Nowadays, popular zombie movies, no matter how exciting, always rely on the same formula. Some sort of virus breaks out and a group of people ends up being left to fend for themselves. Then, members of the group gradually decrease, as they die or get infected, until only the main character/s is left. These movies usually end with the main characters getting out alive by some sort of miracle. Although these zombie movies have become an important part of pop culture, they can get quite repetitive which may cause casual moviegoers to lose interest. This is why people rave about the 2008 movie, Pontypool. Pontypool is a movie that breaks the mold for stereotypical zombie horror films with its great story and even greater use of the setting.
Pontypool revolves around Grant Mazzy, a radio DJ that seems to have been a big name, but moved to a small town in Ontario, Canada. Things started to get weird for him when he received a call about a huge mob trying to get into a doctor’s office. Ken, the person who called, was in the middle of the mob and he was trying to tell Grant Mazzy about what was happening around him. It was sort of an outbreak caused by the English language, because people could not construct their sentences and form ideas, they would just utter random words without actually saying anything.
Confusion was what I felt during the initial parts of the movie because it was quite hard to understand where the movie was going to go. The movie started in a slow and boring way because the characters were just talking inside a radio station. I was just waiting for the characters to actually go out and do something, but they just stayed inside the whole time. The ironic thing is that this is one of the aspects of the movie that made it so great. The radio station setting made the anticipation much more intense, because it made me feel anxious about what was going to happen next. The fact that what you knew was happening outside was limited by what Grant was being told made the movie all the more exciting. How often would you see a zombie film made so creepy by dialogue only? This is another thing that amazed me about the movie. The tone set by the voices and the sounds that surrounded the characters made me very anxious, yet I couldn’t even see the zombies that were supposedly there.
Another thing I like about the movie is that it’s such a unique and original type of zombie movie. There is barely any gore, and a lot of the horror is induced by the dialogue. There is no big virus or infection, because the English language is what was infective. There are no chases or anything like that because the whole movie was set in the station. Despite these, the movie managed to really draw me in. There were times when I had to stop and tell myself that it was just a movie and it wasn’t really happening, because you really just needed to hear what was going on to be affected by it.
The only thing that I struggled with during the movie was that it was quite hard to understand. It took me quite a lot to process what was happening, and I would sometimes get lost because I couldn’t follow it anymore. Overall, I highly recommend the movie because of its uniqueness and its story. Despite it being set in one place, it had no problem drawing me and keeping me at the edge of my seat.