Forgotten Friday Flick – “Pontypool”

I’m keeping the mini-archiving reposting of past columns that I truly adore going and this being the month of all hallows eve horror is the genre of the day – welcome to Forgotten Friday Flick!  Grave digging all the way back to Nov. 7, 2014 was the post of a frightful film that I lovingly refer to as the thinking man’s zombie film.  It’s a Canadian import that’s such a terrific blend of horror and intelligence that one may feel the desire and need to watch it twice.  But watch what you say – the wrong word may trigger an unwanted reaction.  Welcome to….Pontypool!


Shock jock Grant Mazzie is an aging radio dinosaur that has been relegated to a small radio station in Pontypool, Ontario that broadcasts out of the basement of an old church.  He tries to spice up the mundane local stories of the day with his signature wit and sass, much to the chagrin of his producer Sydney Briar.  But on one particular morning the weary Grant finds himself flooded with calls of strange occurrences, horrendous acts of violence and people evoking strange speech patterns.  With no word over any news wire service, could this be a hoax?

There is a lot more story info you can read elsewhere about this highly creative piece of work, but I’m going with the films’ motto of ‘shut up or die’ on the any more specific details.  (Less said the better!)  Canadian filmmaker Bruce McDonald, the guy behind such amazing work as Highway 61 and Hard Core Logo, literally takes the zombie genre and re-invents it here.  (Forget bites – in this world words kill!)  With a mesh of amazing actors (lead Stephen McHattie is a revelation as the surly Grant Mazzie – the best role of his career!), a claustrophobic setting (McDonald uses a single radio station location and does it well!), and a script that elevates the genre, McDonald provides a unique and most importantly an original vision that lingers long after the flick ends – cinema of the mind with legs.  Plus with his continued thoughtfulness in the realm of good film, McDonald even manages to take on a horror outing and still make the audience think – a rare and wonderful quality indeed.

Anyone can make genre flick with a good amount of gore, goop and guts, but in proving that what lies in the mind is the scariest thing of all, master McDonald has created a film that is not only memorable, but truly an oxymoron – a five star zombie flick with brains.


I'm a passionate and opinionated film critic/movie journalist with over 20 years of experience in writing about film - now exclusively for WhySoBlu.com. Previous sites include nine years at Starpulse.com where I created Forgotten Friday Flick back in 2011, before that as Senior Entertainment Editor for The213.net and 213 Magazine, as well as a staff writer for JoBlo.com. My other love is doing cool events for the regular guy with my company Flicks For Fans alongside my friend, partner and Joblo.com writer James "Jimmy O" Oster. Check us out at www.Facebook.com/FlicksForFans.

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