Pontypool (2008)

Continuing my waist deep journey through Netflix films I always wanted to watch but never got around to it, I dialed up Pontypool. Why Pontypool? Who knows. It probably just stuck in my head when I read about it over on BD or Horror-movies.ca. Regardless, let's take a look at this tight little Canadian thriller.

Stephen McHattie is Grant Mazzy, an alcoholic, pissed off, bitter, cynical, radio deejay. Think Don Imus when he was banned to Cleveland. He doesn't want to be stuck in some backwards frozen Canadian town like Pontypool, a fact he makes perfectly clear to his agent - right before firing him. His drive to work is subsequently interrupted by a mysterious woman leaving him with an uneasy feeling as he enters his church basement studio. Rattled, but not quite knocked off his game Mazzy commences doing what he does every morning - making life hell for his producers and railing against the mundane goings on in this sleepy little burg.

Then his producer gets a lead that things may not be right outside a doctors office in town. Information is sketchy but Mazzy wants to roll with it, despite his producers wishes. He throws to his "eye in sky" traffic reporter, Ken Loney, who reports from his yellow Dodge Dart, looking for some concrete info. Loney confirms the report of an unruly crowd at the doctors office but cannot provide any more info.

Confusion ensues as Mazzy tries to get to the bottom of the happenings, and still trying to facilitate a coherent radio program at the same time. His contact with Loney gets weirder and weirder. The doctor who's clinic was attacked climbs through the window of the studio. He tries to tell Grant that it's the words that are causing the chaos. Then one of Grant's producers changes into a zombie. Trapped in his studio with the doctor and his other producer Grant tries to make sense of it all.

Pontypool is a different type of zombie film. Hell, it's a different type of film all together. If you're looking for Dawn Of The Dead 2004 redux, keep moving, this film is not for you. But if you are looking for a film that, while it's admittedly slow to develop, is more of a character study against the back drop of a possible zombie outbreak, then definitely check out the film.

While the explanation leaves little to be desired - I'm really not a fan of ambiguous, non-committal endings like this, the rest of the film is tremendous. McHattie is tremendous as the jaded Mazzy. AS is Lisa Houle as Grant Mazzys lead producer. Tremendous acting, tremendous writing, an interesting story with a disappointing last 15 minutes all adds up to a pretty good little film.

Pontypool is currently available to stream on Netflix. Check it out.

***1/2 stars out of *****

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