The Colony is another one of those movies that, despite having several major genre stars attached, little to no advertising or exhibition went into the production prior to its release. Part of that, I’m sure, is due to the fact that it went straight to home video, and in some ways, I think that was a mistake. Granted, some aspects of the film do feel a little more suited for a home video release, but I still think there would have been a market, especially during the month of October, for a post apocalyptic thriller with a few recognizable faces. But, what do I know, I’m not a market strategist, after all. Some people may not even enjoy this one nearly as much as I did, but, as long as its competently shot, I do have a fetish for films that take place after the world has ended. And if there’s one thing I can say about The Colony, it’s that it is competently shot and acted.
The story follows a group of survivors after the second ice age, holed up in an underground bunker for an undetermined amount of time. They’ve survived thus far by a set of rules, as well as the fact that they seem to be hydroponically growing vegetables and other food underground, and have been harvesting the seeds so as to never run out. The one problem with this living arrangement, is that since there are no doctors or medicine post-apocalypse, a simple cold could wipe out dozens of people, so if someone comes down with a sickness, and they don’t appear to be recovering while in quarantine, they are given the choice to either walk out into the cold and die, or be shot on sight. When the survivors of The Colony lose contact with another group of survivors at another camp, a few key members are sent out to investigate. Upon their arrival, they learn that a group of seemingly superhuman cannibals has overrun the other colony, and as they try to leave them buried, so that they can escape without being followed.
If I have one major complaint about The Colony, it’s that it doesn’t really go anywhere. There is a point A and a point B, just like every other film, but I feel as if a lot of plot elements were introduced, and went nowhere after that. There is a quick mention that some of the causes of the ice age were of course, global warming, as well as devices that were built that tamper with weather patterns. At one point in the film, we’re even shown video footage from somewhere else, where a group of people were able to reactivate and modify one of the devices used for weather modification, and reverse the effects of the freeze, but that’s the last we hear about it, and it’s not something that was implemented in any other way. I realize that it would have been, perhaps anyway, a completely different movie had they expanded upon these elements, but it somewhat lessens the overall impact of the film, for them to bring them up and then leave us hanging.
Beyond that one major issue, I did enjoy the movie. It looks great, save for a few scenes of poorly rendered CGI gore, and the green screen work is nearly flawless. The acting, from screen veterans such as Larry Fishburne and Bill paxton as well as Kevin Zegers is all top notch. If I have one complaint in that department, it’s that Bill Paxton’s character is criminally underused. They make it known this his and Larry Fishburne’s characters knew each other before the freeze, and apparently served in the military together, but it seems as if at some point they’ve had a falling out, and it never really explains that through anything aside from a few scenes outlining the devolved behavior of Paxton’s character, as well as the disagreement they’re having due to that. Everyone does a good job though, and there are no noticeable moments of flat acting.
The Colony is not a standout entry into the post-apocalyptic sub-genre, but if you like that type of film, I feel as if it’s safe to say that you’ll find some level of enjoyment with this. It’s not campy, or over-the-top, it’s just a little lower key than it could have been. Just don’t expect for there to be any surprises, as if you’ve seen a film like The Thing, I Am Legend, 30 Days Of Night, or in some instances, even Aliens, you’ve seen this movie before. But, that shouldn’t detract from your enjoyment, unless you’re just hyper-critical of every piece of entertainment you consume. Not every film released has to break new grounds, especially not if it is a competent experience, and The Colony was.
The Colony will be released tomorrow, October 15th 2013 on DVD & Blu-ray from IMAGE/RLJ entertainment.