Despite feeling lost throughout the film, I enjoyed the thrill of not knowing and not understanding what was happening. It was unpredictable and was able to toy with the minds of its viewers with such an odd plot and its use of having only one setting all throughout. It starts off being another regular day at the radio station, with Grant attempting to play around and creating something exciting for the viewers to listen to. Sydney, however, seems to always have a worried look on her face as she tries to control Grant’s childishness. We then see what Creed describes as the simplest way to scare human beings, which is the sudden unwanted change in an understood routine.
During the phone call with Ken talking about a riot at a doctor’s office, the suspense begins for Pontypool. The suspense is interrupted when an Arabian family arrives to sing a useless song that angers Grant especially during a finally-exciting story, which then shifts to one of the Arabian kid’s saying out of nowhere: “I can’t remember how it ends.” Then starts chanting Pra pra pra..
When Steve is finally on the line, it doesn’t seem to work out once again. The music gets more and more intense as they get more phone calls of panic. To be trapped inside a station without knowing what’s happening outside is what suddenly becomes the basis of horror in this film. Hearing crazy stories about people chanting and gathering together makes things confusing for the people in the station. Once they are told about a series of strange riots that no one can explain, Ken gets back on air and is terrified out of his mind. As they all listen to what Ken’s describing, there is nothing safe that seems to be happening in Pontypool. We see here how disorder of whatever is supposed to be natural can stir up huge chaos between even good friends. Without understanding what’s going on outside their station, the viewers and the characters feel so blind and helpless, which makes everyone feel uneasy. “I need to be confirmed” is what Grant shouts. The series of events still have no explanation except become a subject of exciting news to go on air with.
Suddenly Laurel starts acting oddly, and just in time, Dr. Mendez arrives and tells Grant and Sydney to stay in the sound booth. With Ken also losing himself, the three are now trapped inside with no contact with the outside. The film plays on this danger of not knowing because it can make us lose our sanity. Without being able to talk, the three are caught in a corner with their marker and notebook to communicate, as a parade of mindless zombies surround the sound booth. Even as they finally figure out how to cure this language virus, the American forces outside who do not understand what’s going on result to the easiest way to put a stop to the problem which is, to eliminate all factors.
“When do you call 911?” Is a good line that makes one wonder just how dangerous a situation must be in order for it to be valid enough for the police to step in and save the day. In the present world, we are always within reach of devices that can help us stay in contact with everyone. The moment this access is cut, we find ourselves feeling panic because for some reason, having this connection is what affirms your being alive. People want to know everything. We want to know how bad a situation is so that we know just how scared to be or if we’re just going to continue on with our day. Even with this film, I can honestly say that I still don’t understand the cause of what transpired outside the station and just how scary it was to be outside the station, which doesn’t give me the peace of mind, which I think makes it a very original horror plot.