Pontipoolificating on Canadian Zombie Thriller…
April 24, 2009, Sem Caj, ZAG Cultural Monitoring Committee Chair
Respectful TX of Zombies earns Canadian Director Bruce MacDonald 4/5 Shattered Skulls
& Zombie Actors Guild Assurances his Flesh remains Safe for One More Film
While not entirely devoid of dangerous vitalistic human jingoism and hurtful Zombie stereotypes, we are nonetheless pleased to report that PONTYPOOL, the latest Zombie thriller by Canadian human & indie Director Bruce MacDonald passes the Zombie Actors Guild CMC assessment with 4 out of 5 shattered skulls for its respectful portrayal of zombies both on-screen and off.
Historically a hotbed, or should I say “coldbed” of Zombie-sploitation both on screen and off, Canada may be emerging as one of the more Zombie-friendly global workshops, if PONTYPOOL is any indication. While PONTYPOOL is not above trading on artfully splattered precious Zombie flesh and blood, it also provides several of the most memorable and challenging roles for Zombie actors since Omega Man in 1971.
Starting with the hero, DJ Grant Mazzy, around whose morning radio show Mazzy in the Morning the action of this esoteric zombie outbreak revolves. Grant Mazzy may be the most complex, literate Zombie Patient Zeros to grace the big screen. No moany, flesh-starved shambler, Mazzy, despite his modest protestations, waxes eloquent in both official languages, intoning his spellbinding rhetoric in a rich baritone voice both over the airwaves and off:
“How do you stop understanding something?”
“Do you really want to provide a genocide with elevator music?”
Not Mazzy. In fact it is Mazzy who abandons his weather reports and bus service updates to solve the conundrum of this curious Zombie outbreak with an innovative linguistic solution;
“You have to kill the word that’s killing you.”
“Kill all the killing!”
His plan involves a simple but ingenious orthographic substitution:
“KILL is KISS. KILL is KISS. KILL is KISS…”
Ah but will it work Grant? Will it work? No spoiler this review will never tell but suffice to say the outcome demonstrates an exceptional degree of respect and sensitivity toward both the Zombie character and the Zombie actor behind the scenes.
Further, Grant Mazzy is not just another token gesture of respect toward the Zombie community, as you might expect from any filmmaker with a lifelong attachment to his brains. After Mazzy you might expect MacDonald to mow through a mountain of Zombie stunt extras in a blatant appeal to the ugliest human vitalism in the audience. Well not in PONTPOOL. Here even supporting Zombies receive quasi-respectful treatment.
“You be the killer. I don’t want to be the killer,” Love interest and show producer Sydney Brian pleads with Mazzy who in turn insists that he will not be the killer either.
With the main couple finally agreeing to not kill and just kill “KILL” with a kiss instead, the on-screen Zombies must eliminate themselves, with their own suicidal tendencies, dispatching themselves on their own, with their own individual elan. For example, suicidal Zombie Production Assistant Laurel Anne Drummond’s bloody self-destruction is merely a vivid externalization of her post-tramautic stress from serving in Afghanistan while Dr Mendez’s heroic self-sacrifice on behalf of the Mazzy and Sydney gains them precious time for love. Oh well they do appear to kick the snot out of that little Zombie girl in a burqua…
Okay so while not exactly a Zombie’s Zombie movie? With these heroic Zombie roles, PONTYPOOL does succeed in elevating the Zombie movie to a comfortable place where the Zombie Actors’ Guild can and should endorse it. And with no outstanding labour complaints against it, the CMC can find no current reason to issue a Zombie fatwa on Bruce MacDonald or the rest of the Pontypool production team at this time. That said, we appreciate any feedback from the membership about this ruling. We will update the status of PONTYPOOL as these reports come in.
In the meantime, please enjoy the film and refrain from chowing down on director Bruce MacDonald. For now.
For your enjoyment the trailer is embedded below even though it unfortunately excludes showing any of our ZAG brethen.