Population 436 (2006 Video)
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Don't expect anything extraordinary from this movie, but in a day and age where over budget movie miss the mark time and time again, Pop/436 is a rare treat which is worth a view.
At first, I thought the reason why the residents of Rockwell Falls have opted to keep their population at 436 was so they wouldn't have to change their painted sign, and actually; the real reason isn't too far away from being that drab. The film starts off with a woman giving birth, inter-cut with a scene that sees a man killed in a car accident. I guess this would be a pretty good indicator for most people as to why the population stays at 436 right from the off, and the film makes a habit of not keeping it's cards close enough to it's chest as heavy hints are dropped often and by the time it gets to actually finding out the mystery, you already know. However, in the film's favour; it does feature an amiable lead performance from Jeremy Sisto. Sisto made his best film with 'May', and since then has also starred in that Dead and Breakfast rubbish, and some American TV shows. Population 436 is directed by Michelle Maxwell MacLaren, a director that has only worked on TV shows prior to making this; and it shines through, as the movie never feels any more ambitious than your common TV movie. Overall, Population 436 is not essentially 'bad' - but it's not very good either. Feel free to skip this one.
Simply put these townspeople are really sick. I highly recommend seeing it on DVD as this includes a very interesting alternate ending. I actually thought this was good enough for theaters, I guess the lack of gratuitous violence kept it out. It's a thinking persons horror flick. With the terror more implied than shown. Very good. In fact to return to the always brilliant Sisto, I don't really think he's been in anything poor, OK Hideaway (96) comes close, but this is another feather in his cap. Lets hope NBC's "Kidnapped" is a hit so we can see more of this fine young actor.
Although you know that this town is corrupted in some way, it makes you believe there is nothing wrong with it - it LIES you! That's why the cinema is called "The Great Illusion".
Instead of hearth-stopping LFE effects, breathtaking views made with a computer frame by frame, this movie manages to create the illusion only by using the right music + right acting + right nature shots. It's far away from perfect, but nowadays making a different movie is not easy. It lacks authenticity at the end, but that's not the important in it. The hidden message is to open your eyes and take a look around (i sound like Fred Durst) you and see if you are not in a matrix like Rockwell Falls... yourself!
"Population 436" is a good horror B-movie, with an intriguing dark story that in some moments recall the original "The Stepford Wives" and a great mystery. I personally liked the surprising and unpredictable conclusion, and hated the alternative commercial ending in the Extras of the DVD. If the viewer sees this low-budget movie with a lower expectation, he or she may have a worthwhile surprise. My vote is seven.
Title (Brazil): "População 436" ("Population 436")
Can't say this was too much of a thriller, Michelle Maxwell MacLaren doesn't come anywhere near M.Night Syamalan and his thrillers and suspenses. The other thing that backed me off was the background score. Its always the same weird music which you'd get sick of 15 minutes into the movie. The theme is well... nice.
The story is unique, that I guarantee you, but kinda seemed lame to me. I mean a town with Population at 436 through a 100 years? You can always guess how the climax is going to be! Oh yes, there are a large number of plot holes too.
Decent performances though. Jeremy Sisto, through whose eyes we see the movie give a good enough performance. The camera angles throughout the film were average and impressed me only in the 'chase'. ;) OK, now this movie might be rated R, but the "brief sexuality and violence" lasts only a couple of sec. It should be PG-13.
Predicability and average plot with huge plot holes cause its downfalls. Decent performances uplifts it a bit. Overall though it doesn't fall into MUST-WATCH-OR-ALL-HELL-WILL-BREAK-LOSE, its worth a rental... maybe.... if you're too much of a movie buff.
I give it 5/10. Bite me.
Two CGI flaws stood out in scenes where it was probably used to cut costs. Keep an eye on the moving Jeep and study the town in aerial views. The latter may require a high resolution TV or projector. A few plot holes were adequately explained by paranoia but it's difficult to be that isolated in the lower 48 now.
Under different circumstances Rockwell Falls could indeed be "the most perfect place on Earth," meaning a picturesque town that isn't destined to get overrun. There are safe and sane ways to stop population growth and I think the whole world should encourage that. Whether or not you agree, I can recommend this film as more than light entertainment.
On the box it said that it was like 'The Wicker Man' which is one of my favourite movies, and it comes fairly close to capturing the concept of that movie (though not as well) so thats a big endorsement from me.
I'm not gonna be bothered going into the story but lets just say that if you are a fan of this kind of movie then you should probably check it out.
The movie begins well but for the viewers it becomes obvious too early on into the movie what the story is all about and where the movie is heading to. It doesn't ever make the movie good as a mystery-movie but its atmosphere and other things compensate for this.
As other reviewers have pointed out already, the movie has a great creepy kind of "The Twilight Zone" atmosphere, despite that the movie itself not being scary at all. I am however convinced of it that if this was an actual "The Twilight Zone"-episode, it would be considered one of the best ever. The atmosphere and the professional feeling of the movie make the movie work out, even though it all is nothing too remarkable or original.
The movie has a good visual style and due to the fast directing (which was I think probably due to the limited shooting time) the movie flows well. It's cinematography is good and it provides the movie with a couple of pretty pictures. The movie also tries to be creative at times and also provide it with a couple of scare moments but this mostly does not work out.
The movie its concept is interesting and I guess that it even had more potential in it, than used in the actual movie now. All of the elements now used feel rather formulaic and predictable. The movie perhaps also feels a bit like a poor man's "The Village".
Jeremy Sisto is a good 'big' leading man for a this kind of movie, though I expected more from him honestly. The supporting cast does a good job although this movie of course hardly features any of the best performances.
Worth a watch, if you're into the genre.
It starts off with a strange idea; there's a town that always has the exact same population (436, obviously), year after year and year. Most people in the audience would have figured out why this is within the first few minutes of the movie. I mean, there are only two or three possible explanations and the movie makes it painfully obvious which one is correct.
That would be fine, except that the writers apparently thought that we wouldn't realize what was happening until they told us outright. You can see how they struggled to keep everything suspenseful and mysterious, and it's almost sad to know that they went to so much trouble when the movie revealed its greatest secret in the first five minutes. Don't think that the clumsily deployed mystery is the only thing bad about Population 436. It features many of the other staples (well, clichés) of the horror/suspense genre: freaky religious cults, ominous gas stations (of DOOM!) and enough weird inconsistencies to be almost terrifying if the movie wasn't so risible.
Personally, I wouldn't spend any money going to see this movie. Encyclopedia Brown is more clever and suspenseful, and you get him at the library for free.
Plays best as an extended Twilight Zone episode..certainly has that vibe. I think it has a problem of what it wants to be, though. It seems to play for a while as a paranoia thriller where people who go within a town have a hard time escaping. Then if anyone who attempts to go against the town's principles, will face being lobotomized by Greaver as being sick. Yet, there's a twist that offers a supernatural aspect regarding Steve being able to escape that just didn't wash with me. But, that twist merely backs up a claim by the crazed citizens of Doc Greaver's "paradise." Disturbing and at times effectively creepy with a good performance from Sisto as the unfortunate Steve.
Yes, everything seems to be wrong with this town although everything seems to be perfectly normal. A happy little small neighborhood with many buts. The census bureau agent is on his duty on only counting...but soon discovered there are odd pieces in the survey, then the adventure unfolds.
On summary, acting of the main players are Good - although the villager's and suspense seems to be exaggerated and overly done sometimes. There are a lot of mysteries in this village, but unfortunately they're poorly unfold and there is not enough twists in this movie. As a result of the unclarity of the causes and root of the problem - many suspenses (i.e the nightmare) are to be unfounded and quiet irritating.
The storyline sometimes unfold in 'bizarre' fashion. People seems to act really strangely in this movie with no apparent reason (i.e One suddenly attacked the other like crazy dog...and some people just tried to follow the others..etc). I think this is really amusing in someway, making me scratching off my head quiet a few times during the movie. If this is an attempt to lengthen the movie, then mission accomplished - but otherwise, I don't think it has reached any goal.
The suspense tricks deliberately doesn't work for me and makes this film rather a bizarre mystery drama...and can't be classified as a thriller or horror.
You connect with absolutely nobody in this movie. The "hero" is boring in all kinds of ways, and when the obvious ending comes, you breathe a sigh of relief that this is FINALLY over.
I enjoy watching an Ed Wood movie because it is so bad it is both funny and tragic. When this movie was over I was just left with a feeling that I wished it was the script writer who met his maker in the end, not the "hero". I didn't like or dislike the "hero" enough to care what happened to him.
It begins with a journey by a census-taker who is travelling to the small town of Rockwell Falls in order to find out why the population has remained at 436 since the 19th century. It's an original idea granted but I always find if a movie is based in a small town ending in 'Falls' you better hold on to the receipt as you are in possession of damaged goods. My trepidations increased due to the fact that Fred Durst aka Mr Limp Biscuit was acting in this film and on the whole, rock stars do not make for great actors. Interestingly enough his acting is actually one of the best features of the movie as an initial intriguing plot soon gets bogged down into the mundane and obvious horror plot.
As you might imagine, all is not well in Rockwell Falls and the census-taker is viewed with trepidation and treated with disdain. Can our intrepid main character find out the mystery behind the small town before he falls victim to their evil ways? By the end of the movie you probably wont care enough because if you're intelligent you'll see the ending coming a mile off besides numerous other plot points which borrow from the big box of horror plots. Sometimes I think writers use fridge magnets to put these scripts together. Your oven deserves to get cleaned above your priority of watching formulaic nonsense like this and whilst I'm a sucker for trashy horror movies but this is certainly the dregs of the barrel that should be avoided.
The tale explored the horrors of cults and religions. It exposed the demented actions of such groups and the ignorant hysteria that they both create and thrive on. This whole metaphor worked effectively and impressively ... until the end. I'm afraid that the ending saw all that good work flushed away for the sake of a very predictable twilight-zone conclusion. I could've even enjoyed the silly ending if it hadn't completely undermined the entire thrust of the film.
The movie is about a census taker who goes to a town that has a population of only 436 people. As he spends more time in this bizarre place, he learns that the population has been the same for a long time.
Although the story sounds interesting, once you watch it, it's a bit far-fetched. There's only one strong character (the census taker) and the rest are kind of one-dimensional.
Still, it's a step above most junk horror/sci-fi/supernatural movies. It's story is somewhat different/unusual and it does get more interesting towards the end. In general though, it's not really worth watching.
TV director/producer Michelle Maxwell MacLaren did a good job of presenting a story by new writer Michael Kingston in his sophomore effort. The actors are not the thing here, but the story, and it has probably been done before, but I found it captivating.
If this town voted in this year's primaries, it would be a 100% vote for Santorum. It's that kind of town, and you better conform or they have ways of making you do so. The "doctor" has no medical training and doesn't need any as he has perfected the necessary procedure for dissidents. They don't need jails, because they will have your complete cooperation once they are done. Besides voicing concern, wanting to leave is considered a sign of sickness, and will be dealt with.
The town's population has remained at 436 for over 100 years. They have elaborate rituals to make sure it stays that way. Like the Roach Motel, once you check in, you can't check out. It is the thinking behind this number that was the really interesting part of the film. I know people like this, and you do too.
The existence of Rockwell Falls in America is very believable.
"The Stepford Wives". "The Reaping" You don't have a clue yet? Need more hints?
"Dead & Buried". "The Wicker Man" Still confused? Well, then this is the ideal movie for you!
If you still haven't guessed the type of horror sub-genre from these four hints, then you've either never seen a horror film before, or you're 9 years old AND have never seen a horror film before. However, to figure out not only the genre but even the entire "mystery" behind this unoriginal premise, all you need to do is to watch the first 436 seconds of P436: contained in it is all the most basic information you need to spoil for yourself any kind of major plot-twist "surprise" that the incompetent writer and clumsy female director had planned for you.
The movie begins like this: 1. A man gets killed trying to run away from Fred Durst. (Anyone anyone would run away from Fred Durst and his music, cop or no cop.) 2. A baby is born at the same moment of the man's death. 3. The town's plaque says "population 436". 4. Even the movie title tells you this. That is what is known as "information overkill".
Hence, a simple mathematical equation should help even Slipknot fans to read the humongous plot-twist miles ahead:
1 + 2 + 3x4 = the town must be some kind of a religious cult that maintains its precise population number by force.
So why watch the rest of the movie? In the hope that Fred Durst's character gets killed? Not only does Freddy not get killed (horror-movie Freddies are immortal, remember?), but he even ends up getting engaged to Sisto's rather sexy (and recently lobotomized) girlfriend. You might wonder why she's been lobotomized... in order to agree to marry Durst. Duh! So obvious.
The movie's painful predictability makes it even harder to watch because the cliché story moves very slowly. Watching P436 is like watching a snail trying to "run" away from a Limp Bizkit concert. Nevertheless, because I'm the type of person who sees the glass as half-full, I'd decided not to get annoyed by the obvious flaws. Instead of being peeved that Fred Durst now even infests the world of film (which is pitiful enough without him), I chose to rejoice the fact that he doesn't sing at all! There isn't even a single Limp Bizkit track in the end-credits.
Well... almost. In the barn scene (at the end), when he threatens to kill himself but sadly doesn't, he whines almost like he sings in LB. It's quite funny, actually... The definitive highlight of the film, as ironic as that may sound.
And what modern-day horror film would be complete without the obligatory "hey, my mobile phone doesn't work here!" cliché...