Hello to all those faithfully reading and hopefully enjoying this effort to make even the worst horror movie more watcha... aw, screw that - I'm not that good. If a movie makes you cringe because yet another batch of unlikable teens that are pushing 30 are inching toward their deaths, having a party no one does anywhere ever, a paranormal movie is boring you to tears with unending pans of empty rooms, or thanks to CGI technology when people finally bite it, their blood squirts everywhere except on the victim, the ground, the people next to them... you're in good company and this is the right place for you.

Thursday, August 8, 2013


Pontypool (2009) Canada

Quite a while ago, Tim Forston - who has a lot of the same quirks I do (poor guy) suggested this movie to me. He said it starts kind of slow but it's really good. Oh, and it's a zombie movie. Enough for me. So I watched it and I kind of went huh? For one, yeah it was a bit slow and two I didn't understand what was being said and three... it was the weirdest movie that I've ever seen and I had to watch it a couple of times just to get a basic grasp on what they were trying to accomplish. Probably why it's called a psychological thriller and not a horror movie. And the most original (and confusing) origin of the zombie virus I've ever heard.

There's this grizzled radio jock called Grant Mazzy (Stephen McHattie) trying to get to work in a blinding snowstorm. Suddenly a woman is in the road - she's jabbering but he can't understand her and she disappears. It freaks him out because she just keeps repeating whatever he says. He gets to work where his two co-workers Laurel and Sydney are. Sydney is kind of the boss and he gets on her nerves whenever he can. He obviously is sick of his job and doesn't care who knows it.

Suddenly a report comes in of a riot at the office of a Dr. Mendez. People are actually knocking walls down and killing each other. While calling for other people to confirm the story their communication is cut off. Their source, a 'helicopter reporter' (he actually reports on a hill in his car) now says he sees someone he knows and the guy is just mumbling to himself. He starts talking of an infection but is cut off when their transmission is interrupted by someone speaking in French. Oh by the way, get used to this scene because this IS the movie. They go nowhere, the movie is the three of them in the underground studio. Fun, huh?

Anyway, the French message is translated into English by Laurel and he reads it on the air, being very puzzled the instructions include not using terms of endearment, phrases that conflict, and especially that the last line turns out to be 'Do not translate this into English'. Whoops.

People around them start going nuts. Fortunately they're outside but inside Laurel is starting to act strange. She is repeating nonsense sentences. Frightened Sydney locks herself inside the sound booth. Suddenly, Dr. Mendez himself manages to break into the station, getting past the drooling Laurel and getting into the sound booth with Laurel and Grant. Dr. Mendez explains his theory: somehow a virus has found its way into human language, infecting certain words, and only certain words infect certain people. Once these infected words are said and understood, the virus takes hold of the host. 

This doesn't help poor Laurel, who by this time is bashing her head against the window of the booth, trying to get in. Suddenly she, uh, explodes, shooting blood and guts through her mouth onto the window. Dr. Mendez thinks this is because she had no one to pass the virus to and so has died. By then the horde outside has broken into the building and to lead them away, they create a sound loop that plays on the loudspeaker outside. Dr. Mendez tells them not to talk, just breathe - but the virus begins to take a hold on him and he keeps repeating 'breathe' - until he forces himself to talk in Armenian which keeps the symptoms at bay. That's when he figures only the English language is 'infected'.

Okay folks, here's the summary: We are in a Canadian radio booth listening to a disc jockey and a doctor out of nowhere try to explain how there has come to Pontypool a virus through the English language and those that get it first start repeating certain words and phrases, and culminates in them becoming violent and killing each other. Get it? No? Neither did I. Not completely. Interesting theory but who and why? That part is not addressed which is probably good because this is confusing enough as it is right now.

A small girl gets in the studio and attacks them ferociously and Sydney is forced to kill her. Feeling incredibly guilty, she starts to succumb to the virus, repeating the word 'kill' continuously. Grant tries to figure out this 'good word/bad word' business and convinces her that kill is kiss. What? Don't ask me. But when she repeats 'kill is kiss' over and over she gets better.

So he thinks he knows how to 'cure' this virus, which is a damn good thing as outside all that is heard are explosions, gunfire, screaming, etc. So he and Sydney go on the air, using confusing phrases (not hard for me by now) to try to snap people out of this... whatever the hell it is. But of course those in charge know better and keep demanding they stop. As they continue to use the phrases it gets very quiet outside and we think good, people are going to be okay - until you hear the countdown.

Isn't it the solution to almost every zombie movie that the government just blows the entire mess to kingdom come? Yup, that's what's implied here too as Sydney and Grant wait in the booth the countdown reaches one... and the credits roll.

Wasn't that fun?