Pontypool (2008)

Pontypool 2008tt1226681.jpg poster

  • IMDb page: Pontypool (2008)
  • Rate: 6.7/10 total 8,978 votes 
  • Genre: Horror | Mystery | Sci-Fi
  • Release Date: 18 September 2009 (Turkey)
  • Runtime: 93 min | Canada:95 min (Toronto International Film Festival)
  • Filming Location: Toronto, Ontario, Canada
  • Budget: $1,500,000(estimated)
  • Gross: $3,478(USA)(7 June 2009)
  • Director: Bruce McDonald
  • Stars: Stephen McHattie, Lisa Houle and Georgina Reilly
  • Original Music By: Claude Foisy   
  • Plot Keyword: Virus | Writing | Subtitled Scene | Cowboy Hat | Fake Gun

Writing Credits By:

  • Tony Burgess (novel)
  • Tony Burgess  written by

Known Trivia

  • One scene features Neal Stephenson’s novel ‘Snow Crash’, a book featuring an ear worm or memetic virus that transfers itself through verbal information.
  • The wavering line seen at the beginning was synchronized to the sound of actor Stephen McHattie’s voice.
  • “When I had just finished my first book, The Hellmouths of Bewdley my publisher sent me out to get an author photo for the cover. My wife and I drove out to Bewldey thinking a picture of me standing on a dock on Rice Lake would be perfect…turned out the sun went down and we ended up pulling over to the side of the road and taking a pic in some town along the way. That was Pontypool. I had some pressure on me at the time to write a second book so I said, “I owe Pontypool a book.” –Tony Burgess (It didn’t hurt that the word “typo” is within the name, either.)
  • The original conceptualization for the movie was to have Burgess read the script with the wavering line being the only visual. Sydney’s voice would be heard and Laurel Ann would only get a mention.
  • Writer Tony Burgess and director Bruce McDonald are intending to include more exposition for two planned sequels.
  • The second and third films in the series were actually conceived before the first one.
  • Writer Tony Burgess and director Bruce McDonald feel that the events of the film are truer to the actual unpredictable nature of a virus (i.e. why person A would contract the virus and why person B would not).
  • Actress Georgina Reilly had a problem with her character’s having to “babble” and was concerned about what the words would mean to her character.
  • Tony Burgess, the film’s writer and the author of the novel on which the film is based – “Pontypool Changes Everything” – makes a brief cameo in the film as the male singer of Lawrence and the Arabians. His character is credited as “Tony (Lawrence)”. (In fact, at the end of the scene where the singers have performed for the bemused Grant Mazzy, Mazzy himself actually refers to Burgess’ character as “Tony Burgess.”)
  • “Pontypool” was produced as both a motion picture, and as a radio play. Both versions of “Pontypool” were influenced by Orson Welles’ infamous radio production of “The War of the Worlds.” The radio play was broadcast on the BBC’s Art & Culture section of their World Service website. It is approximately 58 minutes long, as opposed to the film’s running time of 95 minutes.

Goofs: Revealing mistakes: The "live" video of the BBC's Nigel Healing playing on the computer has a moving progress indicator underneath, indicating that it's pre-recorded video being played and not a live feed.

Plot: A psychological thriller in which a deadly virus infects a small Ontario town.  »

Story: A psychological thriller in which a deadly virus infects a small Ontario town.


Synopsis: The film is set in a radio station in Pontypool, a small village in Ontario, Canada, where one day the morning team starts taking reports of extreme, bloody incidents of violence occurring in town. As the story unfolds, the radio staff soon realizes the violence that is ripping society apart is due to a virus being spread through the English language.That in turn poses a problem for a yappy radio jock and his staff holed up in the broadcast booth housed in the basement of the town’s abandoned church as a slaughter rages beyond its walls. -Horror_Fan01

Pontypool was adapted from the novel Pontypool Changes Everything by Tony Burgess, who also wrote the screenplay. The story is about "Shock jock" Grant Mazzy who has, once again, been kicked-off the Big City airwaves and now works at the only job he could get hosting the early morning show at CLSY Radio in Pontypool Ontario, which broadcasts from the basement of the small town’s only church. What begins as another boring day of school bus cancellations due to yet another massive snow storm, things quickly turn deadly when reports of people having bizarre seizures, developing strange speech patterns and evoking horrendous acts of violence start piling in. Before long, Grant and the small staff at CLSY find themselves trapped in the radio station as they discover that this insane behavior taking over the town is actually a deadly virus being spread through the English language itself. Do they stay on the air in the hopes of being rescued or, are they in fact providing the virus with its ultimate leap over the airwaves and into the world? [D-Man2010]

{tab=FullCast & Crew}

Produced By:

  • Jeffrey Coghlan known as producer
  • Henry Cole known as executive producer
  • J. Miles Dale known as executive producer
  • Jasper Graham known as executive producer
  • Billie Mintz known as associate producer
  • John Nadalin known as line producer
  • Michale Raske known as associate producer
  • Ambrose Roche known as producer
  • Isabella Smejda known as executive producer
  • Nick Sorbara known as associate producer

FullCast & Crew:

  • Stephen McHattie known as Grant Mazzy
  • Lisa Houle known as Sydney Briar
  • Georgina Reilly known as Laurel-Ann Drummond
  • Hrant Alianak known as Dr. Mendez
  • Rick Roberts known as Ken Loney (voice)
  • Daniel Fathers known as Nigel Healing (voice)
  • Beatriz Yuste known as Nancy Freethy
  • Tony Burgess known as Tony / Lawrence
  • Boyd Banks known as Jay / Osama
  • Hannah Fleming known as Maureen / Faraj
  • Rachel Burns known as Colin / Daud
  • Laura Nordin known as Spooky Woman
  • Louis Negin known as Conversationalist
  • Diane Gordon known as Conversationalist
  • Daniel Park known as Conversationalist
  • Yvonne Moore known as Conversationalist
  • Raffaele Carniato known as Conversationalist
  • Derek Scott known as Fish Hut Man (uncredited)

..{tab=Supporting Department}Makeup Department:

  • Indiana Allemang known as key makeup artist
  • Matthew Dewilde known as key prosthetic designer and applicator
  • Davida Gragor known as assistant hair stylist
  • Davida Gragor known as assistant makeup artist
  • Laura MacCon known as assistant makeup artist
  • Sheilagh McGrory known as prosthetic makeup assistant

Art Department:

  • Chris Gotzamanis known as graphic designer
  • Lyle Jobe known as set dresser
  • Zack Lovatt known as graphic designer
  • Kenny Meinzinger known as property master
  • Andrij Molodecky known as set dresser
  • Adrienne Trent known as property master


Production Companies:

  • Ponty Up Pictures
  • Shadow Shows

Other Companies:

  • Affiliated Equipment  grip and lighting equipment
  • Research House Clearance Services, The  clearances (as The Research House)
  • Theatre D Digital  post-production facilities
  • Trackworks Inc.  adr facility
  • Trackworks Inc.  sound editing facility


  • IFC Films (2009) (USA) (theatrical)
  • Kaleidoscope (2009) (UK) (theatrical)
  • Maple Pictures (2009) (Canada) (theatrical)
  • A Plus Films (2008) (Turkey) (all media)
  • Anchor Bay Entertainment (2010) (Australia) (DVD)
  • Arte (2011) (Germany) (TV)
  • EuroVideo (2009) (Germany) (DVD) (Blu-ray)
  • EuroVideo (2010) (Germany) (DVD)
  • Kaleidoscope Home Entertainment (2010) (UK) (DVD)
  • Kaleidoscope Home Entertainment (2010) (UK) (DVD) (Blu-ray)
  • MPI Home Video (2010) (USA) (DVD)
  • Maple Pictures (2009) (Canada) (DVD)
  • Opening Distribution (2010) (France) (DVD)
  • Paco Pictures (2011) (Italy) (DVD)
  • Phoenicia Pictures (2010) (non-USA) (all media) (Middle East)
  • SBP (2010) (Argentina) (DVD)
  • Video Film Express (2011) (Netherlands) (DVD)

..{tab=Other Stuff}

Special Effects:

  • Mr. X (visual effects)

Visual Effects by:

  • Mathieu Archambault known as digital compositor
  • Ioan Balcosi known as compositor
  • Sarah Barber known as visual effects coordinator: Mr. X Inc.
  • Zac Campbell known as digital compositor
  • Kris Carson known as digital compositor: Mr X
  • Mike Duffy known as flame artist: Mr X Inc.
  • David Fix known as senior systems administrator: Mr. X Inc
  • Mike Kwan known as digital compositor: Mr. X Inc.
  • Isabelle Langlois known as visual effects production manager
  • Mel Martin known as visual effects coordinator
  • Claire McLachlan known as digital compositor: Mr. X Inc
  • Mila Patriki known as digital intermediate colourist
  • Sebastien Proulx known as compositor
  • Paul Saint-Hilaire known as digital compositor: Nuke
  • Ben Simons known as visual effects animator
  • Aaron Weintraub known as visual effects supervisor

Release Date:

  • Canada 6 September 2008 (Toronto International Film Festival)
  • Canada 26 September 2008 (Edmonton International Film Festival)
  • Germany 6 February 2009 (European Film Market)
  • Canada 6 March 2009 (Toronto)
  • USA 14 March 2009 (South by Southwest Film Festival)
  • Turkey 4 April 2009 (Istanbul Film Festival)
  • USA 29 May 2009 (New York City, New York)
  • UK 26 June 2009 (Edinburgh Film Festival)
  • South Korea July 2009 (PiFan International Film Festival)
  • Canada 21 July 2009 (DVD premiere)
  • Portugal 5 September 2009 (MOTELx Lisbon International Horror Film Festival)
  • Sweden 18 September 2009 (Lund Fantastisk Film Festival)
  • Turkey 18 September 2009
  • Germany 19 September 2009 (Oldenburg International Film Festival)
  • Spain 2 October 2009 (Sitges International Fantastic Film Festival)
  • USA 10 October 2009 (Indie Memphis Film Festival)
  • UK 16 October 2009
  • Austria 26 October 2009 (Carinthian Fright Nights Horror-Film Festival)
  • Hungary 12 November 2009 (DVD premiere)
  • Germany 13 November 2009 (DVD premiere)
  • Austria 10 December 2009
  • USA 26 January 2010 (DVD premiere)
  • Netherlands 21 April 2010 (Imagine Film Festival) (Amsterdam Fantastic Film Festival)
  • Argentina 19 May 2010 (DVD premiere)
  • Norway 23 July 2010
  • France 5 September 2010 (L'Étrange Festival)
  • France 3 November 2010 (DVD premiere)
  • Netherlands 4 April 2011 (DVD premiere)


Filmography links and data courtesy of The Internet Movie Database

Leave a Reply