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May. 18 2010 - 12:12 pm | 15,384 views | 1 recommendation | 2 comments

The Smartest Horror Movie You Haven’t Seen

“Mrs. French’s cat is missing. The signs are posted all over town. ‘Have you seen Honey?’ We’ve all seen the posters, but nobody has seen Honey the cat.”

So begins one of the most imaginative horror thrillers I’ve seen in quite some time: ”Pontypool”, released on DVD earlier this year.  Based on the Tony Burgess novel Pontypool Changes Everything, this is a movie better seen than discussed, so I won’t indulge my urge to write a detailed review–too much would be given away.

Suffice to say, something very odd is happening in Pontypool, Ontario during one frigid, snowy morning in the dead of winter. Three people broadcasting the morning news from a little radio station in the basement of a church are in the middle of whatever is happening, though they have no idea if it’s really happening.  Grant Mazzy, a depressed and volatile newscaster (played to near perfection by the talented and underated actor, Stephen McHattie) serves as narrator of the developing story in which he is also a main character. He, the airwaves, and the words he speaks.

If you want to fully enjoy the movie, don’t read in-depth reviews or the Wikipedia entry before watching it.  Just watch it, digest it, and then follow-up with the reviews. This is the sort of movie you’ll be thinking about for a few days afterwards.  The teasing (but unrevealing) trailer is below.


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    Completely agree. Heard about this a while back and made sure to pick it up at the video store when it hit the shelves. I was blown away. Not just by the strength of the filmmaking and acting, which were amazing, but also the message. Because this notion of words losing their meaning when you repeat them too often, and the result is we become feedback loop zombies…well, it seems like what’s happening in the blogosphere right now, no? Echo chambers, noise machines, not thinking for ourselves. We essentially just all become repeaters.

    In that way, I think Pontypool is one of the most socially relevant horror films ever made.

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    I’m a freelance writer, blogger and research wonk who writes about science, technology and the cultural ripples of both. Along my winding career route I've been a public outreach specialist, editor, research analyst, proposal writer and part-time journo. When I’m not writing for True/Slant, I’m blogging about neuroscience and a medley of ‘ologies’ at Neuronarrative.com, and writing freelance for Scientific American Mind.

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