THE COLONY – The Review – We Are Movie Geeks

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THE COLONY – The Review

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With the coming of a new ice age, mankind finds itself struggling to survive against mother nature. Humanity has grown to take modern medicine for granted, but now that society has been reduced to the most minimal remnants of what we once knew, the common cold and the flu has become our worst enemy, but what could be worse that microscopic killers?

In THE COLONY, writer and director Jeff Renfroe takes us into the weary lives of the few survivors living underground from the harsh icy wasteland that was once the surface of the Earth. Renfroe, who recently directed a stint of episodes for TV’s BEING HUMAN, seems to have an all access pass into the minds of characters forced to endure abnormally stressful circumstances of life.

The initial concept of THE COLONY is simple, to survive the cold without killing each other in the process. Not surprisingly, the film, as with life and human nature, nothing is ever that simple. The opening series of shots sums up the tone of the film quite well. We’re drawn in from high above in the sky, down towards Earth and into the darkness of an abandoned smoke stack to the sunless depths of the tunnels below. Nothing about this indicates a pleasant journey.

Kevin Zegers (GOSSIP GIRL) plays Sam, the young and still idealistic central character. Sam is one member of a relatively small band of survivors camped out in a make-shift “colony” housed within an old industrial facility, perhaps once a nuclear plant from the looks of the place at times. Laurence Fishburne (THE MATRIX) plays Briggs, the leader of this band of survivors. Briggs is a knowledgeable, logical man. Bill Paxton (BIG LOVE) plays Mason, a more rebellious, head strong member of the camp who feels impulsive and reckless, contrary to what Sam and Briggs represent.


After receiving a video transmission promising new hope originating from another colony, Sam and Briggs head out into the cold, white hell in an effort to reach the other colony. Their journey is a perilous one, encountering dangers that include some staples of social horror, and oddly leads nowhere productive. At times, it can be difficult to watch THE COLONY and not sense the influence of films such as THE THING or even films such as THE HILLS HAVE EYES to some degree, but none of this detracts from the film having its own personality.

Renfroe employs a fair amount of digital effects technology to help create the setting of this bleak, barren planet that has undergone drastic climactic changes, perhaps due in part to man’s insatiable need to tinker with the laws of nature. The effects are used sparingly, but effectively in creating this cinematic atmosphere otherwise nearly impossible to achieve. THE COLONY is one part science-fiction, warning us of the possible outcome of our sometimes arrogant human ways, and one part thriller, a study of ourselves as individuals and as a social species.

THE COLONY shifts as Sam and Briggs are away. In their absence, Mason makes a power play and the integrity of their camp is tested. Unfortunately, this power struggle is extremely short-lived. The more intriguing path of possibility would have been to develop these characters further into their conflicts with each other. Instead, THE COLONY devolves somewhat into a simple chase and kill horror ride as the less civilized human survivors invade the camp and thus, chaos and bloodshed ensue.

The performances in THE COLONY are par for the course. Paxton and Fishburne are as you would typically expect, effective but fairly standard in their roles. The tension that builds in THE COLONY is ultimately what drives the story and allows for a compelled audience to stay committed to the plot. The primary flaw of THE COLONY is that it never truly develops any characters. We know who to pull for, who we want to succeed, because the line between good and bad is well drawn, especially when you have a third, more sinister element of evil lurking in the blinding white void outside.

THE COLONY begins as an interesting tease of becoming an intellectual story of science gone wrong and nature rebelling, leading to the last of humanity struggling amongst themselves and each other with the promise of some foreboding evil that could destroy what little hope they have. While the film is still entertaining on a popcorn-munching adrenaline level, THE COLONY is somewhat disappointing in that it never truly, fully breaks the mold and becomes those things I initially hoped it would be.

Overall Rating: 3 out of 5 stars


Hopeless film enthusiast; reborn comic book geek; artist; collector; cookie connoisseur; curious to no end