Throwback Review: Welcome to the town of Pontypool


Shut up or Die

Pontypool. A quiet little  town in Ontario, Canada that is home to shock jock Grant Mazzy, who provides the viewers with a play by play view of a new type of infection. Here’s what Netflix ( has as a description of the movie:

Valentine’s Day is off to a bizarre start for a radio shock-jock when he runs into a crazed woman on his way to work — and that’s only the beginning. Soon, scores of other people in the small Ontario town of Pontypool start acting awfully odd.

I don’t want to give away any spoilers so I’m not going to discuss the infection, odd actions, etc. Pontypool is a very different type of movie. The first half is viewed entirely in the sound booth and recording studio in an old church. As Grant and his team receive calls from their traffic man and other people who describe a series of violent, disturbing occurances in the town. All of the suspense and tension is derived completely from the physical and emotional reactions of the radio staff. The fear and uncertainity conveyed by Mazzy makes the first half of this film tense and highly enjoyable.

The second half of the movie where the “real” risk has been identified and the adversary now has a face is somewhat of a disappointment. The movie takes on a different approach with it’s infection story and how the infection is transmitted, but it circles around for a while before getting back on track.  The suspense of the beginning half of the movie is unfortunately not matched in the second half.

Stephen McHattie (Mazzy), Lisa Houle, and Georgina Reilly do an amazing job conveying what would be their own desperation and terror to the viewers. I have never watched a film where facial expressions alone could convey the amount of horror needed to keep a movie of this type moving.  Their reactions run the gamut from pure disbelief, concern for family members, and some less explainable ones.

Not everyone is going to enjoy this movie, but if you want to see something that is a little different, check out Pontypool. Warning! This movie has been described as a zombie movie. It is most definitely not a zombie movie.


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