The Colony
"Fishburne would be watchable even in a washing powder advert and for as long as he's on screen the film just about holds itself together."

Perhaps it was climate change. Sam (Kevin Zegers) doesn't really know; he was a small child at the time. All he remembers is that one day it started snowing and it didn't stop. Now the world is covered in ice and he lives with a small group of other survivors in an underground colony, carefully cultivating seeds and dreaming of restarting the giant weather towers that once kept back the ice. One day, a distress call comes in from a neighbouring colony, followed by silence. Sam joins leader Briggs (Laurence Fishburne) and wide-eyed surface newbie Grayson (Atticus Dean Mitchell) on a rescue expedition.

Given the film's attendant publicity, it's not really a spoiler to say that what they find there is, at least for the younger two, a whole new kind of danger. To the viewer, however, it isn't new at all. There are no surprises in this film; absolutely everything happens on cue. Even the gory set-pieces are replays from better films, though for fans of such sequences they may still provide passable entertainment, at least after a few beers.

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Fishburne would be watchable even in a washing powder advert and for as long as he's on screen the film just about holds itself together, but he's the only person present who has really made the effort to develop his character. Bill Paxton, as the rival would-be colony boss, is at his worst for quite some time, spouting macho clich├ęs and putting on his tough guy face. His is a pantomime character ill at ease in a film that desperately wants us to take it seriously. Zegers, apparently, is supposed to be an anti-hero, but comes across as the plucky teenager learning the ropes. There are not many ropes to learn in a story that is barely strung together.

Watching these people flail around trying to survive, it's hard to believe they've lasted more than a week. Wrapped up in multiple layers of clothing, they still parade around outside without gloves and grab hold of metal objects. When they cross a broken bridge they rely on luck instead of ropes. When they need to defend their home, with its single point of entry, they gather not on the gantries at either side but in a large open downstairs space with lots of doors off it, about the worst possible strategic position. Of course one tries to overlook the odd slip in a film like this, but when there are so many of them it starts to look like carelessness. Rather than watching tough survivors taking on a deadly foe, we are watching something more akin to a low achieving mouse trying to fight off a gang of militant carpet beetles.

There's a degree of earnestness about this film that makes one keep rooting for it to get better, and it does at least avoid the worst of it hinted-at endings, even if it does so largely by way of not really having an ending. There's nothing particularly objectionable about it other than its rubbishness, it's just not clear why anyone would think it needed to be made.

Reviewed on: 11 Jan 2014
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A group of survivors in a post-Apocalyptic frozen world go to the aid of another colony only to uncover a deadly threat.
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Director: Jeff Renfroe

Writer: Jeff Renfroe, Svet Rouskov

Starring: Kevin Zegers, Laurence Fishburne, Bill Paxton, Charlotte Sullivan, Dru Viergever, Atticus Dean Mitchell

Year: 2013

Runtime: 95 minutes

BBFC: 18 - Age Restricted

Country: Canada


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