Sunday, 17 June 2012

Film Review: PONTYPOOL (2008)

Pontypool - poster Director: Bruce McDonald
Writer: Tony Burgess (novel & screenplay)
Running time: 93 mins (approx)
Certification (UK): 18

Genre: Horror/Mystery/Sci-Fi
UK Release date: 16th October 2009

Watched on Sky+ Sunday 16th June 2012.


Having not heard a lot about this film I initially assumed it was a British film set in the Welsh town of the same name. Boy was I wrong! This Canadian film is set in the small town of Pontypool, Ontario, although we get to see nothing of the town itself. An interesting horror that relies on the imagination of the audience to set the scene. I’ll explain what I mean by that after this very brief summary.

Pontypool - 8 Shock jock Grant Mazzy, having been sacked, yet again, finds himself working the breakfast show in the provincial town of Pontypool, Ontario. He has a very brash and confrontational style that doesn’t go down too well with his show’s producer, Sydney Briar. Their engineer, Afghanistan veteran, Laurel-Ann Drummond, completes the team for this early morning show. It’s cold out and so Mazzy contacts their traffic reporter, Ken Loney, who tells them of an incident going on down town. A mass of people are attacking a building, a doctor’s surgery run by Dr. Mendez. He gets closer and is attacked himself. The team back in the studio can only sit and listen as events unfold. It’s clear that something very strange is going on and maybe Dr. Mendez can spread some light on it. I really don’t want to say too much more or I will give too much away, so I’ll leave it there. Anyway, the Spoiler Police will get all French on me if I say too much.

Pontypool - 6 Very well made with quite a claustrophobic feel to it; most the action takes place in the basement of the radio studio, a converted church. All the performances are very good with Stephen McHattie as Grant Mazzy standing out (for me). He is ably supported by; Lisa Houle as Sydney Briar, Georgina Reilly as Laurel-Ann Drummond, Hrant Alianak as Dr. Mendez and Rick Roberts as Ken Loney (voice).

Pontypool - 2 The way the events going on in town are described makes the audience set their own scene. It’s almost like reading a book and imagining what’s described on the page in your own imagination. I found this very effective and it’s a great example of the ‘less is more’ school of horror film making. Who needs to see the gore if you can imagine it… it’s a much more effective story-telling technique if used correctly, as here. Unfortunately the film falls down (for me) on the premise for all the trouble in the town. I felt it was a little weak and could have been set up a little better. Over all though, an interesting film… RECOMMENDED.

My score: 6.8/10

IMDb Score: 6.7/10 (based on 9,773 votes at the time of going to press).

MetaScore: 54/100: (Based on 11 critic reviews provided by at the time of going to press).

Rotten Tomatoes ‘Tomatometer’ Score: 83/100 (based on 77 reviews counted at the time of going to press).

Rotten Tomatoes ‘Audience’ Score: 68/100 ‘Liked It’ (based on 5,095 user ratings counted at the time of going to press).

If you’re crazy enough… You can find me on Facebook at:

[first lines]
Grant Mazzy: Mrs. French's cat is missing. The signs are posted all over town. "Have you seen Honey?" We've all seen the posters, but nobody has seen Honey the cat. Nobody. Until last Thursday morning, when Miss Colette Piscine swerved her car to miss Honey the cat as she drove across a bridge. Well this bridge, now slightly damaged, is a bit of a local treasure and even has its own fancy name; Pont de Flaque. Now Collette, that sounds like Culotte. That's Panty in French. And Piscine means Pool. Panty pool. Flaque also means pool in French, so Colete Piscine, in French Panty Pool, drives over the Pont de Flaque, the Pont de Pool if you will, to avoid hitting Mrs. French's cat that has been missing in Pontypool. Pontypool. Pontypool. Panty pool. Pont de Flaque. What does it mean? Well, Norman Mailer, he had an interesting theory that he used to explain the strange coincidences in the aftermath of the JFK assassination. In the wake of huge events, after them and before them, physical details they spasm for a moment; they sort of unlock and when they come back into focus they suddenly coincide in a weird way. Street names and birthdates and middle names, all kind of superfluous things appear related to each other. It's a ripple effect. So, what does it mean? Well... it means something's going to happen. Something big. But then, something's always about to happen.

Pontypool - 1 [repeated line]
Grant Mazzy: Sydney Briar is alive.

Sydney Briar: We're not talking, I'm drunk. This is how my last relationship ended.

Sydney Briar: [to Grant Mazzy] Kill me.

Grant Mazzy: It's not the end of the world; it's just the end of the day.

Pontypool - 7 LINKS:
(Note: All were working at the time of going to press)

No comments: