Synopsis: Shock jock Grant Mazzy has, once again, been kicked-off the Big City airwaves and now the only job he can get is the early morning show at CLSY Radio in Pontypool Ontario, which broadcasts from the basement of the small town’s only church. What begins as another boring day of school bus cancellations, due to yet another massive snow storm, quickly turns deadly when reports start piling in of people developing strange speech patterns and evoking horrendous acts of violence start piling in. But there’s nothing coming in on the news wires. Is this really happening? Before long, Grant and the small staff at CLSY find themselves trapped in the radio station as they discover that this insane behaviour taking over the town is actually a deadly virus being spread through the English language itself. Do they stay on the air in the hopes of being rescued or, are they in fact providing the virus with its ultimate leap over the airwaves and into the world? [Synopsis courtesy of film's official website]
Round-up: The New York Times' Stephen Holden calls “Pontypool” "a small Canadian horror film that makes the most of its minuscule budget," echoing many crticics' sentiments that this a nice effort given the means ... it was produced with but an ultimately slight and slightly overambitious shocker. The problem according to Holden is that "'Pontypool' barely develops a premise that has all kinds of implications about the mass media (talk radio in particular) and the degradation of language in a culture overrun with hyperbole, jargon, disinformation and contrived drama." "Pontypool" "doesn’t jell—its pretensions way exceed its reach," notes New York Magazine's David Edelstein, "yet it’s madly suggestive, and it rekindled my affection for the genre." A bit harsher in her assessment of the film is the Village Voice's Melissa Anderson who writes that "For a film about the perils of too much talk, there's quite a lot of babbling presented as profundity. The political statements in 'Pontypool,' much like those in another recent Canadian offering, Atom Egoyan's trite terrorism hand-wringer 'Adoration,' seem all the less provocative for appearing several years too late—McDonald's film might have had more punch if it were released when Bluetooth first rolled out." However, Entertainment Weekly's Lisa Schwarzbaum, for one, appreciates the movie's intellectual heft calling it a "witty, economically gory little tour de force" that plays like "'28 Days Later' written by linguist Noam Chomsky."