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 Shut Up or Die!

A Canadian horror film from 2009, set almost entirely inside a radio studio in the town of Pontypool, Ontario. Swaggering shock jock Grant Mazzy has just been hired by the local radio station, and this particular day sees the snowstorm from hell descend on Pontypool. After a strange encounter with a nonsensical woman who staggers off into the storm, he gets to work - immediately butting heads with producer Sydney Briar, who's assisted by staff member (and Afghanistan vet) Laurel-Ann Drummond.

Then, the Zombie Apocalypse happens. Well, kind of. The infection is spread through the English language itself, in certain words (frequently terms of endearment) that get caught in the throats of the infectees and eventually drives them from Madness Mantra-sprouting lunacy to full-on monsters. Trapped in the snowstorm, the three try to keep track of the situation through the radio, and eventually face a zombie siege.

Tropes used in Pontypool include:
  • Aliens in Cardiff: Or zombies in Ontario.
  • All Your Base Are Belong to Us: The radio station is breached.
  • The BBC: Pretty soon, the Pontypool situation becomes headline news.
  • Bilingual Bonus: The infection is only spread through the English language. Speak French, and you won't get infected.
  • Blood From the Mouth: Happens to Laurel-Ann in very gory fashion.
  • Brown Note: How the virus is spread.
  • Canada, Eh?: The film could easily have taken place anywhere else if not for the way that Canadian bilingualism becomes a major plot element later on.
  • Creepy Child: Happens with one of the singers who visits the studio. Later, she appears in full-on zombie form.
  • Dead Line News: The news crew get's regular updates from their "traffic helicopter" reporter Ken Loney who is stuck out in the middle of the action.
  • Downer Ending: It's a zombie film, what would you expect? Though Grant and Sydney have found a (theoretical) way to cure the infection, the town gets bombed anyway. It doesn't stop the spread, though; the closing credits are a voice-over montage of other radio stations and callers reporting the beginnings of the same strange events in Pontypool. The last lines we hear are the BBC anchor repeating "Pontypool, Pontypool", sounding rather bewildered.
  • Dueling Movies: with Dead Air, another 2009 film that shares the premise of having a DJ stuck in his broadcasting station while the world outside is full of not-Zombies.
  • Dumbass DJ: Grant behaves like this early on.
  • Ear Worm: Intentionally invoked.
  • The Film of the Book: Based on the novel Pontypool Changes Everything.
  • Fridge Horror: The French Canadian government knows exactly what is going on at the end, but they can't warn English speaking countries.
  • Gory Discretion Shot: The camera focuses on a wall poster advertising the station as Grant and Sydney kick a twelve-year-old zombie to death.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Medez, the doctor, sacrifices his life to save Mazzy and Sydney from the infected.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: Sort of, when the BBC calls and gets Mazzy on the air. He's usually the one asking the questions...
  • Horror Doesn't Settle for Simple Tuesday: The film happens entirely in one February 14th, Valentine's Day. This is part of the plot, because as stated above the virus is spread with terms of endearment and baby talk, and lovers are prone to do that on Valentine's Day.
  • Infant Immortality: Averted. Mazzy and Sydney are attacked by the youngest member of Lawrence and the Arabians, who showed earlier the signs of infection and are forced to kill her.
  • It Got Worse: The entire plot of the film.
  • Last Kiss
  • Madness Mantra: Oh yeah.
  • Magic Countdown: The film ends at zero.
  • Mind Screw: The part after the credits.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: Possibly. Given the way the virus spreads, Sydney theorizes that they might have propagated it through repeated mention of Honey the missing cat. Grant initially thinks she's off her rocker, but later it's suggested she might be right.
  • Not Using the Z Word: The producers stress that the infectees are not zombies, but "conversationalists".
  • Oh Crap: "Do not translate...this...message." Oops.
  • Our Zombies Are Different: Very. They're not created through bites, but through certain words infecting the mind and causing people to go crazy.
  • Punny Name: The band "Lawrence and the Arabians", which are just a group of white people in tacky Arabian costumes (one of them is even nicknamed Osama).
  • Real Life Relative: Mazzy and Sydney's actors are married in Real Life.
  • Shell-Shocked Veteran: Thoroughly averted with Laurel-Ann, whose tour in Afghanistan was obviously angst-free.
    • Or was it... "Only the situation I brought back in my head..."
  • Shout-Out: A copy of Neal Stephenson's Snow Crash is displayed suspiciously prominently in one scene. Snow Crash also deals heavily with infections transmitted via language.
  • Survival Horror: Eventually.
  • Technically Living Zombie
  • The Voice: Ken Loney in his Sunshine Chopper (actually his Dodge Dart, parked on a hill).
  • Zombie Apocalypse: The faint beginnings of one, though the term is certainly played with - see Not Using the Z Word above.
  • Zombie Infectee: Numerous. The first one is the woman from the beginning of the film. Laurel-Ann soon becomes one. So does Sydney, but she gets better. Grant has a brief brush with The Virus, but his command of language seems to ensure his immunity.
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