If you like your entertainment to be perfunctory, devoid of any requirement for you to think, or use your imagination then do not watch Pontypool. If you are expecting a bog standard zombie film, then Pontypool will not be for you. However if you are tired of the generic studio offerings that are slowly killing the genre, have an enquiring mind and fancy seeing a different take on an established theme, then do watch Pontypool. It's not without its faults and does sail close to the wind with regards to being pretentious. But then again, semiotics is a complex subject.
Pontypool is about a Talk Radio Shock Jock in the twilight of his career, who becomes aware of a possible zombie apocalypse that is unfolding during the course of his daily radio phone-in. However the story subsequently focuses on how we as a population react and consume news, rather than simply regaling us with the undead munching on the living. Set mainly in the radio studio, the atmosphere is claustrophobic and brooding. This is a character driven movies with the emphasis on themes rather than action. If you are looking for a wealth of blood and gore then you’ll not find it.
Stephen McHattie, an underrated actor, gives an engaging performance as DJ Grant Mazzy and director Bruce McDonald delivers a minimalist film that still manages to achieve both scientific and political satire. Ultimately more questions are raised than answered but you never feel that writer Tony Burgess is copping out. This is a movie about ideas and it is therefore logical that the production is intended to not only entertain you but make you think. The central theme of the movie about the power of words and how they become the literal medium for a virus is indeed thought provoking.
Pontypool is a rare find; a cerebral horror movie and as such it will not necessarily appeal to mainstream viewers looking for a quick fix of shocks and thrills. However the horror genre is far broader in scope than many consider and Pontypool proves that it can be a medium for more intelligent stories. It certainly puts many contemporary horror movie offerings such as the Paranormal Activity franchise in the shade. Therefore Pontypool is recommend to open minded movie fans seeking a more challenging ninety minutes.