STARRING: Laurence Fishburne, Kevin Zegers, Bill Paxton

2013, 95 Minutes, Directed by:
Jeff Renfroe

When humanity tries to control the weather using huge machines in the near future, their plans obviously go awry and backfires. Instead a new ice age is triggered, which results in most of mankind bring killed off, the only survivors being colonies scattered across the globe.

When one such colony receives a distress call from another colony, a small group of people is sent to investigate. What they find is telegraphed a mile ahead and shouldn’t come as any surprise to anyone who goes to the movies regularly.

And that is precisely the problem with The Colony, a post-apocalyptic thriller/horror flick starring Lawrence Fishburne (Matrix) and Bill Paxton (Aliens) amongst others.

The movie kicks off promisingly enough with some okay special effects of a city battered by perpetual snow (the movie was filmed for a mere $16 million and is the first movie to be shot at the decommissioned NORAD base in North Bay, Ontario, Canada). The soundtrack ominously references Ennio Morricone’s iconic Thing music as the movie slowly builds up a feeling of dread and impending horror. What did happen to the other colony?

"A sad case of 'could have been so much better.'"

The second half however comes as a brusque letdown as the movie goes through the motions. The Colony shares more than a co-star with James Cameron’s 1986 classic Aliens as there is a fair number of heroic self-sacrifices and people crawling through rather oversized air ducts. Bill Paxton plays a mean-spirited asshole version of his Pvt Hudson role in that legendary film (one keeps expecting him to whine “that's it man, game over man, game over!” at any moment). Needless to say, Fishburne is the dignified leader trying to keep things together. And so on.

There is some small amount of gore and violence that will freak mainstream audiences but disappoint horror movie types. Acting is decent and production values are OK. The problem is that the climactic showdown is, well, anticlimactic and that what happened to the other colony comes as no surprise to anyone who has seen more than two movies in their entire life. A longer running time would have served the movie better as well as less reliance on movie clichés and idiocies.

Ultimately, The Colony is a sad case of “could have been so much better.”

(By the way, can anyone explain why there is some Russian lettering in one building when the movie is not supposed to be set in Russia at all?)



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