Against Trite Character Types, The Colony Delivers


A lean sci-fi/horror film that nimbly balances gore with moments of nerve-jangling tension (and a firm nod to Green politics), The Colony has modest rewards: It’s decently acted, delivers some well-executed jolts, doesn’t insult the viewer’s intelligence, and is mercifully free of ironic distance. That said, the film, directed by Jeff Renfroe from a screenplay he co-wrote with Patrick Tarr, Pascal Trottier, and Svet Rouskov, is a puree of template story elements and character types. Colony 7 is one of the last known groups of humans to have survived a deadly global heat wave turned ice age, whose combined effects have forced all survivors to live in underground cities where food is rationed and the ill are carefully (if not brutally) monitored to avoid plague-like wipeouts. When a distress signal from nearby Colony 5 is followed by silence, Colony 7 leader Briggs (Laurence Fishburne) puts together a small team, with Sam (Kevin Zegers) and Graydon (Atticus Mitchell), to trek across the iced-over ruins of a fallen American city, discovering a ghoulishness that follows them back to their own compound. Most of the characters are rather flimsily sketched (Bill Paxton plays an egomaniacal ex-soldier lusting for power; Charlotte Sullivan is the kick-ass blonde with dreadlocks) but the actors hold their own as they navigate story and plot that are familiar but jump-started with just enough power to make for an effective diversion.