Monday 24 February 2014

The Colony

This was one of those movies that I thought would be absolutely awful. You know, considering at times it looks like it was made for the SyFy Channel, the channel that brought us the glorious disaster that was Sharknado, I didn't have high hopes. But with names like Laurence Fishburne and Bill Paxton on board, surely it wouldn't be that bad, right? Well when it comes to the action horror genre, we're not talking Predator tier quality here, but it's still not an absolute waste.

What do you get when you take The Road, 28 Days Later, Mad Max and The Day After Tomorrow and whizz them all together in a blender? You get The Colony, of course! That's not to say that The Colony is a perfect mishmash of those films though. In fact, it's a bit of a Frankenstein's monster of a film, but ultimately ends up turning into a fun romp through a post-second ice age wasteland. 

In 2045 climate change has gotten out of hand, leading humans to build weather-changing machines. These huge machines clear the skies and fight off the extreme cold weather that is trying to take over the planet. However, clearly these future scientists didn't have brain between them because, of course, the weather machines stop working... because of snow! Yes, the very thing they were preventing. Nice one, nature! The film doesn't explain why, nor does it say why they didn't just fix the machines, but the effects of climate change soon turned the planet into a frozen rock in space.

The snow never stops though, and the film focuses on the struggle of one underground human colony. This colony has two leaders; Briggs and Mason. Briggs, played by Morpheus, is basically the good guy, while Mason, whose insurrection you can see coming from a mile away, is the bad guy. There's no subtlety to these characters. Then there's Sam. He's the hero of the film, and is as bland as a box of crackers. After picking up a distress signal from a nearby colony, a team is sent to check it out. They find out that the colony has been wiped by a group of cannibals, and in entering the decimated colony have unwittingly put the cannibals on their trail. The chase is on.

The Colony is one of those films in which the characters are cardboard cutouts and nothing more. There are two types of characters here, ones that look pretty and smile, and others who aren't that pretty and don't smile. But you know what? It doesn't matter! Watching The Colony isn't an exercise in how to win an Oscar, but rather an exercise in watching cannibals eat the shit out of people to a backdrop of explosions, basically. It's from the same school of films such as No Escape and Deadly Prey, and while not perfect, is pretty damn fun

The best part of the film are the cannibals themselves, and rather than look like a bunch of hobos eager to get into a soup kitchen on Christmas morning, they're viscous, deadly and, thankfully, fast! Yep, in taking a page from the book of 28 Days Later these flesh eaters sprint. Even when that couldn't get more awesome, they're led by this fucking huge main cannibal. He can take a stabbing and still get back on his feet. His final showdown with Sam is actually pretty great, and doesn't hold back on the gallons on gore.

The overall design throughout the film is pretty good too. From the nicely realised new world that is completely snowed over, to the grubby old world that peeks through untouched areas, The Colony isn't lacking in the visuals department, considering it’s small budget. But the real problems come in the script as the film progresses. It's almost as if the writer thought, “Screw it! Let’s just finish this up already. The Breaking Bad finale is on!” It just falls apart near the end, and ultimately leaves a whole bunch of unanswered questions. It just stinks of them holding out for a sequel!

The Colony is far better than how it should be. I mean, sure it has an awful script, bland as hell performances and one of the worst female leads in history, but on the flip side it has cannibals, Bill Paxton, fucking Morpheus and more cannibals!

The Colony isn't perfect, but survives the chilly apocalypse with a 3/5, []

Denis Murphy

The Colony at CeX

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