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Pontypool: A Fantastic Canadian Horror Film That Puts a New Twist on the Zombie Genre

September 11, 2015

Pontypool movie poster


I’m not sure why it took my so long to watch Pontypool. It is a fantastic independent horror film that puts a new spin on the zombie world. It plays like Stephen King’s Cell met a Twilght Zone episode and spawned something completely different. I love how it captures a zombie outbreak in a completely new way. We get four characters, one radio station and words as weapons. Director Bruce McDonald works wonders with very little and I love the trust he has in his actors. Stephen McHattie, Lisa Houle and Georgina Reilly do a fantastic job of  reacting to reports and dealing with the insanity unfolding around them.

Pontypool radio station


The story revolves around three people narrating the end of the world (think War of the Worlds). They work in a  radio station that is located  in a small Canadian town called Pontypool. The night starts off weird as over the hill shock jock Grant Mazzy (McHattie) sees a disheveled woman on the side of the road. It gets even weirder as reports start coming in that the world is going to crap.  The events find him narrating the carnage while stuck in the radio station. I love how Pontypool captures dread via three people sitting around and it proves to be a fantastic experiment. I put the movie on as background while writing and several minutes in I was totally captivated.

Pontypool pictures

Tony Burgess wrote the book “Pontypool Changes Everything” and he was fortunate enough to write the screenplay for Pontypool. You can tell he poured lots of love into the script and he lucked out with a solid director and editor. It is rare when watching people react to a tense situation fills you with dread. I love how the ending is purposefully vague and  a tense zombie film with very little zombies is pretty awesome. Pontypool and Session 9 would make a badass double feature and I love how both films mess with their genres.

Movies like Pontypool are rare because they are are told organically and are in no way reactive. They are confidently made and the point is to tell a solid story and not appeal to the lowest common denominator (jump scares!). I love that I was sitting on the edge of my seat while people talk about other people dying. The editing and fantastic cinematography capture every angle of the radio booth and the performances inside are gloriously refreshing. Pontypool did something different and that is a beautiful thing for horror lovers.

Watch Pontypool on Netflix.

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