How do you make sense of things that don’t make sense? What do you do when you don’t know what to do? These are the kinds of questions I found myself asking while watching Pontypool. Confusing as it may have been I really did enjoy this movie for its unconventional approach to horror.
The movie began with Grant Mazzy (Stephen Mchattie) driving to work and listening to the radio, when a mysterious person goes to his window and starts saying the same thing over and over again. He gets to the station where he is the radio speaker for a local radio station. His team consists of him, Laurel-Ann, Ken Loney, and Sydney Briar. The plot starts when one of their reporters witnesses a “riot” in the office of Dr. Mendez. It becomes breaking news in the station as he is constantly updating them about people losing their minds and stampeding with now regard for human safety. All while muttering different words and phrases. Later we find out from Dr. Mendez (who comes in through a window while all other entrances are sealed of) that there is an outbreak and a virus has spread……. THROUGHOUT THE HUMAN LANGUAGE! The Virus infects nearly everyone in Pontypool and even finds its way to one of their own. Laurel-ann who begins to mutter the same words over and over then begins to ram head first into the sound booth where she eventually vomits blood and dies. After sometime Dr. Mendez starts to get loopy and strange to the point where Grant and Sydney leave him and go to another part of the station. They also find out that the infection is not really in language itself but more specifically the english language. Having learned this they begin to try and interact in French. Eventually Dr. Mendez mentions that you have to confuse the virus and that will be the cure then courageously sacrifices himself to save the two, thus revealing that he was not infected by the virus. He was really just an odd guy. After that, Sydney catches the virus and begins to start muttering the same phrase over and over again her word being kill. Thinking on his feet grant finds a way to confuse the virus by saying “kiss means kill” over and over again then kissing her and turning her back. They rush to the audio booth and begin to broadcast saying phrases that don’t make sense or contradict each other. The movie ends credit rolls and there is an after credit scene where it seems like there is a shift in scenery and apparently the virus could not be contained. The scene ends with grant describing how to get out.
The reason I liked this movie so much was cause of the creativity and approach. This film managed to produce horror without ever leaving a room throughout the whole movie. All the horror came from things we could not see such as phone calls, outside voices, and outside sound effects. They were able to turn our imagination against us and make us picture everything that is happening all without actually seeing the riot or root of the virus. Another thing that I liked was the concept, never in my wildest imaginations could I think of something that creative. Something like a virus spreading throughout the english language and the cure being to confuse it with contradicting phrases.. For me that was genius no matter how unlikely that scenario is. I also really enjoyed the characters. Particularly the character of Dr. Mendez. For me his character was perfect for this movie/scenario. His strange and weird antics and unconventional characteristics made him the perfect person to be the “hero” of the movie. His character was like an enjoyable rollercoaster ride by being just flat out unpredictable. He brought comedic relief while at the same time a bit of fear that he had been affected by the virus, while eventually being a selfless hero who saves their lives, not to mention he was the one who figured out the cure for the disease. Which is why I think his character played a huge role in this movie. The movie was a good blend of creativity, comedy, horror, all without being too gory like most horror films. It had great casting, sound effects and overall ideas. To conclude, the movie was well made and was one of better movies for me this semester. The characters were fit for the movie and I cannot stress how much I liked the plot and out of the box thinking in this movie. Although far stretched I still enjoyed the imagination behind the movie. This is a movie I think I would like to see again!