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Pontypool

3.8 out of 5 stars 173 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Shut up or die…Shock jock Grant Mazzy (McHattie) has been kicked-off the airwaves and now works at a small-town morning show. Another mundane day on the job quickly turns deadly when reports pile in of people developing strange speech patterns and evoking brutal acts of violence. Before long, Mazzy discovers that the behavior is actually a deadly virus being spread through language. Does he stay on the air in hopes of being rescued or, is he providing the virus with its ultimate leap over the airwaves and into the world?

Review

GRADE: A. One-of-a-kind zombie film. --Entertainment Weekly

...the notion that we are all being driven mad by an incessant verbal deluge makes nasty comic sense. --The New York Times

Awesome --Salon.com

Special Features

None.

Product Details

  • Actors: Stephen McHattie, Lisa Houle, Georgina Reilly, Hrant Alianak, Rick Roberts
  • Directors: Bruce McDonald
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Color, NTSC, Widescreen
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated:
    Unrated
    Not Rated
  • Studio: MPI HOME VIDEO
  • DVD Release Date: January 26, 2010
  • Run Time: 96 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (173 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B002TZS5G0
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #55,518 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Pontypool" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD
"Just listen to me."

You wouldn't know it, but this little dialogue blip haunted me just long enough to know that, subsequent to viewing the trailer, McDonald's Pontypool would be an experience I would never forget. Just when cinema's zombie revival experiment begins to show signs of banality, we are given a gift from an ambitious director that, although certainly difficult to digest, is one the most compelling and original zombie in ages.

Working with truly terrifying source material, McDonald builds a fortress of tension out of, seemingly, nothing at all. Indeed, nearly the entirety of the film takes place within a radio station, and even then, within the confines of a modest sound booth. That said, it is a testament to the staggering talent of both the director and his team when I say that what is accomplished with so little is utterly unnerving. Even for minimalist cinema, this is a film that works with mere shadows, putting its faith in the audience to fill in the frightening details.

Pontypool is that rare horror film that grows more disturbing upon successive viewings. Given its plot, which I will absolutely not spoil, it is admittedly ironic that, the more you analyze and come to learn, the more creepy things become. It's a stunning achievement that I cannot applaud enough; it goes beyond mere psychological horror, nestling quietly in the voids of the uncanny and the abstract, and it will chill you to the bone.

Indeed, this film oozes a taut indy style that few mainstream features can replicate, all the way down to a genuinely sharp script that gives the impeccably chosen cast something intelligent to work with, especially Stephen McHaddy's, who's performance is the stuff of career breakouts.
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Format: DVD
** This review contains spoilers. **

Grant Mazzy is a shock jock who used to be big on the radio, but now is condemned to the purgatory of a small town local morning show. He wants to challenge people and incite a reaction like he used to, but his supervisor, Sydney Briar, is only concerned with the basics. Weird reports start coming in from various eye witnesses about riots outside of a doctor's office. Over time, the details come together and the picture starts to become clear: people have started to suddenly go insane and attack others. People are being eaten and killed out there. Their town has descended in to chaos and all they can do is try to report what they know, which isn't much. How long will they be safe holed up at the studio? What is really causing this frightening behavior in people?

I read the book this movie was based on and it was very strange and nonlinear. I didn't really know what to expect from the film version, but I braced myself for weirdness. The film is linear in its storytelling, but still has the ambiguity and odd feeling of the novel. The film is separated pretty clearly into 2 parts. The first part is simply establishing the characters and then throwing them into a crazy situation that they struggle to figure out. There are only three main characters: shock jock Grant Mazzy who is desperate to keep some of his edginess in a run of the mill job, Syndney Briar who is Grant's supervisor and sympathizes with him but also wants to keep the necessities in her show without alienating her audience, and Laurel-Ann Drummond who is the idealistic technical assistant and slightly enamored with Grant.
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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
The main concept of this movie, that a deadly virus can spread by words/repetition causing violence, horror, and death, is not a completely new science fiction concept. However, the twist the movie brings to the concept is amazingly well executed for an indie film.

While the film is not the same as the book at all, the concept in science fiction/horror has precedence in books like "Snow Crash" (Neal Stephenson) and to some extent, as early as "Blood Music" (Greg Bear). About 2/3 through the movie, I realized what was tickling me in the back of my mind (ironically enough, given the subject).

One of the central concepts of the aforementioned novels as well as "Pontypool Changes Everything" by Tony Burgess, on which this movie was based, was that a virus could be both transmitted by blood as well as by sound to hit the deep structures of the brain. That is what this movie invoked with the main concept of the movie - that a deadly virus can spread by words/repetition, causing violence, horror, and death. While that isn't a new concept, how the movie brings it slowly, terrifyingly to life on the screen is amazingly well executed for an indie film. One particular example that was unbelievably well done was the 'kill is...' scene. You truly aren't sure how it will end.

Kudos to the director and actors, especially Stephen McHattie and his IRL wife Lisa Houle. It is impossible to convey most complex books in a movie - but this movie pulls it off. The sci fi/horror concept was not immediately clear (though it is introduced almost immediately, which becomes obvious later on). Since it is a new, unusual idea, it takes time for both the characters and the audience to realize what is going on.
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