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artisanal film reviews | by maryann johanson

The Colony review

The Colony green light Laurence Fishburne Kevin Zegers Atticus Mitchell

A small-scale science-fiction horror story full of big, troubling ideas about what a new Dark Ages might look like.
I’m “biast” (pro): always looking for a good science fiction film

I’m “biast” (con): nothing

(what is this about? see my critic’s minifesto)

We tried to fix global warming and got it wrong in a big way, and so the apocalypse turned out cold, dark, and white. Now, as the last remnants of humanity struggle to survive under the snowfall that never stops and the clouds that blot out the sun, Colony 7, hunkering deep underground, receives an SOS call from a neighboring settlement. It must be investigated: we can’t afford to lose any more people. American-Canadian filmmaker Jeff Renfroe — who wrote the script with Svet Rouskov, Patrick Tarr, and Pascal Trottier — has crafted a small-scale science-fiction horror story full of big, troubling ideas about what a new Dark Ages might look like. Ominous signs of abject desperation are everywhere, from the disagreement one scared hothead, Mason (Bill Paxton: 2 Guns), has with Colony 7’s leader, Briggs (Laurence Fishburne: Man of Steel), over just how quickly they need to shoot colonists with the flu before they infect and kill everyone else (the drugs are gone, see, and the bugs are deadly), to what happens when your meager livestock animals can’t get enough protein to sustain themselves, never mind fill your stewpot. And that “weather modification tech” buried under the snow… is that a reason to hope? After all, goofing around with it is what got us into this mess in the first place. Shot in a decommissioned NORAD base in Canada for that authentic survivalist vibe, The Colony doesn’t need anything terribly speculative at all to be shivery and provocative: the only villain here, apart from the weather, is human nature, and how easily fear and hunger take over when civilization collapses.


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The Colony (2013)
US/Can release: Sep 20 2013 (VOD same day)
UK/Ire release: direct to dvd

MPAA: not rated
BBFC: not rated

viewed at home on a small screen

official site | IMDb
more reviews: Movie Review Query Engine | Rotten Tomatoes

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  • RogerBW

    I’m very nearly in just for Bill Paxton. What is it with the thinky sci-fi films all of a sudden? Europa Report, this — and The Last Days on Mars looks at least slightly promising.

  • This isn’t as good as Europa Report. I’ll be checking out Last Days, though, too.

  • RogerBW

    Oh, sure, I don’t expect them all to be excellent — but this is a type of film that we have seen very little of for a while, and now it seems to be making a comeback.

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