FEARNET Movie Review: 'The Colony'


the colonyYou really never know what you'll find when you click through your new video-on-demand options. Take a movie like The Colony, for example. Given the film's cast and premise, it could easily be mistaken for a true low-end junkpile that managed to scrape together just enough money for two good actors and some set design. (Free tip: most movies about "dangerous weather!" are really awful.) Fortunately you have websites like FEARnet to help point you in the right direction, home video-wise, and yep, that's another way of saying that the new sci-fi / adventure / horror combo called simply The Colony is actually... pretty good!

We open knee-deep in the middle of a new ice age, and the last remaining groups of humans reside deep underground within gigantic, empty bunkers. Colony 7 is run by Laurence Fishburne, so already this movie is starting off on the right foot. Fishburne's slightly unhinged right hand man is Bill Paxton, and his earnest young charge (aka hero in training) is Kevin Zegers. That's a solid "cable flick" cast if ever there was one, and to its credit, the 95-minute (and admirably fast-paced) The Colony makes pretty good use of all three actors.
What's most appealing about The Colony -- aside from its refreshingly earnest tone -- is how it aims to cut across several genres at once. The central idea, that the last pockets of humanity may find a way to survive a new ice age, is simple but effective sci-fi material; once we get to the actual plot (the distant Colony 5 has gone silent!) the movie switches over to an adventure story with a few decent splashes of action, and then to a basic but appealing horror story about the obvious dangers of feral subhumans.
All that, plus a dash of chaste romance and some pretty slick moments of suspense on a decrepit bridge, and the overall result is a generally forgettable but more than serviceably entertaining Saturday matinee movie. Credit director Jeff Renfroe (Civic Duty) for approaching a fairly conventional (and potentially ridiculous) concept with an appreciable sense of sobriety. The tone of the film, the special effects, and the rather expeditious pacing are indicative of the professionalism that can pop up in even the most generic-looking of sci-fi flicks.


In other words, not much in The Colony is amazingly novel, but as a gritty collection of disparate genre parts that are presented with a noted lack of snark or irony, well, it's just a fun little flick. Fans of Fishburne will enjoy his heroic swagger, Mr. Paxton gets to have some fun playing against type as a rotten bastard, and even the young Mr. Zegers acquits himself well. Chalk it up to "lowered expectations" or a "good mood" if you like, but I dig The Colony, and I expect some of the more intrepid genre fans may end up agreeing with me.