OK, was I the only one who couldn’t stop thinking about 30 Days Of Night while watching The Colony? I know one is about vampires and the other is about cannibals, but everything about The Colony‘s cannibal creatures reminded me of the vampires Josh Hartnett squares off against. Their jerky, feral motions, jacket-wearing leader, screeching communication – even their teeth were pointy and jagged like the Alaskan vampires. Oh, yeah, if you’re thinking that my fixation on an old movie while watching a new one is a bad omen, you’re spot on. There I was, ready for what could have been a unique take on the apocalypse/survival thriller, but instead I got a film as vanilla as the whitest blanket of snow.
The Colony takes place during the next Ice Age, as we’re introduced to a congregation of survivors who are living in some industrial compound. Upon receiving a distress call from another colony, group leader Briggs (Laurence Fishburne) decides to investigate with two other men. Reaching the location of the distressed colony, they find only one survivor locked away in hiding. He tells of beings that swarmed his colony and killed everyone else, and unfortunately for Briggs’ team, they’re still there. Attempting to return home, Briggs tries to stop the cannibalistic monsters from infiltrating his own colony, but with the psychopaths hot on his trail, the task becomes more and more challenging. If they return home, their friends will be attacked, but spend too much time traversing the frozen tundra, and you’ll freeze. Decisions, decisions.
The Colony is a bigger letdown than usual because I didn’t really hate the idea. Sure, The Day After Tomorrow did the whole Ice Age thing, and other “End Of The World” movies have touched upon animalistic humans who have become ferocious creatures, but something about the draw of Jeff Renfroe’s film seemed intriguing. Find a warm spot, grow crops, and cultivate a new civilization – the task was simple, yet being surrounded by Arctic conditions posed a tense threat. All this is lost by a tasteless script though, turning into nothing but a basic smash and grab thriller where survivors fight an opposing threat. Bad people get in, good people die, rah rah rah, and there’s really not much else to what could have been a science-buffy type quest for survival.
The additions of Bill Paxton and Laurence Fishburne are a bit of a decoy as well, as their parts are rather minimal and poorly fleshed out. Fishburne provides a leader character that blindly charges into an obviously desecrated colony with an unqualified team member as backup, and his plan crumbles as it should. Paxton on the other hand plays on the mean side, getting back to his 2 Guns type character, acting irrationally and brutally for the sake of some inner-colony drama. There’s treachery, there’s insanity, and then there’s just straight-up forced aggression, which Paxton’s character falls victim to. With the mounting odds, his hateful survival tactics were unnecessary for the story, and his character Mason was easy to root against.
In terms of action, The Colony remains more heavy on forgettable information and light on actual confrontation, as there’s only one big fight which ends with a quintessential “boss battle.” The battle, or slaughter I should say, that carries out beforehand is rather lame though, as Paxton’s character once again proves how much of a dick he is while colonists simultaneously show how terrible they are at defending themselves. As you can tell by my nonchalant tone, almost all tension and excitement is converted into sleep-causing boredom, as serious plot inadequacies become distractingly apparent.
Sadly, The Colony will leave most viewers out in the cold, shivering and begging for the comfortable warmth of excitement, entertainment, and enjoyment. It’s not to say Renfroe’s film is the worst abomination ever, but after a few years its existence will be an abominable snowman of sorts, hiding away somewhere to be completely forgotten. There are so many better films that present more thrilling and gripping interpretations of weather-centric post-disaster films (bordering “End Of The World” material) – there’s just no need to watch a less engaging film attempt to copy better ideas.
The Colony could have been something so much more, but copy-cat genre blandness instead leaves viewers out in the cold.