Another thing that helps the low budget is that the vast majority of the film is set in a radio station. Grant Mazzy (Stephen McHattie) is a DJ for a local radio station in Pontypool. On his way to work Grant stops to make a phone call and is startled by a woman banging on his window. When he winds down the window she is repeating the same words over and over. Mmm, intriguing. At the station he is joined by his producer Sydney Briar (Lisa Houle) and technician Laurel-Ann Drummond (Georgina Reilly). Then they begin to receive some strange news reports... Some other characters make an appearance but costs are kept low through the use of a small cast.
The zombies aren't really zombies in an animated dead kind of shambling about way. In fact, they're more... get ready for the dirty word... 'infected' than anything else. At least they don't actually look like zombies, they look more like confused people. In the context of the story this fits perfectly. And again, keeps the cost down.
Apart from one moment of excessive bloodiness, the rest is kept offscreen. There is a fairly brutal kicking but you soon realise that you actually saw nothing and it was all done with sound effects. Was the budget low or was the director just tight?
I'm not painting that great a picture of Pontypool. But what the film-makers have done is look at what they've got access to, what they can afford and what they can do well. The script is great with a pearler of a line about a paedophile. The writer brilliantly painted images into my head as the characters heard from their weather reporter out in the field, Ken Loney. Better than actually seeing it visually.
It is really well shot. The initial shots of Grant Mazzy on air are accompanied by tracking shots of all three main characters, creating an intimate radio-like atmosphere. Off-air the camera switches to being more static, but depth of field is still used beautifully.
The main characters are all well-realised and believably acted. The top piece of casting has to be Stephen McHattie. If he hasn't got a radio show of his own he should be given one. Even a radiophobe like me might listen to it. Well, no, I wouldn't, but you get the idea.
Don't go into this expected your usual zombie fare or you may be disappointed. This is far more restrained and - what's the opposite of 'In-your-face'? 'Out-your-face'? - whatever, it's that. (In a similar vein the opposite of 'Off-your face' must be 'On-your-face'. For example, 'When I got to work this morning Terry was completely on-his-face.') Enough of this malarkey, give it a watch. You may be pleasantly surprised.
(Average rating for the season so far = 7.5)
If you like this you could also try:
Shooting the Past, The Fog.