The Colony DVD Review
Directed by Jeff Renfroe
Written by Jeff Renfroe, Svet Rouskov, Patrick Tarr and Pascal Trottier
2013, Region 2 (PAL), 95 minutes, Rated 18 (UK)
DVD released on 20th January 2014
Kevin Zegers as Sam
Laurence Fishburne as Briggs
Bill Paxton as Mason
Charlotte Sullivan as Kai
Dru Viergever as Feral Leader
Atticus Dean Mitchell as Graydon
Caught up in the middle of the world's next great ice age, a band of survivors fight for survival against adverse weather conditions, each other and a horde of cannibals who threaten to consume the lot of them. Children and non-horror fans will be disappointed by the lack of acorns and cuddly CGI creatures. Although, if you squint, Laurence Fishburne does look a bit like a wooly mammoth.
Such snowbound shockers as The Thing, The Road and 30 Days of Night are the obvious point of reference for The Colony, a rather typical post-apocalyptic with a coat of snow and macho stubble. The presence of Fishburne, genre legend Bill Paxton (the only man other than Lance Henriksen to be killed by an Alien, Predator and Terminator) and occasional Wrong Turn villain Julian Richings helps to maintain the illusion of classiness, but The Colony is defiantly B-movie to the end.
Which is not to say that it isn't worth a punt. No, director Jeff Renfroe handles the claustrophobia of the colonies, bunkers and snowstorms well – a great deal better than The Thing remake ever managed – and there's a certain Day After Tomorrow vibe to its brand of globally warmed post-apocalyptica. Should have listened to Al Gore, mankind. The inconvenient truth is that the budget often struggles to contain the film's early ambition, the CGI leaving it looking like a cross between a Syfy feature and the videogame Gotham City of Batman: Arkham Origins. Its occasionally dodgy appearance only serves to accentuate the B-movie charm.
Slow at first, the action picks up and truly snowballs once the group encounter their first compliment of cannibals. It's also where the film gives in to cliché. Snarling mouth breathers, these maneaters lack personality, drooling and growling like a 28 Days Later or The Crazies reject. As Paxton and Fishburne battle to hold off the ravenous hordes, we're reminded of Fishburne's Assault on Precinct 13 remake, or the sort of thing Paxton used to make in the '80s (particularly Aliens) crossed with Neil Marshall's Doomsday. What it lacks in originality it makes up for with ferocity and sheer machismo. It's refreshingly unironic, not giving into the temptation to make the thing yet another faux Grindhouse feature.
Wearing its influences on its sleeve, The Colony is a lot of fun. It may come across as chilly, dull and uninspired at first, but it soon heats up quite nicely. Old fashioned (in a good way), exciting and well-acted, it's enough to warm the cockles of the most cynical heart. This is no colonial irritation.
Video and Audio:
The music sounds good, if only because you can sort of hear Danny Elfman's Batman tune if you strain your ears and (don't) listen hard enough. It looks just fine, if a little on the cheap side.
A making of featurette is the only extra on the disc, but offers precious little information beyond the usual self-promotional fluff.