PONTYPOOL is unique as its title. One of the most effective horror films I have seen in years, it is also confounding and heady at the same time. But it is always captivating and compelling with outstanding performances from the main cast. 

Grant Mazzy (Stephen McHattie) is a shock jock radio personality and due to his prickly demeanor and self-absorbed philosophies, he’s been kicked out of most major markets and has ended up in a small radio station located in the basement of a church in Pontypool, Ontario. 

Working with his producer Sydney (Lisa Houle) and radio engineer Laurel Ann (Georgina Reilly), Valentine’s Day starts out to be uneventful, when things take a turn that might lead to the end of the world. 

With shades of David Cronenberg and David Lynch, it plays out like TALK RADIO meets NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD. 

For a film that is carried mostly by its three leads and (other than the opening sequence) never leaves the confines of the church, it never gets boring or tedious. All the information that is garnered about the events taking place outside their walls comes solely from the callers describing the horrors they are witnessing. The reports are so vivid that it’s hard to believe that you are not witnessing them onscreen. 

Directed by Bruce McDonald, the camerawork is fluid and inventive and the sound design is exceptional. Everything about this movie screams top-notch even though it’s obviously made on a shoestring budget. 

The only puzzling aspect of PONTYPOOL is the very esoteric resolution to the story. I won’t spoil it nor allude to it but it is unlike any other film of its ilk where the mystery has a philosophical angle that even after a second viewing is still a tad impenetrable. Don’t get me started on the very bizarre scene at the end of the credits that I still can’t rectify in my head. 

But it doesn’t matter. PONTYPOOL is worth checking out and I look forward to some thoughts and comments when you’ve had the chance to view it. This is a diamond in the rough and I applaud its boldness.

JANUARY 31, 2014


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