Review: The Colony
PLOT: After a new ice age wreaks havoc on the earth, small pockets of survivors take shelter underground. One such group, led by the compassionate Briggs (Lawrence Fishburne) is faced by factions within, led by the sadistic Mason (Bill Paxton) that want to take control of the colony. However, the biggest threat comes from outside, as they’re far from alone in this desolate landscape.
REVIEW: THE COLONY is a film that doesn't belong in theaters. If not for the fact that it was partially funded by Telefim Canada (meaning that, in a way, my taxes helped pay for this- shudder), I doubt this would be getting much of a theatrical bow, with it seemingly getting a relatively wide release in Canada. At best, THE COLONY belongs on Sy Fy, alongside their “originals” like AMERICAN BATTLESHIP or the upcoming INDEPENDENCE DAYSASTER (an actual title).
I’m assuming THE COLONY must have had a decent budget, but I expect most of it went towards paying Lawrence Fishburne and Bill Paxton’s salaries, which I suppose is fair as, in at least Fishburne’s case, he’s the only thing that makes the movie almost worth watching. Otherwise, director Jeff Renfroe’s movie is very tepid and cheap looking, with an over-abundance of cheap CGI that looks like it was lifted out of a video-game that came out a decade ago. There’s nothing wrong with a low-budget, as long as there’s creativity. Suffice to say, there’s not a lot of creativity here.
Everything’s recycled, and I suspect Renfroe was heavily influenced by 28 DAYS LATER. There’s even zombies of a sort, although rather than being undead, they’re roaming cannibals. This could have worked, but the they're used in such a way that it feels like the screenwriter wrote it as a zombie movie, and just crossed out “zombie”, and replaced it with “cannibal” without changing anything else, meaning they get no dialogue, and only exist to give the film a gruesome third act. Even the score feels like a knock off, with the bass-heavy score more than a little reminiscent of Ennio Morricone’s music for JOHN CARPENTER’S THE THING.
The only thing that keeps THE COLONY from being an absolute ordeal is Fishburne, who’s not one to phone things in, and injects some much needed humanity into the film as the paternal Briggs. Leading man Kevin Zegers is also very decent as the default hero, although his love interest, played by Charlotte Sullivan is unbelievably well-preserved for the apocalypse, complete with a seemingly unlimited supply of eyeliner and mascara. She’s gorgeous, although she should have been a lot earthier for someone who’s been holed up underground for most of her life. She's just another part of the film that feels contrived and false.
Bill Paxton doesn't fare much better. Despite being the biggest name in the cast other than Fishburne, his part is as two-dimensional at it comes. There's absolutely no shades of grey to Paxton's Mason, who's depicted as such such an all-out maniac from the first scene it makes absolutely no sense that Fishburne would make him his second-in-command. Paxton's usually worth watching, but even he can't do anything with this, and actually comes off as irritating rather than menacing. Still, I hesitate to blame Paxton, as he's got nothing to work work with here.
Suffice to say, THE COLONY really doesn't deserve the big theatrical push it seems to be getting, as there are many, far better films out there that get sent the VOD route. This is definitely DTV quality, and a sad waste of money and talent.