Tuesday, March 31, 2009

be careful with those words..

Pontypool (2008, Canada, Bruce McDonald): 8.5/10

Words can be dangerous. And Bruce McDonald’s film Pontypool, based on Tony Burgess’s book Pontypool Changes Everything, takes that concept to a brilliant and horrific level. The story is about how people in a small Canadian town start to get infected by words and turned into zombies, even though the film does not mention the word ‘zombie’ per say. This is certainly a fascinating concept and not unbelievable. Often it takes just one word to change people’s emotions and behaviour, so what if a word crept into someone’s psyche to completely take over their brain? Ofcourse, different people's behaviour is altered by different words so appropriately the film shows how the town folk are infected by different words. And not just any words, words that may have meaning in their life.

The film’s setup is engaging thanks to the dark radio studio and the husky soothing voice provided by the radio jockey Grant Mazzy (Stephen McHattie). The camera never leaves the radio studio so all the information about the incident is communicated to the radio station via cell phones and radio waves. This trickle of information certainly raises the creepiness and mystery around the infection and makes the first hour of the film quite fascinating. Things dip a little after the hour mark but still there are plenty of interesting ideas that jump out of this film.

Incidentally, the infection in the film is only caused by the English language. It is a good thing that Canada is a bilingual country :)

Film Trailer

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