01st Jan2014

‘The Colony’ Review

by Phil Wheat

Stars: Laurence Fishburne, Bill Paxton, Kevin Zegars | Written and Directed by Jeff Renfroe

The-Colony

Forced underground by the next ice-age, the inhabitants of Colony 7 struggle to survive below the world s frozen surface. When they mysteriously lose contact with Colony 5, the only other known settlement, Briggs (Fishburne) decides to lead a dangerous mission into the frozen wasteland determined to discover their fate. When he and his team reach their destination, they discover a threat much worse than nature and must battle to save themselves and protect their fellow colonists in what might be humanity s last stand.

A new horror film, starring Bill Paxton and also featuring Laurence Fishburne? Has to be on to a winner right? The Colony was advertised as a “The Thing” style horror, with plenty of snow bound terrors within. Instead we get a badly paced, poorly acted, sub-par Ghosts of Mars rip-off set in a post-apocalyptic ice age. More action than horror, more laughter than terror… And a complete waste of all the talent involved.

The film starts of well enough with some tense scenes set inside Colony 7, showing the fragility of the surviving “society” divided, as modern society is, by different ideals and internal power struggles. But then The Colony swiftly descends into yet another man vs. mutant horror flick that borrows from the aforementioned Ghost of Mars and the likes of 30 Days of Night, without ever offering up anything new, or exciting for that matter, to distinguish it from all the other direct to DVD dreck that rip-off much more familiar (and more popular) movies.

And, if I’m honest, The Colony isn’t much of a horror film either. The film plays it’s story more for action than scares, even when the colony of survivors goes head-to-head with their cannibalistic counterparts – whilst we’re told they’re terrifying villains that will kill anyone in their path, what we actually see is a bunch of freaky-faced, screamy-voiced “creatures” that would only scare children on a good day! As for the cast, both Bill Paxton and Laurence Fishburne are wasted – in particular Paxton whose role is only little more than an extended cameo. The movie in fact belongs to Kevin Zegers (yes he of Gossip Girl), who takes centre stage as the films hero Sam… and, frankly, he does the best with what he’s given and thanks to his performance, audiences will easily empathise with his character.

The Colony plays as a film of two halves almost – the first explores the people and the hard-going situation they are in, and the second is a B-movie romp that conforms to a myriad of genre-movie cliches without ever trying. It’s almost as if the script was changed and the budget cut partway through the production – leaving the film feeling rushed, without any explanation as to who, or what, the cannibalistic villains are and leaving the movie without a truly satisfying climax. It all ends on somewhat of a damp squib sadly.

With not much to recommend it, The Colony is released on DVD January 20th.

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