ByVictoria Cirello, writer at Creators.co
Hello, I’m Vicky Cirello and I am an aspiring journalist, horror movie reviewer, and videographer.
Victoria Cirello

Well. There are a lot of things I want to say about Bruce McDonald’s Pontypool (2008). I guess I really don’t know where to start with this film.

“Pontypool” was influenced by Orson Welles’ radio production of “War of the Worlds.” Photo source: Shock ‘til You Drop
“Pontypool” was influenced by Orson Welles’ radio production of “War of the Worlds.” Photo source: Shock ‘til You Drop

Basically, “Pontypool” takes place in a radio station with DJ Grant Mazzy (Stephen McHattie), station manager Sydney Briar (Lisa Houle), and technical assistant Laurel-Ann Drummond (Georgina Reilly). During Grant’s morning radio show, he keeps getting reports of people going crazy and attacking each other in the town. They soon find out that a virus has infected the English language and is spreading from person to Persian via speech.

Yes, you read that correctly. A virus infects the English language.

Laurel-Ann’s (Georgina Reilly) face pretty much sums up my overall reaction to “Pontypool.” Photo source: AV Club
Laurel-Ann’s (Georgina Reilly) face pretty much sums up my overall reaction to “Pontypool.” Photo source: AV Club

This plot plays out pretty much as you would expect it would – like a mess, basically. If it weren’t for the crazy as hell storyline, I think this would make a decent zombie/virus flick. I like the setting, trapping the characters in a radio station, and Stephen McHattie does a wonderful job playing the seasoned radio host. Pontypool has a lot of great things going for it that get overshadowed by the ridiculous plot.

It's just the story I can’t get over. It’s very hard for me to try and wrap my head around exactly how this virus came to be, how it infects a language and spreads by transmitting words to another person. The sequence where we’re supposed to get some explanation leaves more questions than answers, so when I supposed to be understanding what this virus is, I end up even more confused.

One thing I really can’t comprehend is how a virus spreads via spoken word — it’s not a tangible thing — how in the world is that supposed to happen? If you’re going to present a story this complicated, you need to offer more explanation somewhere in the film.

The original concept for “Pontypool” was to show nothing but a wavering line synched to writer Tony Burgess’s voice. Photo source: League of Dead Films
The original concept for “Pontypool” was to show nothing but a wavering line synched to writer Tony Burgess’s voice. Photo source: League of Dead Films

There’s only so much I can say about the plot, I recommend Pontypool only so, maybe, someone can come back here after watching and explain it to me.