Sunday, November 2, 2014

Film Review: The Colony (2013)

The Colony (Review)
Canada/2013
Format Viewed For Review: Netflix Instant
Netflix Streaming: Yes
Amazon Prime: No

"...an effective time-killer."

In the near future, man-made weather machines are built to control the climate. One day, it started snowing and never stopped, wiping out most of mankind...

The Colony follows a group of humans who have found shelter in an underground bunker named Colony 7. The group soon receive a SOS distress signal from the neighboring Colony 5, with whom they have a pact. Leader Briggs (Laurence Fishburne) takes Sam (Kevin Zegers) and another to respond. They find a glimmer of hope amongst a bloody massacre. The story treads very familiar territory for the most part, so you shouldn't expect much else from the latter half of the film. The climax is exciting, though. And, as cliché and predictable as it may be, I did enjoy the ending.

The Colony also lacks sufficient buildup and use of its setting. I love films with expansive and lively universes, such as Snowpiercer, so this film was automatically attractive to me. However, despite some small details and some quick background, we are never fully immersed into the settings. We know it's forever snowing and we have a slight idea as to why, but the setting is missing something. It feels more like a background than a character, and I suppose that's the most disappointing part of The Colony.

Otherwise, it's an effective time-killer. Aside from some slow moments, most of the film moves at a face pace and it keeps this momentum for the bulk of the film. In fact, I didn't check the runtime once. It has plenty of thrills and some satisfying action. It also has some cheesy elements, which give this film a sort of B-movie vibe; the "villain" for example, screams b-movie to me, and the dialogue is also occasionally cheesy -- I didn't mind. There was only one surprising factor in this film: the surprising amount of violence. Again, I didn't mind. The violence kinda added to the B-movie charm of the film, anyway.

The acting is more hit-or-miss, though. Laurence Fishburne is great. Kevin Zegers lacks the screen presence of a leading man -- far from bad, but could have been better. Some of the supporting cast deliver bad performances, though; they sound very unnatural and, well, bad. The music was also good and bad; sometimes it fit well for some thrilling moments, while it felt out of place during the moments. The special effects were good, though, better than most low-budget SciFi films. Director Jeff Renfroe does well in the action and thrills departments, but lacks a certain immersion factor -- it simply didn't hook me into this world. The acting was also flawed at times.

Overall, The Colony is a good film. It's much better than I expected considering the abysmal Rotten Tomatoes rating. If you don't mind some bland characters and a disappointing world, The Colony offers enough gory action and satisfying thrills to warrant at least a rental -- maybe even a purchase for fans of the genre or cast.

Score: 6/10
Parental Guide: Strong violence and gore.

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