‘Shut up or die!’
In the small town of Pontypool, Ontario, former shock jock turned radio announcer Grant Mazzy drives through a blizzard on his way to work. When poor visibility forces him to stop his car, an underdressed woman appears on the road, startling him. Grant calls out to her, but she disappears into the storm, ominously repeating his words and visibly disturbing him. Grant eventually arrives at the radio station, where he works with technical assistant Laurel-Ann Drummond and station manager Sydney Briar.
As the morning proceeds, Grant’s on-air persona infuriates Sydney. They get a report from their helicopter reporter Ken Loney (revealed to be a man on a hill with sound effects) about a possible riot at the office of Doctor Mendez. He describes a scene of chaos and carnage that results in numerous deaths.
After Ken is unexpectedly cut off, the group tries to confirm his report, but their witnesses are disconnected before they can put them on the airwaves. Ken calls back and reports that he has found the “infected” son of a well-known citizen nearby, mumbling to himself. Before Ken can hear what the boy is saying, the call is again cut off, this time by a startling transmission of garbled French.
The transmission is an instruction to remain indoors, not to use terms of endearment, phrases that conflict, or the English language. Pontypool is declared to be under quarantine…
“This is an utterly baffling and stunningly boring zombie horror thriller set in Ontario in which the zombies are mostly kept fastidiously off-camera. It could be – possibly – a satire on the insidious way Anglo-Saxon culture is eroding the proud identity of French Canadians. Or something else equally ridiculous and dull.” The Guardian
“Inventive and genuinely suspenseful, this is a welcome addition to the expanding zombie/virus canon’. Kim Newman, Empire
“Pontypool eventually makes a giant satiric leap into intellectual pretension […] Pontypool barely develops a premise that has all kinds of implications about the mass media (talk radio in particular) and the degradation of language in a culture overrun with hyperbole, jargon, disinformation and contrived drama.” Live for Films