The Colony is a post-apocalyptic eco-thriller that follows a rag-tag group of survivors as they fight to survive Mother Nature herself and an oncoming plague of a roving gang of murderous and very hungry cannibals. The world has frozen over anyone who has managed to survive have found their way into decommissioned army bases and formed colonies that breed their own sense of government, own means to survive and their own relational bonds. Their biggest fear is sickness as the moment a single cold hits it could infect everyone else. Those who are sick are quarantined, and if they don’t get better they are given the choice of “getting to walk” (being released from the colony into the outer world to fend for themselves) or getting shot.
The Colony follows Colony 7 who receives a distress call from neighbouring Colony 5. When they go to investigate they find the colony overrun by these mutant’esque cannibals who are feasting on their new treats. In a hasty retreat they obviously bring these cannibals back to Colony 7 where the fight to survive just gets a little bit harder.
The movie is predictable from beginning to end. There’s nothing truly profound in this film that makes it stand out on its own. As a disaster movie it is reminiscent of The Day After Tomorrow as a post-apocalyptic cannibal movie it echoes what came before including The Day and even bits of The Road. There were two big draws to this film for me, the first is Bill Paxton. I really do admire Paxton as an actor and I think he’s quite often overlooked for some great performances. In The Colony Paxton plays the enforcer role. He’s the character who has to shoot those who are sick who decide they want to die. This power of life and death goes to his head and let’s just say knocks a few screws loose leaving a delightful villain within the colony.
The second draw to the film for me was that it was shot in the decommissioned N.O.R.A.D. base in North Bay, Ontario. I’m a huge fan of supporting Canadian film. I think that if we want more Canadian content in film we need to support it, even if we don’t necessarily like it right off the beginning, because it always gets better. Films like this can pave the way for directors like Denis Villeneuve, Erik Canuel and many more very talented Canadian directors to get more funding for Canadian-based productions.
The film is full of disaster and thriller clichés, it’s not the most exciting at times. I don’t understand why it took four people to write this screenplay because it’s a pretty straightforward story. In fact it’s pretty much the same story as The Day but with snow.
One of the nice surprises of The Colony was Ontario native Kevin Zegers as Sam, the protagonist. Going through his IMDB page I noticed that he’s actually got quite a stacked resume, so it was nice to see some local talent really get the time to shine.
Now, yes, this film was full of conventional tropes, but it isn’t the worst movie I’ve seen. It doesn’t overstay its welcome. It carries itself well from scene to scene. It doesn’t over dilute its storyline. It knows what it wants to do and it does it. It’s not perfect, but as a turn your mind off popcorn flick it ain’t half bad, even if Laurence Fishburne is under-utilized in every way.