Director: Jeff Renfroe
Screenplay: Jeff Renfroe, Svet Rouskov, Patrick Tarr, Pascal Trottier
Starring: Kevin Zegers, Laurence Fishburne, Bill Paxton, Charlotte Sullivan
Producers: Matthew Cervi, Marie-Claude Poulin & Pierre Even, Paul Barkin
Running Time: 94 min
BBFC Rating: 18
In an attempt to reverse global warming, scientists find a way to control the weather. However, rather than just achieving their goal, they bring about a planet wide ice age. The majority of the human race is wiped out. Those that survived did so using underground facilities, complexes know as Colonies.
Our story focuses on Colony 7, originally an underground seed bank, led by former military man Briggs (Fishburne) and his second in command Mason (Paxton). With a lack of medicine, illness is the biggest threat to the colony, with a case of the flu meaning expulsion or execution, a duty performed too readily by Mason. Food supplies are also growing short, and whilst livestock numbers dwindle, the only viable way to grow crops is by aeroponics.
When the colony receives a distress call from Colony 5 and then loses contact, Briggs decides to investigate. Young Sam (Zegers – The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones, TV's Gossip Girl) steps up and volunteers to join Briggs on the dangerous mission. Fearing Mason is starting to make rash decisions, Briggs leaves Sam’s girlfriend Kai (Sullivan – TV's Rookie Blue) in charge, an outcome Mason is not going to take lying down.
On reaching Colony 5, Briggs and Sam discover its fate, something Briggs witnessed in his past was back to haunt him. Some humans have adapted to survive, evolving from rational, caring people into crazed, blood-thirsty cannibalistic pack-hunters. Can they escape Colony 5, and if so, how do they get home without leading the savages back with them?
The Colony is a mid-budget, post-apocalyptic, dystopian horror that does just as it sets out to do. There are comparisons to be drawn here with Alien, Mad Max and The Day After Tomorrow as well as many other similar titles. That doesn’t mean that The Colony lacks any originality, the writers have come up with a new twist to the global warming scenario after all. Just don’t expect anything as intelligent or chilling as The Thing.
In terms of the cast, Fishburne and Paxton certainly elevate The Colony, giving gravitas to complicated characters. Early on, you would be forgiven for thinking that the story would be about the relationship breakdown between Biggs and Mason. Strange then, that our main protagonist should be portrayed by relatively unknown Zegers. Okay, so his acting doesn’t suck, but even with a traumatic back story, I failed to see any depth to the character.
The Colony does suffer in a number of areas, including how it was photographed. Instead of finding its own style, certain scenes are shot to look like scenes from Alien, or Resident Evil or The Day After Tomorrow. Also, the ending falls a little flat. There is a set up here for a satisfactory ending that is not followed through. Perhaps they didn’t have the budget, or perhaps they are hoping for a sequel. I’d be surprised if that was on the cards though.
That said, The Colony is not the worst way to spend an hour and a half, and the pluses certainly outweigh the negatives. For B-movie territory, The Colony is enjoyable and has enough moments of peril and gratuitous violence to keep you from nodding off.
The Colony is out now in the UK on DVD, released by Entertainment One.
Review by Keiran McGreevy