Contagion

Pontypool is a psychological horror thriller in which a deadly virus has spread in a small town by means of the English language as the vector. When the infected words are understood, the virus infects the host. The witty film has an interesting take on a probable cause of a zombie apocalypse since considering language as a means of infection is unique and symbolical. In addition, there was a metaphorical use of language, how it can be contaminated, infectious and destructive. For me, the film reflects how messages are passed. It can make sense or be misunderstood.

The setting is typical for a horror plot since the story took place in a small town, Pontypool, during a blizzard that caused bus cancellation. There were reports of violence, mobbing, strange speech patterns and cannibalism ─ that of resembling a zombie outbreak. Mazzy, a radio jock, encountered a mumbling woman banging at his car window on his way to work. As the day goes on, they discovered that it is connected to a seemingly violent and destructive mobbing. There was a sense of entrapment since the characters were stuck in the radio station. They cannot go outside because of a terrible snowstorm and the zombies. The setting is very claustrophobic because the radio crew is trapped in the building without knowing any outside information. 

There is a minimal depiction of gore in the movie. The carnage only happened when the infected Laurel-Ann was repeatedly slamming on the sound booth’s window, which splattered blood all over. She also got electrocuted. The scene where she threw up was really disgusting.  

The movie is not really graphic because phone dispatch calls are the only source of the “image” of the monstrosity, chaos, and carnage happening outside the building. As a viewer, not seeing the cause of the threat is really frustrating. Although not visual, the film was able to evoke feelings of fear and suspense through audios that let the viewer’s imaginations go wild to visualize the gore and violence. This mystery, like reading a book, actually adds to the scariness of this movie because the viewer has to imagine the chaos and carnage, like how the zombies were eating people. The particular audio where the person with a baby voice was quite creepy. Despite lack of visual carnage, the audios were quite effective since the viewer gets more curious of what is actually happening.

Although having a witty storyline, much of the film is quite ridiculous for me since it is very bland and boring. It is annoying how “Kill is kiss” and “Sydney Briar is alive” still keeps on repeating in my head. The audio snippets in and the short video in credits did not make sense to me. In summary, Pontypool is not the kind of movie I would watch again. 

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