place when someone from the outside world crawls through one of the windows in the station and intrudes upon the previous isolation that the characters had been living in. Prior to this, there was paranoia, uncertainty and fear that was nearly palpable. We couldn’t discern what was real and we had no idea what exactly was going on. When we hear the explanation of what exactly is happening it’s quite the let down and it doesn’t really make sense. That being said, the first half was still one of the scariest bits of horror that I had seen in a long time.
Overall, this movie does what a great horror movie should. It takes nothing (in this case literally nothing as we don’t see anything for quite a while) and it scares us with its story-telling capabilities. Give it a watch and let us know your thoughts!
Director: Bruce McDonald
Writers: Tony Burgess
Stars: Stephen McHattie, Lisa Houle, Georgina Reilly
Language: English, French, Armenian