Friday, January 23, 2015

Population 436 (2006)

Census taker Steve Cady heads to the small town of Rockwell Falls and finds nothing but trouble.  No one at the gas station will give him directions to the town, (in fact they give him funny looks just for asking). The dirt road to town is unmarked. When he finally sees a sign for town, his tires blow in a massive pothole.  The town's police force is hesitant to help him. There's weird chanting coming from the school.  The towns records show the population is always 436, and Fred Durst is the Sheriff.  Oh yeah, Steve wouldn't know a red flag if it draped itself over his head.

Steve figures he'll be in town for just a few days, but he's puzzled by the lack of fluctuation in the towns census records which go back into the 1800s. The townsfolk are nice, but within minutes of him getting to town everyone knows his name.  There are also several odd instances where people mention that Steve is staying with someone because he hasn't found a home, or remark that Steve has  moved to town.

It shouldn't be a secret to anyone who watches the movie that there are only two ways a population can stay exactly the same. Either every time someone is born or moves to town then someone else must leave, or the town has completely incompetent census takers.  The movie has similarities to Shirley Jackson's short story, The Lottery, although this movie is nowhere near as powerful or shocking. In fact, it's fairly tame, slow at times, and not anywhere near the same class. People certainly won't be talking about this movie in two years, let alone fifty.

What is puzzling is why the townsfolk don't let people leave town when there is a new arrival. This would alleviate the problem of a changing population.  Also this is the only town in the world which counts visitors as part of their population.  What is wrong with these people?  A visitor isn't a resident.  You just let them leave and your population stays the same.  Oh wait, these people are probably inbred simpletons since most people never leave town.

So to sum up, they don't want you in their town. But if you do come, they won't let you leave and someone will have to die.  Yup, thanks crazy religion!

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