Canada (dir. Bruce McDonald)
Cast: Beatriz Yuste, Boyd Banks, Daniel Fathers, Daniel Park, Georgina Reilly, Hrant Alianak, Laura Nordin, Lisa Houle, Rick Roberts, Stephen McHattie
Synopsis: A psychological thriller in which a deadly virus infects a small Ontario town.
Review: “Pontypool” is a phenomenal movie from start to finish. It’s got great dialogue, a strong cast, simplistic production, and to top it all off – it’s a Canadian zombie movie set in Ontario!!! “Pontypool” is based on a novel that I sure as hell will be checking out, and I bet you will want to as well once you’ve seen this sleeper hit.
The movie takes place at a radio station in the small town of Pontypool in Ontario. In the midst of some typical Canadian wintery weather, a zombie outbreak occurs in this small town. Now in most zombie movies, this is the part where all fucking hell breaks loose. You get shot after shot of mass hoardes of zombies feeding and infesting upon the townspeople – spreading the disease out of control why a small group of survivors waits it out. In “Pontypool”, you only get to hear about the zombies. Since the film is focused on the small radiostation (a producer, a technician, and a radio announcer), you get to experience the outbreak through them. They get phone calls and talk to people fleeing the zombies, they hear snippets of the zombie attacks on the radio etc. It’s not until almost half the film is over that you actually get to see some bloody carnage (and oh boy is it bloody).
I love how this film paces itself well. It sprinkles eerie, foreboding images with relatively normal situations. Probably the best part of the whole movie is the radio announcer going over the obituaries and describing how each person was killed (due to the zombie outbreak) while creepy black and white images of those people flash on-screen. It’s definitely a very unique take on the way typical zombie movies show flashes of how the whole town/city/world is being cannibalized/zombified. It’s downright chilling, and I loved it!
Now the premise of the film is that the zombie virus is spread via the English language (yes, seriously). People in the movie will fumble when speaking an English word (typically terms of endearment for some reason) and they keep repeating the word properly until it gets stuck in their mind to the point where it “infects” them and turns them into zombies. This explanation for how the zombie virus spreads may make or break the movie for you. Now I’ll admit that yes, it’s a seemingly stupid explanation for how the zombie outbreak was initiated (and it raises numerous questions you will unfortuantely never get answered) but damnit it’s an original explanation! One that doesn’t involve voodoo, an escaped monkey, a T-virus, or a crashed satellite.
The ending has a slightly romantic twist where the radio show producer and the cocky, in your face radio announcer (played by a SUPERB Stephen McHattie) end up falling for each other and the final scene is both lovey-dovey and utterly apocalyptic at the same time. I guarantee you will not be 100% pleased with that ending (I will shamefully admit I dug it, despite the fact that there wasn’t really any explanations given for the zombie attacks).
All-in-all, this is a brilliant movie. Probably will call this one best zombie horror of ’08/’09, hands down. Go check it out, it will not disappoint!