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Witty and restrained but still taut and funny, this Pontypool is a different breed of low-budget zombie film.
All Critics (86)
| Top Critics (17)
| Fresh (72)
| 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.
This cerebral horror movie plays Scrabble with the genre's cinematic lingo.
An utterly baffling and stunningly boring zombie horror thriller.
However shrewdly contrived to keep its budget low, Pontypool, set almost entirely in a basement radio station, is a zombie flick sans bite.
For a while, this claustrophobic little horror movie is a dark little treat.
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.
An all-time great zombie film.
It's when our grasping for digestible concepts, clear causality, or anything resembling resolution is as thwarted as the characters' struggle to articulate or take action, that we're in the best position to absorb Pontypool's full impact.
I liked it, with some reservations.
Pontypool's very resonant, localized fright, is to make sense of - to define - the inexplicable.
Pontypool has an awful lot going for it. It's technically well made, well acted, creepy, funny, and weird. It's the kind of movie that, if it's seen in the right place and right time, can really have an effect on you.
Tightly scripted (Tony Burgess) and directed (Bruce McDonald), but Stephen McHattie's Mazzy is the star!
just when i thought the zombie genre was totally played out...
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.
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.
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