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Population 436 (2006)
Written by: The Arrow
Director: Michelle Maxwell MacLaren

Starring:
Jeremy Sisto/Steve
Charlotte Sullivan/Courtney
Fred Durst/Cop
6 10
PLOT-CRUNCH
A down on his luck census investigator (Sisto) is sent to Rockwell Falls to find out why the town's population has stayed at 436 for the last 100 years. Overuse of rubbers? Double dose contraceptive pills? Abortion parties? No...he finds something much scarier...
THE LOWDOWN
Much like banging a dame while another watches for half an hour before joining in, there is a cheap thrill to be found in slapping a DVD in your player while knowing absolutely nothing about the flick beforehand. After that it goes either way; a busted up TV (due to foot in screen) or big smiles when the movie actually turns out to be  good. Population 436 thankfully fell in the latter category, hence saving me from buying yet another television set. 

I hadn't heard anything about this lean slice of genre meat and found himself lapping it up like a bisexual dame on "E" sharing quality time with a gal-pal. Granted, Population 436 was nothing original within the subgenre it was toying in. If you've partied with The Wicker Man or banged The Stepford Wives, you'll have a pretty strong hunch as to what this one's deal is and where its going with its story. But that didn't hinder its entertainment value since this flick had its shite together on pretty much every level. From its gripping opening frames to its smooth and engaging unraveling of events, I was hooked in deep. The fairly suspenseful bits and the nasty scenarios that eventually kicked in also had me tripping in a good way!

The stakes were raised even higher by its bang on cast! Jeremy Sisto proved to us once more why he's one of the more compelling horror leading men on the block these days and the talented Charlotte Sullivan looked good enough to eat (with Whip Cream of course). And was that Limp "poseurs" Bizkit front man Fred Durst doing his "actor-thing"? YES!  Surprisingly, the dude was a better actor than he is a singer and it took me a while to recognize him (the lack of a red baseball cap threw me off)! He gave out a solid performance and that was baffling in itself. Who knew! I guess he really did do it all for the nookie! Add to that able directing, striking cinematography and a finale that had me chewing my coffee table in anticipation and you get a well rounded horror fix that was worth the tap.

On the bah side of the coin. the flick was redundant in places, nothing criminal but enough for me to notice. Then we had its "1-2-3" love story which felt more like a plot device (it wound up being one) than an honest courtship. I also kept waiting for the "what's really going on" angle to go further than "Step 1" but alas, it didn't and fell a pinch short. Lastly the seldom shoddy CGI looked ludicrous (barn fire) and got a gut gusting laugh out of me when I was supposed to be on the edge of my seat . With that killed, killed and killed...A LOT.... Population 436 wasn't the most original macabre tale in the dungeon, but that was okay. It was good enough, smart enough & doggone it I liked it!

GORE
We get some light blood and a dude shot in the head. Plasma wasn't on this ones menu.
ACTING
Scream King Jeremy Sisto (Steve) gave another on the ball show. Endearing, low key and credible, I was rooting for him like a rooster sneaking in the hen house. Charlotte Sullivan (Courtney) sizzled with her hot looks and expressive eyes. She also played it at the right level. I wanna see more of her and I when I say more, I mean MORE!

Fred Durst (Cop) so took me aback! The man put out a likeable and grounded performance. WOW! Stick to acting Fred cause as you know "its my way or the highway, my way or the highway!"

T & A
We get a sex scene between Sisto and the delicious looking Charlotte Sullivan. Too bad it was one of those hump bits that was hidden in the shadows. Come on, I'm a grown man over here, show me that Sullivan bootie!
DIRECTING
TV director Michelle Maxwell MacLaren managed to up the ante on this one via stellar wide shots, potent tension and interesting angles backed up by gorgeous cinematography.
SOUNDTRACK
The violin based score hit the mark in terms of supporting the events and the rural setting of the film. Dug it the most!
BOTTOM LINE
Population 436 did smell of "been there done that" but I couldn't deny that it was competent at what it did.  It shoved me in there at Frame 1 and never let me go. I was knuckle sandwiched by some of its plot turns, adored the actors (ing), it looked slick enough and it whooped me stupid with its uppercut ending. Sure it got a bit repetitive now & again, the romance was meh and the narrative could've gone further with its "secret" but at the end of the hanging, I was hanging high. Don't let it gather dust on the shelves, its worth nabbing and getting sued for it at least once!
BULL'S EYE
The flick was shot in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada

Hottie actress Charlotte Sullivan was born on October 21st 1983 in Toronto, Canada.

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8:54AM on 10/01/2006

Worth the Rent

I will see anything horror related that has Sisto in it, he always puts in a great performation. It also took me awhile to realize that was durst, good on em. I enjoyed both this and The Plague which were both shot in Manitoba, coinkidink, I think not! :P
I will see anything horror related that has Sisto in it, he always puts in a great performation. It also took me awhile to realize that was durst, good on em. I enjoyed both this and The Plague which were both shot in Manitoba, coinkidink, I think not! :P
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