[Movie Review] The Colony

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The Colony is a science fiction/horror movie directed by Jeff Renfroe. It stars Lawrence Fishburn, Bill Paxton, Charlotte Sullivan and Kevin Zegers as a group of people surviving in the inhospitable world of Earth after mankind tried and failed to fix global warming with weather machines. The world they live in now is not pretty without medicine to cure the colds the infected have two options take a walk into the snow or bullet.

The beginning of this movie has no scrolling credits. Instead, the first scenes tries and fails to set up the world we’ll be spending an hour and forty-five minutes in. Instead of giving us what Hadley’s Hope on LV-426 looked like before a what the frak scene with two unknown kids running underground to a locked door banging on it all the while the camera is cranked up to zip through the corridor.

This should be the Jaws moment where Chrissy gets pulled under. Instead we are introduced to the world by our protogonist Sam played by Kevin Zegar via a voice over which is step up from a scrolling text.

The universe building saves this movie even when at times the editing doesn’t. While it’s never explained where exactly they are these plucky survivors live underground in Colony Seven and make do with what they have from growing things from seed and searching via satellite for survivors. The seed bunker scenario gives a nod to Svalbard Global Seed Vault and has been touched upon before in books and is a refreshing look on life after the world ends.

Lawrence Fishburn plays the colony leader, Briggs and has his head on straight while Bill Paxton’s Mason feels a bullet is better than a walk. Sam is likable if a little bland even if his backstory with Briggs strengthens their relationship. Charlotte’s Kai is a breath of fresh air with her being Sam’s girlfriend she is not relegated to a scene in her underwear.

She’s a smart choice to be in command when Briggs, Sam and Atticus Dean Mitchell’s Graydon (who has red shirt written all over him and could have been the hero instead he relegated to wide eyed newbie) travel across to Colony Five to see why an SOS has been sent out. It would have been nice to see some sort of scene between Kai and Mason just to ratchet up the tension.

This movie could be called the spiritual successor to The Thing and Screamers. From the hostile landscape to the almost colorful characters and to the soon to be discovered enemy the SFX team did a good job making it feel like Hoth on Earth.

The journey to Colony Five allows Sam and Briggs to share horrible stories to Graydon in the hulk of a helicopter. The moral of story is it’s survival of the fittest. It’s a more of a warning of how people can become like Mason. It’s also a warning of how people can get if they go over the edge and need to eat.

The arrival at Colony Five is met ominously enough until they find a survivor and a clue about how Earth may not be screwed after all. It’s the introduction of the enemy when the movie loses it’s footing. The brief scene of what has happened to Colony Five is brief dip of the toe into cannibal genre. It’s well done scene but the cranked up editing doesn’t help and immediately cheapens things until the group escapes back out into the snow.

The introduction of Dru Viergever as the antagonist of the movie should have been better. I’d rather have a talking Kurgan than a mindless beast. Seriously. He’s the Kurgan of this movie and should have more lines instead of screaming at the camera with his sharpened teeth.

The toe dip into the cannibal pool of horror is a good idea since we’ve been told since the beginning: survival. The script fails to give us something different than Reavers. I fall into the camp of: I don’t mind the unstoppable force but I’d rather have a smart antagonist than a stupid one so our plucky heroes have to fight themselves and the outside force.

Even after several unsuccessful attempts with TNT to halt the onslaught, Dru and gang follow the survivors back to the Colony Seven and assault it. I’m not ruining the movie for you it’s in the trailers. The editing during these scenes of tension is either really good or really bad. The colonists have no defensive training so the heard is thinned out and the showdown between Sam and Dru arrives even when it’s homaging Aliens.

In the end the SFX saves this movie from being a complete loss even when the writing fails. I find it hard to believe that one bullet to a propane tank can do all that damage but it looks good so who cares.

There is no final scene showing the survivors of the colony arriving at their intended destination. It would have been a nice scene to see after all that snow. Not unlike the director’s cut of Blade Runner when Deckard drives into the sunny country side.

The Colony is available on VOD and should be arriving in theaters in September.

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