Happy November everyone. Today marks the countdown to when it is officially annoying to see pictures posted of people in Halloween costumes. The title this week comes from Tigs: The Great and Powerful. I took this one since I thought ‘What Ever Happened to Dexies Midnight Runners’ was too difficult. This title doesn’t scream a genre but in the spirit of the season lets make it a bit murderous black comedy.
Mark Your Calendars
Movie opens with a helicopter shot going through a small industrial town. We scan through the modest neighborhoods and main street until arriving at a huge mansion on a hill. A single scream is hurt. Close up of phone, close up of ambulance lights, close up of old man on stretcher, close up on hospital chart, close up on will, close up on old man signing it. We then see a reported run from the hospital and cut to the headline on next days paper.
HAYES DYING, FORTUNE TO BE GIVEN TO ONE LUCKY CITIZENS
Through the credits there is a montage of news reports explaining the situation. One citizen of the town will be chosen lottery style to receive the inheritance. All citizens, regardless of age or wealth, will be entered into the lottery. Everyone has the same odds. The announcement will be made on a specific day (thin connection to title). Cut to the local diner where everyone is talking about the story. The owner talks about how he could get all new equipment while a patron quips he wouldn’t have to eat at the shitty diner. They laugh and turn to ask Tom French, a math teacher at the high school what he would do. He explains the odds to them and the taxes involved and they yell at him.
Tom heads home and finds his wife on the toilet crying. She is holding a positive pregnancy test. She is worried about their financial situation since they’ve already borrowed money from her parents. He tries to console her but does a crappy job. He jokes about the lottery. She says that if only the odds were more in their favor.
Over the next few days the story stays at the front of everyone’ mind. There is news of pregnant women trying to induce labor early in order to have another name in the hat. People have been trying to get relatives to move and be counted as citizens and other sly acts. After school Tom talks to a science teacher Paul Rockford, Rock for short. They joke about the lottery and the odds and the idea of getting rid of citizens to help swing them in their favor. They agree to split the money and try what they can.
Through the computer they track down citizens who are new to town and try to get warrents out for their arrest in their old cities. It works for a few but Tom doesn’t see the odds swinging too much further in their favor. Rock suggests helping old people into death. Tom is worried that he means murder, and Rock tells him they will just give them a gentle push. They start targeting the elderly. Scaring some of them into heart attacks and others into dangerous falls. Other people are hurt in town from the crazed excitement so law enforcement doesn’t notice some extra dead old people.
They are pretty successful as the date nears closer, but don’t feel they are well off enough. Rock hatches a plan to hit the local nursing home. He just wants to leak a bit of gas into it to push the sicker residents over the edge. Something goes wrong and it blows up, killing a ton of people. They get away with it and realize the odds are getting better.
The plan starts to turn a bit more sinister as they start getting a bit more active in their killing. There is less pushing people into death but setting them up to die by “accidents.” Rock starts to really go over the line and Tom is getting nervous. The two start to quarrel and begin to try and murder each other, through accidents. They are unsuccessful. Rock is almost caught but the story comes out that someone has been killing others and making it look like an accident. It is almost a few days away and Tom sees in the news an entire family died mysteriously. He confronts Rock about it who denies it was him.
The town starts devolving as they realize other people are taking their idea and killing others. At the date of the announcement their are not many left alive to attend the drawing. When they do come they are armed and cautious. As a name is pulled out the town square erupts into chaos as Tom tries to protect his wife. He knocks Rock, who has a bomb detonator in his hand, out as people are fighting everywhere. They drive off to try and escape and stop the car suddenly at the local bank. Tom and his wife shrug at each other, exit the car and rob the empty bank. They drive off.
Back in town the person who pulled the unseen name runs for his life but trips over Rock. Rock stirs and picks the detonator back up. The man with the name in his hand throws his hands up and in slow motion we zoom in to see Rocks name on it as he blows up the town. Tom sees in the rear-view the cloud of smoke as his wife sits in the back counting their money.