Population 436

05/07/2020 06:38

Film: Population 436

Year: 2006

Director: Michelle MacLaren

Writer: Michael Kingston

Starring: David Ames, Leigh Enns and Susan Kelso



This film I remember seeing trailers for on some other movies that I was watching. I think I ended up randomly getting this on Netflix four years ago, checking it out and writing up this review. Really haven’t thought about this movie since this, but I did update this a bit before posting. The synopsis here is a census-taker is sent to investigate why a certain small town has had the same population – 436 residents – for the last 100 years.

We begin with a woman giving birth while the scene is also spliced with showing a man fleeing in a truck from a deputy. The man in the truck is Ray Jacobs (Rick Skene) and the deputy is Bobby Caine (Fred Durst). The baby is born and is fine, but Ray crashes and dies. He hits a giant pothole at the end of the road out of town of Rockwell Falls. The film then shows us the rest of the important townspeople at the funeral. Ray daughter is Amanda (Reva Timbers) and she’s quite distraught at what happened.

We then follow Steve Kady (Jeremy Sisto). He is driving in the country and we learn that he is from the census bureau. He is looking for Rockwell Falls to investigate their census records, because they’ve had the same amount of citizens for 100 years and it is suspicious. He comes to a gas station and tries to ask for directions, but neither the attendant nor a man getting filled up answer him. He continues to try to find his way.

Steve does find the road into Rockwell Falls, but he is watching a young woman who is trying to break a horse. She is Courtney Lovett (Charlotte Sullivan) and she while trying. He runs through the giant pothole and it flattens both tires on the driver’s side. Steve goes out to check on Courtney, who is rude to him and she leaves. Deputy Caine then shows up and asks the sheriff, Jim Calcutt (R.H.Thomson) what to do. Steve tells him he needs to go to Rockwell Falls for work and the Sheriff allows it.

He is taken to meet the mayor Gus Grateman (Frank Adamson) who tells him he is welcome to interview whomever he would like and he is allowed to stay in town. They take him to stay somewhere temporarily, since the town does not have a hotel. On the way over though, they’re told that a woman is sick and they go to check on her. Steve is not allowed in, but we see that she is covered in boils and has what the town calls the ‘fever’.

Sisto is going to be staying with Belma Lovett (Monica Parker) as well as her daughter, Courtney. It is at this time that we learn Deputy Caine  is in love with Courtney and he wants to marry her. The problem starts to grow that at dinner, she seems interested in Steve. As he goes to sleep that night, we see that he at one point had a wife and child. He can’t sleep and he runs into Courtney. They flirt and she warms milk up for him to help with his insomnia.

He then goes about interviewing citizens and looking at the old records. He has trouble understanding how there is always exactly 436 citizens seemingly at all times. A festival is being put together by the mayor and the townspeople. There was a voting the night before and the wife of one of the men at the meeting was chosen to be the festival lead. The more that Steve learns, the darker things become as he realizes the number 436 is the fabric of this town and why.

I want to start off saying that the concept of this film had me interested and that is why I checked this out. I like the idea that this town for one hundred years has had the same population and that it has finally caught the attention of the census bureau as an anomaly. As someone who works in numbers and enjoys what they tell us, this intrigues me. I could also see a small town like this run much slower to what we are all used to due to isolation, which I could see making the townspeople act the way they do in this film.

There’s the concept of self-fulfilling prophecy being opposed to divine intervention which I really did enjoy playing out. Technically the ending could be read either way, depending on your own thoughts and belief system.

This film though is not practical. It is believed that almost all of the townspeople have never left the town. There is a delivery driver who brings things, but he can’t bring everything. It wouldn’t be possible that any time a government worker comes to town that they would stay. The reason I bring this up, eventually someone has to notice this town. I guess it could happen, especially if they don’t realize nefarious things are going on, but it just seems that some of things that happen could not go on without someone finally catching on.

The acting is decent, but no one blew me away. Sisto is a guy that I’ve seen here and there throughout the years. He’s never blown me away with performances, but he’s serviceable. It is fun to see Durst here, as you know I was a Limp Bizkit fan back in the day. Sullivan is good looking and it is nice to see her with the screen time she is given. The rest do round this out as no one really stood as I said, but they weren’t really that bad either.

Now with that said, I would only recommend this film to those that want to see a decent horror/drama. The film itself is not that good, but it is interesting. The acting is decent and the writing is okay. The best part is the concept of a town that is almost completely unchanged for a hundred years and has had the same population, because of a numerological reason. This film is entertaining and the ending is pretty good. If this review sounds interesting, give this film a chance. It not, then I would this one.


My Rating: 6 out of 10