Horror Movies

THE COLONY. There was potential in this sci-fi horror

In The Colony, the intriguing vision of a world struck by disaster is presented.

Jakub Piwoński

28 March 2024

THE COLONY. There was potential in this sci-fi horror

We learn from it what extreme climate cooling can lead to, namely the dominance of the ecosystem by the last season of the year. This topic is quite relevant, considering the ongoing appeals and research conducted by the scientific community regarding the threats posed by weather anomalies resulting from global warming.

There have been relatively few winter apocalypses in cinema – the most important one being Altman‘s Quintet, and the most popular being Emmerich’s The Day After Tomorrow. It’s a pity that the creators of the film The Colony completely failed to capitalize on this “climatic” potential because there is barely a quarter of frosty atmosphere in it, and the rest of the screening time is filled with a festival of numbing stupidity.

The Colony Kevin Zegers Laurence Fishburne Bill Paxton

Right from the start, through the off-screen narrator (as usual completely unnecessary), we learn what the story presented in the film is based on. The Earth covered in snow no longer resembles the place it once was. Humanity gathers in underground shelters, forming colonies of survivors from the global catastrophe. Colony 7, to which the film’s protagonists belong, soon receives a mysterious SOS signal sent from another, friendly colony. An expedition is organized, consisting of three people, whose goal is to clarify the situation in which the settlers sending the message found themselves.

The Colony Bill Paxton

It’s not difficult to predict what awaits the characters as they uncover the genesis of the mysterious signal. However, if you still have doubts about this matter, watching the trailer should effectively dispel them. The creators of The Colony opted for the most clichéd plot solution for post-apocalyptic cinema, popularized in the famous The Last Man on Earth and repeatedly imitated afterward. The protagonist and those closest to him are walking embodiments of humanism, against whom – at the appropriate stage of intrigue – a group of ominous mutants appears, embodying deeply hidden layers of animality. You know the picture, right? Typically, this whole setup is intended to once again give the viewer a clear demonstration of what a human disconnected from their human identity might look and behave like. But for heaven’s sake, how much longer? The art lies in using a tried-and-tested formula creatively, not just mechanically filling in the script.

The Colony

And that’s the whole problem with The Colony. Without utilizing an interesting initial idea, a painfully derivative plot is pieced together, serving up all the clichés with such deadly seriousness as if they were pinnacles of screenwriting. And as if that weren’t enough, the film is filled with scenes that reject rationality. I must admit that I will not soon forget the moment when a group of settlers, armed with firearms, upon seeing a pack of cannibalistic mutants charging towards them, decide to flee, completely forgetting about what they are holding in their hands and how to use it. But then, this sequence would have ended in 30 seconds, and a film must be filled with some action.

The Colony Kevin Zegers Laurence Fishburne

But the problems don’t end with the screenplay. The production screams with a general “cheapness” because it was made on a relatively small budget. Looking at the wintry landscapes, one cannot shake off the impression that they were entirely CGI, and the actors didn’t even feel a hint of cold, as during the filming they surely didn’t even stick their noses out of the studio. Therefore, there is not a shred of realism in the film. I would wager that the lion’s share of the $16 million budget went to the two actor’s salaries. The film features two well-known names – Laurence Fishburne and Bill Paxton – who were supposed to be a magnet for the audience, but surely no one doubts that their acting heydays are long gone. Unfortunately, in The Colony, these actors do not in any way suggest that one could think differently of them. Paradoxically, however, Paxton delivered the most interesting performance in the film, but perhaps that’s because his Manson – a ruthless former soldier – is not a one-dimensional character and contrasts the unnatural and idealized altruism of the rest of the characters with purely rational motives.

The Colony Kevin Zegers  Bill Paxton

Enough tongue-wagging. Although there was potential in the initial idea of The Colony, the way to bring it to life turned out to be alarmingly bad. You can’t even peg this movie under the guilty pleasure criterion because, due to its inflated level of pomposity, it loses to many B-movie classics, which often stand out for their greater creative flair. The creators of The Colony molded such an unwieldy, almost caricatural snowman that it’s hard not to look at it with a face of pity written all over.

Jakub Piwoński

Jakub Piwoński

Cultural expert, passionate about popular culture, in particular films, series, computer games and comics. He likes to fly away to unknown, fantastic regions, thanks to his fascination with science fiction. Professionally, however, he looks back more often, thanks to his work as a museum promotion specialist, investigating the mysteries of the beginnings of cinematography. His favorite film is "The Matrix", because it combines two areas close to his heart - religion and martial arts.

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