Shut up or die!

Words are merely representations of actual concepts, yet they carry the same power as the actual object itself. They are stored in our minds and we unconsciously retrieve them during our conversations with fellow humans. While nowadays we take communicating with each other for granted, the mechanics of it are still a remarkable marvel. The movie Pontypool makes use of this quick recall and comprehension cycle and turned it into an act of infection that spreads a zombie-like virus.  When I watched Pontypool, I had no idea that it was going to beat out REC as the best film I have watched in class because it started in a dull, unassuming manner. Grant was just driving to work when an unknown woman knocks on his car window. When he asked what she wanted, she merely walked away and repeated their short dialogue. I get the chills when common actions are committed at random. Repeating what someone said to you nonstop is really freaky no matter how you see it.

            The next few scenes were quite boring. It featured Grant arguing with Sydney, the station manager about how he was leading the radio show. Grant’s method of reporting which was direct and confrontational angered Sydney because Grant was asking for trouble by badmouthing people and over reporting news articles to attract listeners. We can see here that Grant’s role was the typical domineering man whose take on hosting a radio show was to use charms and insults to gain listeners. He really did not like the fact he was still working under, of all people, a woman who wanted him to host the show in a coolheaded and guarded manner. Sydney plays the weak, female foil to Grant’s brashness and served as the mediator between Grant and the public. She was the one who made compromises and settles for something when she and Grant argued. She constantly butts heads with Grant throughout the film and the introduction of the virus did not help. I think the naturally gabby Grant could not hold his tongue even if it could cost him his sanity. He was torn between telling the world about the virus and trying to survive. It is notable that the whole film takes place inside the radio station and we only get to hear news from the outside world through calls from Ken, another member of their staff and snippets from some French forces. I realized that the movie itself relied on our comprehension skills in order for it to make sense. What a way to connect with the audience! When Grant finally figured out that the cure for the virus was simply repeating something that did not make sense, he braved the warnings and announced it over the radio. The ending was a little open ended. Again we only get to hear snippets of news broadcasts and mutterings here and there about what happened after the scene cuts to black. Our professor wanted us to watch a short ending scene. It showed Grant and Sydney and they were now in some undisclosed location and were wearing distinct clothes. My take on this is that since you cannot speak of something as they are because the virus uses comprehension to infect people, Grant and Sydney had to create a new world where the virus cannot take hold because nothing they said made any sense. This world slowly comes into reality as the scene became colorized. This movie introduces a new concept into a zombie genre but is a risky move because there were no action scenes to accompany it. I think this film is divides the critics into both sides of the spectrum but fortunately, I liked it! 


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