That was how I felt throughout the movie, Pontypool. Half of the time, I did not understand what was going on. It felt as if a bunch of stuff were happening and were said that did not feel coherent with the genre of horror. The idea that a word can infect a person into becoming a zombie felt so impossible that it felt silly! After watching the film, I was really debating whether what I really watched was a horror film. But after a bit of deliberation, I realized that Pontypool was a horror film, a unique one as a matter fact. It felt as if it was a commentary on horror films.
Pontypool did follow the usual techniques of horror film. There were a bunch of moments of suspense and there was the usual “‘monster”. What makes Pontypool so unique , however, is their take on fear. Instead of using the usual fears of sicknesses and viral viruses, they portrayed words of affection as something to be feared. They were bringing into light a fear that a lot of people may have. Not a fear of affection exactly, but a fear of what it may result to. There are a number of people who are appalled by affection, they stay away from it like a virus. And this, for me, was presented into the film. It showed that fear integral to any horror film, whatever fear it may be, it can be utilized to scare the audience.
Also, another thing brought up by Pontypool is the need for a cure or a wise man in every horror film. They did it so blatantly that a doctor just comes out of nowhere and leaves as abruptly. This doctor was the “wise man” which helps them figure out what the cure is or what was causing the horror experience. Through this, the film comments on how there is a need to understand what exactly is going on. It comments on how, even if it’s impossibly convenient for the characters, horror films always tend to bring an “Ahhh that’s what’s happening” moment.
In the end, Pontypool was able to express what horror films are really about. They did it in its most crass way possible. They presented a fear, a monster, and a possible solution/cure. Either way, Pontypool still leaves us wondering just like any other horror film. Even if it’s not the usual horror film, it is still enjoyable to watch. It still plays on the curiosity and fear factor. Pontypool would be the film you’d like to watch to somehow dissect a horror film.