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Random Movies: Population 436

by Andrew Green

I've lived in several small towns, but none quite as interesting as this one.

Population 436 (2006)


Some people get lost in a horrible small town full of murderous psychos.

Population 436 is your standard "Guy uncovers horrible secrets in a quaint small town" movie. In this case, it's a census taker who wants to know why the remote community of Rockwell falls has maintained the exact same population for, like, 150 years. As you can imagine, it's not just a coincidence. Now, even though there really isn't anything SPECIAL about Population 436, I found it to be a reasonably entertaining film. Pretty much from the get-go, it's clear that the locals are killing off residents to maintain the 436 figure, but exactly WHY is a mystery that keeps us engaged through the end. Of course, the ANSWER to the Why question is a bit of a let-down (couldn't they have come up with some crazy Satanist number-worshiping sort of story or something?), but that still doesn't ruin the experience.

Other creepy small town movies are usually crippled by low production values, but Population 436 actually comes across as fairly well-made. The location is rather attractive, and the acting is above-average for this kind of movie. Its claim to fame seems to be that one of the supporting players is Limp Bizkit's Fred Durst, but I assure you, he's no distraction, and surprisingly gives a good performance as a well-meaning local cop to may or may not try to help our hero.

Is Population 436 scary? Well, no...but the atmosphere is creepy, and there is some disturbing imagery (like in the mental home scenes). You won't be blown away, but you won't fall asleep, either. I give it three Mehs out of Meh. 3 out of 5.