Pontypool (2008)

Directed by Bruce McDonald
Written by Tony Burgess

Alright, alright, I’ll join the bandwagon at Filmspotting and watch this film too I guess. A Canadian horror film about a shock jock covering a horrifying day in a small town in Ontario, Pontypool. I must admit that I was slow on the uptake in the beginning, as the film was starting to lay its ground work, but once the film picked up, it boiled over to a wonderful concoction of over the top, unbelievable storylines edging the line between laughable and effective, scary and hilarious. And in an era of the shocking, gory, bloody horror film, Pontypool manages to terrify with the good ol’ fashioned “War of the Worlds” shtick.

It is not too often that you see a film with talking heads and be near as effective as this one, especially in the horror genre. So how fitting when we actually learn the cause of the chaos in town. And the situation is a bit ludicrous and hard to believe, but the film is delivered so effectively that, as I said, it toes that fine line between outrageous and laughable and actually quite entertaining and engaging. I must say that I made the contemplation a few times during the film, but each time I was pushed to the edge, I was pulled right back in. Everything seems a bit overdone, with the pressing music score and the acting going big every now and then, but that is always balanced out by quiet moments of reflection that let the situation unfolding seep into the psyche a little bit more.

Sheilding the viewer from the horrors happening outside the walls of the radio booth is one of the more bold moves director Bruce McDonald could have made, but it is also one of the more ingenius. The human mind’s imagination is the friend and aid of any artist looking to create something personal. I don’t know what was really going on, you don’t know what was really going on; nobody does and that is the beauty of that mechanism. We all create our greatest horrors within our mind, some greater than others perhaps. And certainly our individual effort is directly related to the films ability to engage us otherwise. So in my case, my imagination was able to fill in the blanks that the vivid detail of the narrator’s perspective were unable to create, leaving me a film I found quite good.

*** – Very Good

Adam Kuhn

Adam Kuhn was born and raised in Columbus, Ohio, where he attended Saint Charles Preparatory School. He studied History at the University of Cincinnati, where he was a contributor of The News Record, the twice-weekly, independent student news organization. He has been writing film reviews and blogging since 2009.

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