It’s a tradition for me that once the kids stop showing up for candy, the decorations are put away and the lights are turned off, I watch scary movies while eating nachos with a dip made of cream cheese, salsa and cheddar. Okay, as traditions go it’s not the most imaginative, but I like it.
There are a lot of zombie movies out there but Pontypool is different. No guns, no machetes, axes, swords or chainsaws. The gore is minimal and most of the violence happens in the viewers imagination.
I first heard about the movie from an article on films that take place in only one room, this one is set in a small town radio station in the basement of an old church. Since everything happens in just this one location it really places the viewer in the shoes of the main characters. We, like them, can’t see what is going on in the world. The reports about the outbreaks of violence are something we only hear via the calls from the stations traffic corespondent and interviews with the police. The atmosphere builds as we try and build a picture of what’s happening in the world outside of the station.
I liked Pontypool, it’s a refreshing take on the Zombie genre, even going a different route with the method of infection (which I won’t spoil) and I loved the emphasis on suspense over brutality, but it wasn’t perfect. I think it would have benefitted from a few more script revisions. Instead of building the clues to the mystery into the conversations with people on the outside, they rely on an info dump in the third act from a character who literally comes out of nowhere. In addition, their version of the zombies themselves is a cool idea, but really high concept. It probably works great written, but is difficult to try and convey on screen.
Overall, the acting is great and it’s a movie worth watching, but I also would not mind watching a re-make that tweeks things a little to allow the viewer to figure things out and maybe fleshes out the infection better so that it makes more sense when you discuss it after the movie is over.