Population 436 (2006) starring Jeremy Sisto, Fred Durst, Charlotte Sullivan, David Ames, Leigh Enns, Susan Kelso, Rick Skene directed by Michelle MacLaren Movie Review

Population 436 (2006)   3/53/53/53/53/5

Jeremy Sisto in Population 436 (2006)

Sisto's in the Outer Zone

For over 100 years the population of Rockwell Falls has remained at 436, not one more or one less and it has eventually come to the attention of the US Census Bureau who send researcher Steve Kady (Jeremy Sisto) to investigate what is going on in the isolated community. Kady almost doesn't make as he is distracted by a woman falling from a horse as he passes a sign for the town's border and his car suffers a couple of flats thanks to two large potholes. But as Kady starts investigating into why Rockwell Falls' population has never changed he not only finds himself becoming attracted to Courtney Lovett (Charlotte Sullivan), the daughter of the woman who is putting him up, but also uncovers the sinister reason why there has never been no more or less than 436 residents causing him to fear for his life.

Some reviews of "Population 436" mention it appears like an extended episode of "The Twilight Zone" others say "The Outer Limits" and I can see that whilst also seeing a bit of M. Night Shyamalan about it with this isolated village who keep themselves to themselves and have this mystery surrounding a static population. And it does a good job of enticing us in the opening scene as we see how at the time of a baby being born a resident ends up killed in a road accident, coincidence or something sinister maybe.

Charlotte Sullivan in Population 436 (2006)

The thing is that whilst the idea is good with the mystery of the static population combined with the locals curious behaviour being intriguing once we get the set up and the mystery being unravelled it starts to struggle. It is a case that "Population 436" probably would make for a good episode of "The Twilight Zone" but feels slow and drawn out when it is trying to make it through to 90 minutes. It makes it uneven as there will be something creepy or amusing such as a sweet old woman's response to Kady saying he will be out of town in a day or two but that will be followed by a scene of Kady just walking.

On the subject of Kady we have Jeremy Sisto who is a likeable actor but for most of the movie it feels like people are acting around him with Sisto just giving us easy going to the point Kady borders on being a boring character. Fortunately for Sisto there comes a point where his character has more to do at which point things get better but for a while you wonder whether Sisto is the right person for the movie.

What this all boils down to is that "Population 436" certainly has an entertaining idea but it is an idea which is better suited to maybe an hour long TV show than a 90 minute movie as at times it feels like it is dragging its feet.