Population 436 review

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[Population 436]
Plot:A census-taker (Sisto) is sent to investigate why a certain small town has had the same population 436 residents for the last 100 years.

Cast: Frank Adamson, David Ames, James Blicq, Cory Cassidy, Fred Durst, Leigh Enns, David Fox, Dana Horrox, Susan Kelso, Peter Outerbridge, Gavin Polone, Jeremy Sisto, Rick Skene, Charlotte Sullivan, Reva Timbers, Martin Trudel.

My Thoughts:Working for the census Bureau has never been so dangerous.

Review:"Population 436" right off the bat had me intrigued because of it's unique storyline. The film follows an employee of the U.S. census bureau (Jeremy Sisto) who visits a smalltown in the middle of nowhere to figure out why their population has remained at "436" occupants for the last 100 years. But since this is a horror/thriller film, the culprit in this weird situation isn't a forgetful census taker or computer error, but rather an ominous supernatural force. Of course we aren't told that right off the bat though, but this film early on suggests that something isn't quite right in this tiny little town full of uber/neo christian types. "Population" sort of pokes fun at smalltown america in a tongue in cheek sort of way, having all of the characters in this town be polite, courteous, friendly, brutally religious, and easy going. Sort of like a weird brainwashed cult of sorts. Which is probably what alot of city people ask themselves when they venture into a really small town. That, and of course "Is this meatloaf really beef or roadkill?". Sisto who plays the films lead Steve Kady, does really good with what he has as far as the script goes. I honestly believe this film would not have worked as well had a female been casted into the lead role. Sisto does a really excellent job playing the sometimes confused and growingly suspicious census bureau worker who slowly comes to realize that the reasons behind the towns steady population and lack of advancing past the 1800's have a much darker theme behind them. Limp Bizkit lead singer Fred Durst makes his film debut in the pic as Deputy Bobby Caine, who seems to be the only normal person in the town and eventually befriends Sisto's character as the film moves on. But soon he becomes torn between his loyalties to the town and it's people and doing what's right when thing start to unravel and Sisto's character starts to get a little bit too close to the truth. "Population 436"'s strength lies within it's very well written script, which was penned by Michael Kingston. Kingston does an excellent job of highly playing up the mystery element of the film in the script which keeps it from being bogged down by boring uninteresting characters and a the lack of real scares. The film decides to intrigue and creep out the viewer with it's eerie and sinister story rather than going the blood, gore, and slasher route. Also one has to wonder while watching this film was Jeremy Sisto somehow involved in writing it, or was someone who worked on Sisto's most noted horror pic "Wrong Turn" involved in the making of the film in some capacity. The movie sports two scenes which are reminisscent of "Wrong Turn"...one involving a junkyard with numerous abandoned cars strolled about, and a chase scene involving Sisto behind the wheel of a tow truck. Both scenes work really well though, despite how cliche and run-of-the-mill they feel in a horror film about smalltown crazies. The movies climax really carries alot of impact and while it adds a small element of confusion to the movies story, it also leaves alot of chills for the viewer to mull over during the end credits. "Population 436" is an interesting and twisted tale which will surprise people with how well written and intricate it is. It's very strong sinister tone also props up the horror side of this drama/horror/mystery/thriller pic really well.

Pros:Great performance by Jeremy Sisto, Durst also does a pretty good job. Really interesting and eerie story. Good ending.

Cons:A bit too slow at times, some of the story isn't explored deeply enough despite numerous opportunities.

Overall:Worth a watch as it is a pleasant surprise.

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