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film criticism by maryann johanson | since 1997

Pontypool (review)

Ah, more such classy horror flicks, please! Riffing on Orson Welles’ radio-show hoaxing with his War of the Worlds, Canadian filmmaker Bruce McDonald (The Tracey Fragments) gives us a zombie flick set almost entirely within the confines of a rural Ontario radio station, over the course of a single morning during which all hell breaks loose outside. Calls from listeners and reports from the traffic guy in the helicopter bring news of strange doings in town; later, the BBC phones in seeking on-the-ground details from morning jock Grant Mazzy (Stephen McHattie: Watchmen), the big-city guy exiled to the middle of nowhere who’d been hoping to shake things up, and who now finds himself anchoring the end of the world, maybe, without even being able to see what’s going on beyond his sound booth… What constitutes this clever iteration of zombie virus and how it spreads is a sly satire on shock radio, on gossip, on The News itself. Gore fans hoping for buckets of blood will be disappointed; thoughtful horror fans who appreciate that a truly scary movie is mostly in your head will love it. (available on IFC on Demand)

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MPAA: not rated

viewed at home on a small screen

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