The sad fact of this film is that, as much as I will refrain from giving away any big plot details, I fear that you will learn far too much from any other sources you are going to seek out. Well, such as it is, I am sorry, as this is a film better left explored on your own. Sort of the less you know the better thing here. But also, out of context, the film’s story isn’t nearly as powerful.
Pontypool is set in a small town in Ontario where a once mighty shock DJ has been exiled by being too abrasive in the industry. That, and he has a little problem with drinking. Small town AM radio is far from what he would have wanted for his life but he is determined to make the best of it, which means, unfortunately, toning down his attitude. While he is working the morning shift things in the small town begin to go wrong and quickly spiral out of control and all he and the two people he is working with can do is to report on what is happening to the best of their ability in the hopes it may help the people who may still be listening. But as things get worse outside, the people begin to wonder, are they helping, or only making things worse?
The film is a very engaging, very creepy thriller that is presented in many ways as a radio drama of the early radio days. You see far less than you hear about, so the things that are happening become far more products of your imagination. The horrors of the film are real, but they are subdued and not as obvious and in your face as so many movies are. The acting is good and very effective, and the story is good as well. The trouble comes in at the end, where things get dicey. The story, which is so big, has an explanation that many will find (and have found) a bit far fetched. If you can get into the film up to that point, the answers you find will make enough sense to enjoy things all the way through. The big issue that I and many have had with the film is that there is a scene after the movie that appears to be in no way connected to what you just watched, nor to anything else but which stands alone, and apart like a sore thumb. There is talk of more films to come so perhaps this is a hint of what lies ahead but, in all honesty, it almost undoes the whole of the film that came before it, and that’s a shame.
Pontypool is thoroughly enjoyable and is worth a watch as there are few films that are more about suspense than outright scares but you have to go in with an open mind because the answers, while there, are not always easy to swallow.
6 out of 10