Watch the original trailer then read the review – of this highly original horror/vampire/zombie/thriller tale set in a small town radio station…
Directed by Bruce McDonald and written by Tony Burgess who also wrote the book that the film is based on “Pontypool Changes Everything” – and there is also a radio play version which is absolutely dynamite to listen to – details at the bottom of the post.
“The film is set in a radio station in (the small town of) Pontypool where one day the morning team starts taking reports of extreme, bloody incidents of violence occurring in town. As the story unfolds, the radio staff soon realizes the violence that is ripping society apart is due to a virus being spread through the English language. That in turn poses a problem for a yappy radio jock and his staff holed up in the broadcast booth housed in the basement of the town’s abandoned church as a slaughter rages beyond its walls.”
Stephen McHattie as Grant Mazzy (Johnny Deadeyes)
Lisa Houle as Sydney Briar (Lisa)
Georgina Reilly as Laurel-Ann Drummond
Hrant Alianak as Dr. Mendez
Rick Roberts as Ken Loney
Boyd Banks as Jay (Osama)
Tony Burgess as Tony (Lawrence)
Rachel Burns as Colin (Daud)
Want to know more?
I know I did when I heard about this movie in 2008 and it took a year before I could find it here in Australia – but the book was easier to locate and it was a damn good read – so I was eager to see the movie.
Here is a more in-depth breakdown of the film:
Shock jock Grant Mazzy (Stephen McHattie) has, once again, been kicked-off the Big City airwaves and now the only job he can get is the early morning show at CLSY Radio in the small town of Pontypool which broadcasts from the basement of the small towns only church.
What begins as another boring day of school bus cancellations, due to yet another massive snow storm, quickly turns deadly. Bizarre reports start piling in of people developing strange speech patterns and evoking horrendous acts of violence.
But there is nothing coming in on the news wires. So is this really happening?
Before long, Grant and the small staff at CLSY find themselves trapped in the radio station as they discover that this insane behaviour taking over the town is being caused by a deadly virus being spread through the English language itself.
Do they stay on the air in the hopes of being rescued or, are they in fact providing the virus with its ultimate leap over the airwaves and into the world?
Now, there has been rumoured since 2008 a sequel in the works – but nothing has ever come of it yet that I know of.
Seriously this is a great film for a couple of reasons – firstly for its realistic depiction of a small radio station (so very rare in any type of movie – especially a horror film), secondly the story and direction, finally for the acting which is pretty good for a low budget horror film – it is an edge of your seat tale that has me hooked, and I usually watch it each year around Halloween – yes I have been running late this year as I only watched it again yesterday.
But you should lock this in to watch, don’t just believe me – Rotten Tomatoes has given it a pretty good score too of 84%!
Now to the radio play – it is spectacular in its own right – and it has an alternate ending… HEAR THE CBC production – HERE
Whilst the radio play version of the story changes a couple of the features of the movie – it is closer aligned to the book. The production values are spot on and cast and performances are brilliant.
From the Wikipedia post on PONTYPOOL:
SPOILERS AHEAD: In this alternate ending version, ending when Grant convinces Sydney that “kill” now means “kiss” she asks Grant to “kiss” her (in the film version she says “kill” leading to them kissing).
Soon after when broadcasting his own obituaries of Laurel-Ann and Mendez (who Grant assumes will meet his demise eventually), he confirms the death of Sydney, implying that he “kissed” her at her request. Grant, now completely alone, realises that he has become infected through the word “paper”. Resigned to his fate, he allows himself to be taken by the word, repeating it over and over again, before finally uttering one different word: “trap”.
So should you watch Pontypool? Hell Yes – listen to the radio drama and read the book too – then you will never listen to radio quite the same again!