Pontypool and Jesus Camp reviews

This week we have a two-fer for FTMU Wednesday. Both films are terrifying in their own way.

Our first film is Jesus Camp. Set in Devil’s Lake, ND (no, that’s not a joke), Kids on Fire camp is designed to implant the political and social agenda of fundamentalist evangelical Christian values in children, along with deepening their relationship with the Lord.

As many of you might know, I am not a fan of organized religion. Far too often dedication to a particular sect and a relationship with God breeds hate-speech and misunderstanding through closed-minded tendencies. Never is this more articulately expressed than in this film. The term “army of God” has never been more chilling than in this film highlighting a Christian camp dedicated to teaching children about the Lord, and giving them the tools to be good ‘soldiers’. I was truly floored and scared by this inside look at this camp and the rhetoric taught to children. You can’t spell Christmas without Christ, and these children can’t seem to spell anything without Christ. I understand that this may be an extreme case, but this revealing film struck fear in to me. A fear that we have quite a way to go as a nation if we hope to instill acceptance and tolerance in children. Today we often fear Islam and Shariah Law, but I was illuminated to the fear of religious doctrine in general if this is what the alternative looks like; the alternative we live with now. These children represent our future, and if this is what they are being taught, God help us all.

Film two was a movie I watched last night. Talk about obscure, this is that film. Pontypool is a psychological/zombie thriller. Centered around a radio station, and a shock-jock hating his life in bum-fuck nowhere, his day starts with a run-in with a seemingly crazy woman babbling and mimicking his speech on his way to work. Before you know what is happening, literally, stories begin coming in that people are mobbing through town, killing, eviscerating people, and the end times seem nigh. It is all cloaked in confusion and mystery as the movie unfolds around the station and the early morning broadcast.

You find out suddenly and mysteriously that the virus that is afflicting the town is in the words. Words are infected. Actual words that are spoken and understood are infected, and the transmission of the virus is in talking to one another. For a writer, this concept is fascinating, and as a movie-goer I have never seen a horror thriller with this premise. It is quite well made, the story kept me a bit frantic throughout the film. You feel as confused about the event as the characters in the film. Until the big reveal, I had no idea what the source of the virus was, and once it’s revealed, the actual infected words are never spelled out (pardon the pun). I loved the idea, the filming, and the whole design of the movie. The ending is a bit garbled, no clean bow on the whole situation, and through the credits you hear audio news reports of the whole situation showing up in other towns. It is a nice little film I’m sure no one has heard of. Obscure, creative, and well-made. That’s our FTMU mantra, and this film does it.

Look up both of these films on Netflix. Pontypool is streaming. Jesus Camp is available to order, and both belong in your queue.

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