“Pontypool” Creeped Me Out

My #1 recommendation for a Halloween rental this year is Pontypool, directed by Bruce McDonald. If engaging the audience and provoking an emotional response is a measure of success for a movie, then Pontypool gets full marks from me. Seeing it in a theatre 6 months ago, I remember sitting up in my seat holding onto the armrest for the second half of it thinking, “Man, this is creeping me out.” It took me for a ride. The idea for the story is that language, the spoken word, is a virus — a virus that will turn you into a zombie if you don’t shut up.

The story appropriately takes place in a small town rural radio station where we can’t see what’s happening but we hear live reports from a guy in the street witnessing the mayhem of people slowly turning into zombies — and this is where your imagination goes nuts. As most people in radio will tell you, sound is a visual medium. The audience is engaged by listening, hearing the story unfold. Then we watch the reactions of the people at the radio station. There aren’t many zombies in the movie, but we don’t need to see them to feel their presence. Then comes the question, “How do you prevent the spreading of a verbal disease when you can’t talk about it, especially when you work at a talk-radio station?” The possible answers to this question are intriguing and entertaining. Although not a perfect movie, Pontypool succeeds so well at engaging the imagination to scare the crap out of you, while providing plenty of laughs along the way, it’s a perfect movie for the Halloween season.

“Pontypool” is based on the book of by Tony Burgess.

About Phillip

Phillip Cairns is a beekeeper in St. John's, Newfoundland, who writes about beekeeping at mudsongs.org.

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