31 Days Of Thrilling Horror: Pontypool

It’s cold and miserable outside. Winter is here so it’s a good time to spotlight a creepy Canadian horror movie. .

Bruce MacDonald (Highway 61, Hard Core Logo) directs Pontypool – a low budget 2008 movie that is a quiet, eerie horror movie. The film is set in the small Ontario town of Pontypool. Stephen McHattie (the original Nite Owl in Watchmen) is a radio announcer. The radio station he works in is located in the basement of a church.

It’s Valentine’s Day and McHattie is working with only his producer and his technician in the station. A winter storm is about to hit the town and their field reporter has suddenly reported that riots and murders are occurring in the town. It appears that the citizens are acting like zombies but they aren’t the flesh eating undead. MacDonald has made it clear in interviews that these aren’t zombies, what they are gives away a major plot point that I won’t reveal here.

The movie is based on Tony Burgess’ novel Pontypool Changes Everything. The film is set entirely in the radio station – creating a claustrophobic atmosphere. There isn’t a lot of action but that works in the movie’s favour as the tension slowly builds as the characters discover what’s going on outside in the town through phone calls and reports that come in. Of course it’s only a matter of time before what’s happening outside starts to effect the small group inside.

Author: Shane Hnetka

Shane Hnetka spends most of his life watching movies and reading comic books, using his vast knowledge of genre culture for evil instead of good.

3 thoughts on “31 Days Of Thrilling Horror: Pontypool”

  1. As an adoring fan of the entire Queer As Folk series, Bruce MacDonald lives in a very special place in my heart. So with the combination of that need-to-know-tidbit (clearly) and my love of horror movies, I will definitely be watching this. Added bonus: it’s Canadian!

    All of the recommendations thus far have been fantastic. This countdown (of sorts…count-onwards might be a better (invented?) descriptor…) is awesome. Thanks :).

  2. I’m a big Stephen McHattie fan. First thing I remember seeing him in was Life With Billy, a Canadian made-for-TV-movie. It’s a horror show of a different sort and I kind of hated it. But McHattie’s performance was riveting. It’s a pity he isn’t more well known.

  3. After a quick Wikipedia investigation, it seems like McHattie makes some interesting and somewhat thematic decisions as to the roles he takes. Intentional or coincidence, I guess I don’t really know, however it’s intriguing regardless. I dig it.

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