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Pontypool (2009)



Average Rating: 6.6/10
Reviews Counted: 79
Fresh: 65 | Rotten: 14

Witty and restrained but still taut and funny, this Pontypool is a different breed of low-budget zombie film.


Average Rating: 5.8/10
Critic Reviews: 16
Fresh: 11 | Rotten: 5

Witty and restrained but still taut and funny, this Pontypool is a different breed of low-budget zombie film.



liked it
Average Rating: 3.5/5
User Ratings: 6,297

My Rating

Movie Info

A psychological thriller in which a deadly virus infects a small Ontario town.


Art House & International, Horror

Tony Burgess

Jul 21, 2008

IFC Entertainment - Official Site External Icon

Watch It Now


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All Critics (80) | Top Critics (16) | Fresh (65) | Rotten (14) | DVD (2)

This low-budget picture is a little too claustrophobic, and it grows tedious. The ominous, overbearing musical score tries but fails to jack up the tension.

December 17, 2009
Hollywood Reporter
Top Critic IconTop Critic

This cerebral horror movie plays Scrabble with the genre's cinematic lingo.

October 16, 2009 Full Review Source: Time Out
Time Out
Top Critic IconTop Critic

However shrewdly contrived to keep its budget low, Pontypool, set almost entirely in a basement radio station, is a zombie flick sans bite.

September 1, 2009 Full Review Source: Variety
Top Critic IconTop Critic

For a while, this claustrophobic little horror movie is a dark little treat.

June 5, 2009 Full Review Source: Newark Star-Ledger
Newark Star-Ledger
Top Critic IconTop Critic

If you're a devotee of the deranged mind of Canadian indie auteur Bruce McDonald, then I can just tell you that he's made a horror movie (kind of) and that Pontypool is it.

June 5, 2009 Full Review Source:
Top Critic IconTop Critic

A horror flick that's all talk and (almost) no action? The risk pays off better than you'd think.

May 29, 2009 Full Review Source: New York Daily News
New York Daily News
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Alarmingly intelligent and deeply disorienting, Pontypool plays as a radically different film upon subsequent viewings, its metaphor-filled dialogue seeming to shift and alter in meaning with every scene.

December 1, 2010 Full Review Source: Little White Lies
Little White Lies

A winning combination of shuddery suspense and intelligent observations.

August 9, 2010 Full Review Source:

As a horror fan, this high-minded Talk Radio of the Living Dead left me as cold as a Pontypool winter.

July 6, 2010 Full Review Source: Georgia Straight

Its a mighty strange beast, an intellectual B-movie that offers equal parts semiotics and projectile gore.

January 30, 2010 Full Review Source: Movie Metropolis
Movie Metropolis

Laurie Anderson would be proud: language is a virus in [this] zombie(-esque) thriller set almost entirely within the walls of a basement radio station.

January 27, 2010 Full Review Source:

Interesting zombie flick. A little too claustrophobic with all of the scenes in a makeshift radio station. Too much description and not enough action, almost like War of the World's radio broadcast. Still, worth watching once. Paul Chambers, CNN.

January 15, 2010 Full Review Source: CNNRadio | Comment (1)

This year Canada's PONTYPOOL ranks as high as any United States science fiction films I have seen.

January 7, 2010 Full Review

An entertaining cerebral chiller.

November 8, 2009 Full Review Source:

Compellingly apocalyptic.

October 20, 2009 Full Review Source: Observer [UK]
Observer [UK]

An original take on genre movies of its kind.

October 20, 2009 Full Review Source: This is London
This is London

Inventive and genuinely suspenseful, this is a welcome addition to the expanding zombie/virus canon.

October 16, 2009 Full Review Source: Empire Magazine
Empire Magazine

This unsettlingly quirky account of semiological breakdown and small-town apocalypse plays like My Winnipeg for fans of intellectual horror. Pontypool is as astonishing as it is original, and amply repays multiple viewings.

October 16, 2009 Full Review Source: Film4

It's always an unexpected bonus in a zombie film to find the brains evident in the screenplay rather than splattered all over the scenery.

October 16, 2009 Full Review Source: Times [UK]
Times [UK]

An utterly baffling and stunningly boring zombie horror thriller.

October 16, 2009 Full Review Source: Guardian | Comment (1)

Tight as a drum and the most inventive spin on a zombie-plague premise in years.

October 16, 2009 Full Review Source: Daily Telegraph
Daily Telegraph

An immersive film built on inference and interrupted signals rather than cheap shock-jock tactics. But the question remains: why the hell didn't they call it Dead Air?

October 16, 2009 | Comment (1)
Little White Lies

Ignore the shaky tongue-tied opening fifteen minutes; when Pontypool gets its words in order it reminds you how much creepy fun can be had in keeping the horror tantalisingly offscreen.

October 16, 2009 Full Review Source: Sky Movies
Sky Movies

Big on atmos, low on incident, this claustrophobic chiller captures the hysteria of a town flailing on the frontline of disaster.

October 16, 2009 Full Review Source: Total Film
Total Film

Audience Reviews for Pontypool

just when i thought the zombie genre was totally played out...
October 31, 2013
Stella Dallas

Super Reviewer

September 19, 2013
Directors Cat
Directors Cat

Super Reviewer

The first half of Bruce McDonald's "Pontypool" is a sort of masterclass in tension building. The atmosphere and looming dread evoked from the films terrific sound design is outstanding, especially when you factor in the film's minuscule budget. Helping things along are three strong lead performance, especially from the always reliable character actor Stephen McHattie. We instantly care about these people, and we are right there with them as the world seemingly crumbles around the radio station they're held up in.

Ultimately, Pontypool's highly original and undeniably loopy concept/ commentary (a zombie-like virus is spread through certain words of the English language) is it's marginal undoing, as most of the tension and paranoia of earlier scenes dissolve through prolonged and confused explanations as to how the plague works in the first place. I'm still not sure, but neither are the characters in the film so I can buy that; what I can't fully buy is the tonal shift that reduces the morbid fun of what came before it.

Luckily, not even my major gripe could dissipate my enjoyment that much. "Pontypool" is still a really good film, and a fresh take on both the horror and psychological thriller genres. It could have been great (as indicated by the stellar first half), but sometimes a flawed original speaks volumes. In this light, "Ponypool" is well worth seeing.
March 22, 2013

Super Reviewer

A gravely voiced, caustic, down-at-the-heels radio shock jock demoted to a small town asks his listeners "why would you call 911?" after a strange encounter; just the set-up for a cynical, claustrophibic take on the curious popular notion of a zombie apocalypse. Based on the original Canadian radio play.
June 14, 2012

Super Reviewer

    1. D.J. Grant Mazzy: Sydney, we're gonna save the fucking world. How you doing' ?
    – Submitted by Lili K (15 months ago)
    1. D.J. Grant Mazzy: Do you really wanna provide a genocide with elevator music?
    – Submitted by Rick H (2 years ago)
View all quotes (2)

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