Pontypool

"OK"

Pontypool Review


This is one of those little films that proves that you don't need a blockbuster budget to make a high-concept movie. McDonald and Burgess create a mass-chaos apocalyptic thriller with essentially just three characters in a windowless room.

On a snowy night in Canada, Grant Mazzy (McHattie) is presenting his early morning radio phone-in programme with the help of producer Sydney (Houle) and technician Laurel Ann (Reilly). Then they begin to hear reports from their traffic reporter (Roberts) about chaos in the town of Pontypool. But what starts as a seeming hostage situation turns out to be a vicious zombie-creating virus. Eventually, the marauding undead converge on the radio station, and Grant, Sydney and Laurel Ann have to figure out a way to survive.

At about the mid point in the film, a doctor (Alianak) helpfully crawls into the station's basement window, gives a nutty explanation of what he thinks is going on outside, then leaves as suddenly as he arrived. Besides being the film's only real plot exposition, this also demonstrates the gleefully silly approach the filmmakers are taking here. The cameras otherwise remain locked on this trio of characters as they listen to the carnage outside down the phone lines.

In other words, the whole film feels like a radio play. And visually it's not hugely interesting, mainly because it's so contained in the setting. A few scenes of zombie chaos spice things up, as do some random moments of raucous grisliness, but the limited perspective keeps the tension from ever really cranking up. On the other hand, it allows for some terrific performances, most notably from McHattie, who is clearly having a ball with his grizzled, sardonic character.

What's amazing is the way the filmmakers spin this simple premise into an effectively freaky little movie. With no big effects shots, and no real action to speak of, they keep us watching by focussing on the characters and making us feel trapped along with them while the world collapses outside. There's also an effectively mind-bending explanation for what's happening, something that's enjoyably cheesy and cleverly plays with the film's style. Just don't expect to be frightened.



Pontypool

Facts and Figures

Run time: 93 mins

In Theaters: Friday 18th September 2009

Distributed by: IFC Entertainment

Production compaines: Ponty Up Pictures, Shadow Shows

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 3 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 82%
Fresh: 65 Rotten: 14

IMDB: 6.7 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director:

Producer: Jeffrey Coghlan, Ambrose Roche

Starring: as Grant Mazzy, Lisa Houle as Sydney Briar, as Laurel-Ann Drummond, Hrant Alianak as Dr. Mendez, Rick Roberts as Ken Loney

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