Review: The Colony
In an apocalyptic future, where the entire world is frozen and the forecast calls for perpetual snow, a group of survivors exist in underground shelters called colonies. When one sends a distress call, a trio of men led by a burly ex-marine venture out into the cold and discover a terrifying world that the future has created.
Who’s in It?
Laurence Fishburne (of course) is the leader of titular reserve, strong-minded and civil, while Bill Paxton plays his foil, a man with a stone heart. Kevin Zegers narrates and plays the protagonist, and once again finds himself in a snow-filled horror film (see: Frozen).
The Colony is strangely effective, and cleverly pithy. While the survivors of an endless snowstorm pile on the layers of clothes to stay warm, this cool sci-fi flick directed by Jeff Renfroe strips away all the excess fat for a lean, taut, and fast-paced adventure through the cold.
It is a harsh world: food and supplies are heavily rationed, and should you start to show symptoms of illness, you’ll end up exiled or shot within days; an outbreak can’t be risked. A man named Briggs runs the operation, maintaining a hopeful yet practical attitude, while his underling Mason is grisly and evil-eyed (like most Paxton characters), and tasked with killing those survivors who are too sick to go on but want to die quickly. He is executioner, but battles with Briggs to become judge and jury as well.
Sam though, is the heart of the film. As a boy he lost his family in the storm but has since found romance with the only other young person in the joint. Each actor, including Charlotte Sullivan as Sam’s love interest Kai, have enough inherent charm in their simple roles to make you care, a tough task considering that the entire film is spent either out in the cold, or in a dank, confined bunker.
Sam and Briggs, along with a wide-eyed youngster, head out into the frosty environment to aid a neighboring colony to whom they are morally bound. The journey there, slow, steady, and viscerally cold, is just as fascinating as the one made back but completely different. Some or all return, having encountered a deadly force in the empty colony, and the film takes a sharp, decided change in tone.
The cold creeps slowly in during the first half, and the horror begins in a second, barreling towards a dramatic, bloody finale giving no regard for the faint of heart or short of breath. It doesn’t matter that the film is predictable because it’s effectual, staying true to its cause. Casually remarking about the past while staying focused on the everlasting present, The Colony is a nicely simplistic and neatly trimmed story about survival, against the elements, each other, and well, you know, something sci-fi sinister.
Should I See It?
A solid piece of sci-fi cinema worthy of one viewing, but no more. It’s chilly, and chilling.
“There is anyone alive?“ asks a member of the rescue team. A famished, parched man holed up in the corner responds, “Define alive.”