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Pontypool (2008)

Reviewed on 2010 March 14

Completely novel, relatively gore-free Canadian entree into the zombie genre, done with wit and leavened with a few funny bits that don’t undermine the creepiness. The unique thing about it is I can give you a fair indicator if it’ll be your thing it without spoiling anything. If you liked the original H. G. Wells broadcast of War of the Worlds, or if listening to Tool’s “Faaip de Oaid” alone at night makes you jumpy, you’ll probably enjoy this.

Grant Mazzy (Stephen McHattie) is a shock jock with an attitude and a melted-butter voice, trying to acclimate himself to the morning drive slot at a small AM station in Pontypool. With his black hat and craggy face and personality, Mazzy would seem more at home at a larger anything-goes type of station, or pulling a graveyard shift that would make Art Bell’s show look normal. He does his best to work within the confines of his new audience, reeling himself in for the sake of producer Sydney Briar (Lisa Houle). He’s very generous with the scotch in his morning coffee as he contemplates a career of reading school closings, until an eerie news story comes over the wire. Apparently a riot is ensuing in their small town: hundreds of people are pouring into a doctor’s office and acting crazy.

Some people want a lot of gore in their horror movies. There’s an art to that too, but if that’s what you’re looking for you won’t find it here. This is a an offbeat, claustrophobic little number, with the bulk of the action taking place in the radio station and seemingly filmed on something smaller than a lot of wedding budgets (I say that in admiration, not as a complaint or anything). I found it more creepy than scary, but I should also point out that since Mr. Shukti wanted to see it we just sat down and watched it in the afternoon. Since I like my sleep perhaps that’s better than if I’d screened it alone at night.

Three chocolate morsels, and watch the credits. To the very end.

Shukti

morsel morsel morsel

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