After an ice age sets in, killing off the majority of the population, rag tag groups of survivors huddle together in underground civilizations, braving the extreme weather and waiting for rumours about a thaw to materialize somewhere on their satellite map. Amongst the survivors is Briggs (Laurence Fishburne), the unofficial “mayor” of the colony, Sam (Kevin Zegers), a young man who’s content to follow Briggs’ lead, Sam’s girlfriend Kai (Charlotte Sullivan) and Mason (Bill Paxton), a blowhard who likes to shoot first and ask questions later. When a distress call comes in from the nearest colony (over a day’s walk away), Briggs forms a group of rescuers to go and investigate the situation.
When they arrive it’s clear that something has gone very wrong – the hallways are deserted and blood is splattered across the walls. After talking to a terrified man (Julian Richings) who’s holed up behind a heavily-clawed metal door, they stumble across the group of invaders who have turned feral and are out for blood. Fighting for their lives and hurrying to return to their own colony, it’s clear that Briggs and his group are going to have to pull together to save themselves and their home from these rabid humans who’ve developed a taste for human flesh.
The Colony is an odd duck of a film. It’s effective in creating that claustrophobic feeling that comes with being snowed in and it will definitely make you want to pull on a sweater even while sitting inside the theatre. It’s also offers up a couple of genuinely nail-biting moments that prove to be way more teetering-on-the-edge-of-your-seat than anything the recent Evil Dead update managed to come up with. That’s why it’s so disappointing that the film squanders those few scenes by framing them with a story that features nonsensical decisions made by characters who are little more than vague sketches of clichés like “the needlessly violent guy” and “the selfless hero guy” and “dumb, clearly cannibal bait guy” – none of whom read as truthful or relatable for even one minute of their on screen time.
It also doesn’t help that the final act completely deflates any tension or suspense the first two acts haphazardly set up by rushing into the climax and wrapping up the film almost in the blink of an eye (hang on man, I’m still dealing watching that one dude eat that other dude’s arm!) Still, this isn’t a major problem if you don’t think too long or hard about character motivation or say, smart storytelling methods. Just sit back and accept The Colony for what it is: really, really dumb (like, really dumb) and occasionally entertaining filler that will keep you sated until summer blockbuster season rears its ugly head in a few short weeks.
Is The Colony Opening Weekend Worthy?
While it’s always good to support Canadian cinema of any kind, this is definitely not a film you’re going to want to spend the big weekend bucks on. This is strictly cheap Tuesday fodder. Ultimately The Colony is much more suited to the home viewing experience where its earnest dopiness may lend itself to earning a spot in the “bad movie night” hall of fame right next to all of those movies about two-headed mega-sharks and cheesy made-for-TV Sci-Fi specials.
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