The Colony (2013)

Welcome to the future. The Earth has been encased in a tomb of ice and snow, possibly created by our weather-machines-gone-wrong science experiments, which still tower over the desolation of our dead world.

Humans are on the verge of extinction. What remains of Humanity has packed itself into tiny colonies – at least in America – and we’re living a pitiful existence, where getting the common cold is cause for execution.

When a colony run by ex-military man Briggs (Laurence Fishburne) receives a distress call from another ‘local’ colony, he sends a search party to check it out… and what they find could spell the end for ALL the colonies left alive.

The Colony is a thoroughly enjoyable Sci-fi Horror film, which is superbly designed and very well executed. The story follows one small colony left on the brink of extinction and spans out into the world. It feels intimate but – at the same time – humungous.

The CGI and set designs are ace. Brilliantly rendered and intricately crafted, they look genuinely excellent and provide a realistic and haunting backdrop to this post-apocalyptic ice-world.

Kevin Zegers (Dawn of the Dead remake) is our likeable protagonist as ‘Sam’, whose voiceover is neither annoying or intrusive, which is a difficult thing to achieve in movies of this ilk.

Now, I admit that some may find Zegers to be a little ‘dry’ and humourless in The Colony, but I found him to be a great leading man, supported by the strong-presences of Fishburne and Bill Paxton. A minor problem is Zegers’ relationship with punky Kai (Charlotte Sullivan), which doesn’t ring massively true… but it’s a small world now, so anything’s possible.

There are a few niggling annoyances in The Colony, unfortunately. The antagonists are not fantastically well realized and – SPOILERS! – seem like 30 Days of Night vampires rather than blood-mad cannibalistic mental cases. There could’ve been more restraint used for this bundle of gore-hungry nutbags, but they definitely make for a dangerous and frightening foe.

The Colony is also (surprisingly) a little predictable in places. Bill Paxton’s kill-happy Mason being ‘left in charge’ while the search party buggers off somewhere does reveal an absolute failure in leadership from Briggs’ character, but this decision mostly smacks of plot-necessary functionality and is staunchly predictable.

These quibbles are small and cannot cloud the otherwise well created and impressively realized world of The Colony. It is also surprisingly violent and has an excellent little cameo from the always-great Julian Richings, so that’s two plus points.

Overall The Colony is a great slice of modern sci-fi done on a reasonable budget. Better than the ridiculous – and high budget – likes of After Earth and Elysium, The Colony is a grounded, fun, exciting, visually interesting Sci-Fi Horror. Definitely worth a watch.

Rating: ★★★★★★★½☆☆

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