The Colony (2013): Violence on Ice

Film Poster for The Colony
The 2013 film The Colony, starring Lawrence Fishburne (Hannibal, Predators) Bill Paxton (Agents of SHIELD, Nightcrawler) and Kevin Zegers (Gossip Girl, Dawn of the Dead) is about a second ice age caused by man’s tinkering with the planet’s global warming issues and survivors holding out against the big freeze. Directed and co-written by Jeff Renfroe (Sand Serpents, Civic Duty) The Colony is a post apocalyptic horror story set in the frozen remains of civilization that turns into a violence on ice escapade rather than pure science fiction.

The few groups of humanity that have survived do so underground. In Colony 5, Briggs (Fishburne) runs the population fairly but disease is a constant worry and his second in command, Mason (Paxton) has to eliminate the sick before they can spread the contamination and endanger the entire colony. An SOS from Colony 7, another nest of survivors that Briggs’ community have an agreement with, sends the leader, Sam (Zeger) and a young lad to see what is going on and to see if they can help.

Briggs leaves Kai (Charlotte Sullivan) in charge, much to Mason’s annoyance, and the three men go to the other colony to help. Once there they discover two things. A message from yet another colony saying that they managed to get the weather adapter to work and thaw out the permafrost and an insane group of cannibals who have killed everyone, bar one survivor, and are still carving the meat up when Briggs and company arrive.

The rest of the film is pretty much a race to first escape the cannibals and then to defeat them. The film does shift gear from its beginning premise, changing from a science fiction only film to one that includes quite a lot of fighting and action. The character interaction is still quite good and no-one plays an arse as good as Bill Paxton. Like his other roles, the man does have a sort of mini-redemption but it is too late to save many of his fellow colonists.

In movies like these, the “big” names, like Fishburne and Paxton, usually check out fairly early in the proceedings. The Colony allows Fishburne to live at least halfway through the film and Paxton’s character makes it to the last reel. Pretty impressive stuff and it was nice to see Lawrence used more than in other science fiction films; for example Predators, where the movie could have benefitted from seeing more of his insane survivor.

Zegers does a good job as the man saved by Briggs when he was a boy stranded in the ice land alone who then rises to the occasion to help save the day. Sullivan as Kai does a good job as the pistol packing girlfriend of Sam but she does not get a lot of screen time. Paxton is, as usual, excellent as the executioner who wants to kill off anyone at the first sign of a sniffle.

Dru Viergever (Survival of the Dead, Goldirocks) does a good job as the “feral leader” who rules the cannibals and leads the attack on the new colony. Granted most of his dialogue consisted of screaming and howling although when asked by Sam what he wants, the cannibal leader manages to roar, “More!”

Certainly not a bad film and it does benefit from Fishburne and Paxton being in the cast but this is not earth shatteringly different from other post apocalyptic movies out there. A solid 3.5 out of 5 stars and worth watching, even though we know that the surrounding scenery is all CG. Streaming on US Netflix at the moment.