If films seem to be getting more political in tune with these economic worrisome times, horror movies may be moving up into position as the vanguard. Following recent Hollywood housing nightmare yarns like The Haunting In Connecticut and Drag Me To Hell, Pontypool advances into mass media territory, and how words can indeed kill if repeated often enough, both literally and symbolically. And the designated superheroes here seem to be radio people, which is a great additional perk since I happen to be one.
No mere make love not war mantra, Pontypool is masterfully unbridled reality check get even gore, targeting media propaganda in collusion with manipulative government agendas. A movie as gritty and conceptually hard core as its bare bones underground setting, Pontypool, directed by Bruce McDonald (Roadkill), plays out in that small Ontario town of the title, in a radio station sequestered in a delapidated church basement.
Currently in exile mode, is the morning shock jock Grant Mazzy (Stephen McHattie), who’s been banished from his big city station for bad behavior. Not exactly Imus but close to it, Mazzy is the kind of take no prisoners rowdy guy who takes whiskey with his morning cup of java, to best perfect his art of nasty. But on a morning like no other, a mysterious virus has struck the provincial burb, that instantly turns the rioting residents into babbling cannibalistic maniacs. And Mazzy and his crew hole up in the soundbooth as a makeshift quarantine fortress, against the attacking hordes.
When they finally figure out that words themselves have become infected, possibly from mangling their definitions to begin with in the service of mass mind control and militarism, well let’s just say that in the ensuing media detox, the dictionaries are in for a long overdue emergency overhaul. And while the whole concept of listening as dangerous to your health may sound a little too convoluted for sufficiently chilly fare on screen, the freaky revenge of the listeners fallout from this macabre head game of a movie, is irresistibly ballsy, brainy and funny as can be.