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Pontypool (2009)




Pontypool review!Reviewed by Uncle Creepy

Starring Stephen McHattie, Lisa Houle, Hrant Alianak, Georgina Reilly

Directed by Bruce McDonald

Zombies come in all shapes and sizes from fresh out of the ground to via viral infection. Just when you think that you’ve seen it all, along comes a filmmaker with a movie that offers fans something new in an at times stale sub-genre. Bruce McDonald’s Pontypool is an unforgettable effort. One that will have you clutching your seat one second and gasping in horror the next.

We meet radio personality Grant Mazzy (an incredible McHattie, who turns in nothing short of a tour-de-force performance) on the way to his new gig as the morning show host of a radio station in Pontypool, Ontario, Canada. It’s too damned early, too damned cold, and Grant is appropriately pissed off about having to take a job that he feels is way below him. Still, you’ve got to pay the bills, right? Besides, how challenging of a task could it be hosting a no-brainer of a radio show for a really small town? What could go wrong? Unfortunately, too many things.

Pontypool review!Things begin on an uneventful note. There’s a kid oriented musical act coming in to perform, the news helicopter (read: a guy in a car with sound F/X playing in the background) is doing its thing, and the biggest news story of the day is the cold weather. Then out of nowhere something extraordinary begins to happen. While delivering the daily forecast from the chopper, the weather guy notices that crowds of rowdy people are gathering at the local clinic. Before you know it, a full scale riot erupts. Walls are torn down, people are getting trampled, and even worse innocent victims are being … eaten. This all unfolds via satellite and is being broadcast to the station’s listeners live as it happens. In an instant simplicity quickly transforms into chaos, and neither Mazzy, his audience, nor the world as we know it will ever be the same.

But what is happening? Why are these people going crazy? Could it be some form of chemical exposure, or maybe even the outbreak of a new and deadly flu bug? Nope. Not that simple. As the film unfolds, it becomes apparent that certain words in the English language have become infected, thereby causing the people who hear or say them to transform into murderous cannibals. Imagine what impact infected speech can have on a morning talk show host. In short … what a brilliantly original idea.

Pontypool review!What’s amazing about Pontypool is that the action never leaves the confines of the radio station; yet, the severity and intensity of the situation are amped up to near incomprehensible levels. The action in this film unfolds through news reports and, more importantly, through the viewer’s imagination. Believe me when I tell you that hearing the carnage can be just as scary and emotionally effective as seeing it with your very eyes. Director Bruce McDonald has expertly crafted what is perhaps one of the most intensely frightening films I’ve seen in quite some time.

For those wondering … yes, the terror isn’t just audible. Eventually these “things” reach Mazzy and company’s doorstep and lay siege to the station. The only area in which things get a little derailed is the ending. In theory I know what was supposed to be happening, but things became a little murky and convoluted, and as a result the constant state of terror and fascination that Pontypool has held you in begins to loosen its otherwise vice-like grip. That’s far from a deal breaker though. This flick is one hell of a ride that rarely lets you catch your breath.

Riddled with nail-biting tension and scenes that are quite simply scary as hell, Pontypool as of now is on my best of list for 2009. If you happen to catch it at a festival, make sure you stay until after the credits for a mind-bending little treat! Do whatcha gotta do. Catch the sickness if you can! Pontypool delivers the chills.


4 out of 5

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American Psycho Meets Creep – Strawberry Flavored Plastic Review



Starring Aidan Bristow, Nicholas Urda, Andres Montejo

Directed by Colin Bemis

Recently I wrote up an article here on Dread Central which was basically an open letter to anyone who was listening called “I Miss Found Footage.” Well, it seems like someone WAS listening, as I was then sent the link to an all-new found footage film called Strawberry Flavored Plastic from first-time writer-director Colin Bemis.

The film follows the “still-at-large crimes of Noel, a repentant, classy and charming serial killer loose in the suburbs of New York.” Basically, you could think of the flick as American Psycho meets Mark Duplass and Partick Brice’s Creep. That, or you could think of it as “Man Bites Dog in color!” However you choose to label Colin Bemis’ psychological thriller, just make sure you check out the film once it hits in the future.

As I alluded to above, the film is basically a found footage version of American Psycho. But that said, the film sports a twist on the charming serial killer subgenre that I have yet to see play out in any of the above-mentioned classics. I’m not going to go into spoiler territory here, but I will say that the film introduces an element to the tale that spins it into much more of a character drama than a straight horror film. Not that there is anything wrong with that!

Truth be told, the film’s turn from serial killer flick into a layered character study might have been its kiss of death, but this slight genre switch is rendered a minor issue as the film’s central narcissistic antagonist is played by Aidan Bristow. Bristow is an actor you may not have heard of before this review, but you will hear his name more and more over the years to come, I promise. The guy gives (no pun intended) a killer performance as the film’s resident serial killer Noel Rose, and time after time surprised me with how chilling, charming, or downright vulnerable he chose to play any given scene.

Bristow’s performance is, in the end, the major element the film has going for it. But that said, as a fan of found footage, I was smiling ear to ear at first-time director Colin Bemis’ understanding of what makes a found footage suspense sequence work.

In Strawberry Flavored Plastic director Colin Bemis is confident and content to allow full emotional scenes to play out with the camera directed at nothing more than a character’s knees. Why is this so important? Because it keeps the reality of the film going. Too many found footage directors would focus on the actors’ faces during such emotional scenes – no matter how contrived the camera angle was. In this film, however, Bemis favors the reality that says, “If you were really in this emotional state and holding a camera, you would let it drop to your side.” I agree, and it is small touches like that which make the film feel authentic and thus – once the shite hits the fan – all the scarier.

On the dull side of the kitchen knife, the film does feel a bit long even given it’s short running time, and there doesn’t seem too much in the way of visceral horror to be found within. Again, graphic blood and gore aren’t a must in a fright flick, but a tad more of the old ultra-violence would have gone a long way in selling our main psychopath’s insanity and unpredictability. But all the same, the film does feature a rather shocking sequence where our main baddie performs a brutal home invasion/murder that puts this film firmly in the realm of horror. In fact, the particular POV home invasion scene I’m talking about holds about as much horror as you’ll ever wish to witness.

In the end, Colin Bemis’ Strawberry Flavored Plastic is a must-see for fans of found footage and serial killer studies such as American Pyscho, Creep, and Man Bites Dog. I recommend giving it a watch once it premieres. If only to be able to point to Aidan Bristow in the near future and tell all your friends that you watched (one of) his first movies.

Until then, check out the film’s trailer HERE, and follow the movie on Facebook.

  • Strawberry Flavored Plastic


Lead actor Aidan Bristow turns in a star-making performance in Colin Bemis’ Strawberry Flavored Plastic, a found footage film that plays out like Man Bites Dog in Color before introducing a new element to the charming-serial-killer subgenre and becoming more character study than a straight horror. Think American Psycho meets Creep.

User Rating 3 (1 vote)
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Who Goes There Podcast: Ep 148 – Inside (2017 Remake)



We’ve all heard the old saying, “in this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes.” Well, I’m here to tell you that’s only partially true. It seems there is a third certainty that had been omitted from the original quote, “It is certain, if you enjoy a movie, at some point someone will remake that movie.” Now is the time when one of my favorite movies gets reimagined, “for an American audience”.

In the late 2000’s an explosion of “French extreme” horror films was released. Martyrs and or High Tension can often be found on any number of lists of the “most fucked up horror movies ever”. Unfortunately, the vastly superior Inside is often forgotten (as well as Frontier(s), but that’s a whole ‘nother rant). Now, ten years after it’s initial release, Inside has been Americanized. Don’t worry, we watched it so you don’t have to. You’re welcome.

Mommy says you’re not dead. Is that true? It’s the Who Goes There Podcast episode 148!

If you like what you hear, please consider joining our Patreon subscribers. For less than the cost of a beer, you get bonus content, exclusive merchandise, special giveaways, and you get to help us continue doing what we love.

The Who Goes There Podcast is available to subscribe to on iTunes right here. Not an iTunes user? You can listen on our Dread Central page. Can’t get enough? We also do that social media shit. You’ll find us on FacebookTwitterInstagramTwitch, and YouTube.

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Totem Review – It’s Not Always A Bad Thing To Look Up From The Bottom Level, If You Like That View



Starring Kerris Dorsey, James Tupper, Ahna O’Reilly

Directed by Marcel Sarmiento

Following the untimely death of a family’s matriarchal figure, a young woman finds out that managing to hold all of the pieces in place becomes increasingly more difficult when otherworldly infiltrators make their presence felt. We’re going to have to work our way up this Totem, as

17 year old Kellie is the leading lady of the home following the passing of her mother Lexy, and with a needy father and tiny tot of a baby sister, she still keeps things in working order, regardless of the rather large hole that’s been left in the dynamic due to the death. Kellie’s dad after a while decides to ask his lady-friend to move in with the family, so that everyone can move onto a more peaceful existence…yeah, because those types of instances always seem to work seamlessly. As fate would have it, Kellie’s sense of pride is now taking a beating with the new woman in the mix, and her little sister’s new “visitor” is even more disturbed by this intruder – only question is, exactly who is this supernatural pal of sorts? Is it the spirit of their dead mother standing by to keep watch over the family, or is it something that’s found its way to this group, and has much more evil intentions at hand?

What works here is the context of something innately malicious that has found its way into the home – there are only a couple moments that come off as unsettling, but the notion of having to weave through more than half the film acting as a sullen-teen drama is rather painful. The presentation of the “broken family” is one that’s been done to death, and with better results overall, and that’s not to say that the movie is a complete loss, it just takes far too much weeding through at times stale performances and even more stagnant pacing to get to a moderately decent late-stage conclusion to the film. Under the direction of Marcel Sarmiento (Deadgirl), I’d truly hoped for something a bit more along the lines of a disturbing project such as that one, but the only thing disturbing was the time I’d invested in checking this one out. My best advice is to tune into the Lifetime channel if you want a sulky teen-melodrama with a tinge of horror, or you could simply jump into this one and work your way up…but it’s a LONG way to the top.

  • Film


Sulky, moody, and ridden with teen-angst buried in the middle of a supernatural mystery – SOUNDS like a decent premise, doesn’t it?

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