Shield of Endearment

The movie Pontypool started out with a bang, as in a girl banging the DJ’s car window in the middle of nowhere and disappearing suddenly. Which made it interesting for me since the DJ used this incident to grab his listener’s attention. However, I wondered if he really had listeners, although there were callers interested enough to actually answer his question of whether to call 9-1-1 for that certain incident or not.

At first I thought, is this even a horror movie? What could possibly go wrong in a setting where there are only 3 people in a radio station. They’re isolated, and I guess they’re protected so all will be well. That girl banging on the car window had me hooked, but she left me hanging. What I found interesting though is how this horror genre found a way to make language, a very complex theme, an important ingredient to this film. Sure words can either hurt or affirm but I think what is important in this film is how words can “infect”.

Infection, a particular and important trait in zombie films. Without it, viruses, plagues, and the idea of “turning” cannot be possible. But to use language as a virus is beyond me, I mean, how could words kill, or turn people to harmful creatures? I think what makes this movie a horror film would be the fact that people (no matter what kind of virus there is and if its even curable) have the capacity to infect and kill other people even if they are friends to begin with. The very idea of suffering while infected and dying if it’s not passed on contributes to it being a horror film, and what’s more interesting is the fact that anything can be a vehicle for infection, for instance, language.

This movie made me rethink about how I sometimes blurt out words without even thinking twice about it. I am the type of person who talks to friends who doesn’t filter out her words, and in some cases, I can get so blunt that I don’t realize I have hurt the person I am conversing with. However, this movie not just talks about language, but the truth behind it when said to other people. I immediately thought of gossip culture and how it can figuratively ‘infect and kill’ people. Lies and gossips travel fast, especially the juicy ones. And when lies travel from ear to ear, their perception of that person or object gets distorted, just like how the people became zombies after hearing words of endearment from their environment.

But why words of endearment and in english? Why not curse words or words of negative criticisms and such? For me, maybe english was the chosen vehicle since it is considered as an international language. Endearment part, I am not so sure. Probably endearment terms have this power of making everything seem positive.

“Dear, I suggest you stop what you are doing because it is just a waste of time.” 

    Not so bad to hear it, I guess. If I were to receive a blunt comment that what I am doing is just a waste of time, I might not talk to that person again. But then again, why do we need to use such words to deliver thoughts to people? Is it because people have become so sensitive that they cannot receive blunt remarks anymore, therefore getting “infected” with hatred against that person? Maybe we need to think twice both before letting a blunt statement, and how we receive such remarks.



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