This movie had almost become my White Whale. I was first told about it from my friend and movie reviewer Jim Hall. He didn’t tell me very much about it except that it took place in a radio station and had zombie-like creatures in it. So I put it in my Netflix cue only to find out that it was currently unavailable from them. I waited and waited, then I waited some more only to find myself a year and half from the first time I heard about the flick.
Well, as luck would have it I mentioned this movie a few months ago to Rob Manier and his girlfriend Aubree Harat while they were here for an episode of Breakfast With Odd. A deal was struck that if she could find it through her preferred rental service then I would produce a batch of my pizza eggs, which had recently been explained to them and peaked their interests.
Pontypool is the story of a small Ontario town that is caught in the midst of some strange happenings. Grant Mazzy (Stephen McHattie) a former shock jock turned radio announcer, has a rather eerie encounter on his drive into work one morning. A woman appears beside his car at a stop light in the middle of a snow storm, she is wearing only a dress and saying something Mazzy can’t quite make out. He rolls down his window and calls out to her only to have his words repeated back to him for the sunless void.
Grant’s past as a “personality” doesn’t quite fit the new role of fluffy time filler. He wants to “shake things up” and produce a response from the otherwise sleepy denizens that populate Pontypool. He begins poking fun at the local law enforcement after receiving a tip that the powers that be happen to have been caught acting rather peculiar and speaking gibberish.**SPOILERS** Speaking gibberish plays a big part of what this movie is about. Imagine a zombie style disease spread via language. They very words we use become infected and become stuck in our heads, repeating over and over again driving us to do the unspeakable and unimaginable. How would you combat such a disease? Can you combat it? Mazzy has to answer both of the questions and quickly before the entire town descends on his station and rips it and small crew to shreds. The clock is ticking Mr. Mazzy. **END SPOILERS**
This movie is a perfect example of why I love indie movies. This concept would have NEVER come from big Hollywood mainly due to it’s level of intelligence. You have to love any movie that breaks the mold and does so with style, so often we get the same old same old that when we do get something new we sometimes place it on an unworthy pedestal. This isn’t the case here though, what you get with Pontypool is a smart, witty and original film that has taken a stalled genre and re-imagined it.
I do feel the need to warn you that this movie is a head-scratcher. I found myself left more questions than answers at the end of the film, but I never mind that since it gives me good cause to watch it again and again until it makes sense or in the case of Pontypool…….loses all meaning.
3.5/5 top hats