MRR Review: "The Colony"

Photo Credit: Image Entertainment

MRR Review: "The Colony"

Rating: NR
Length: 95 min
Release date: Sept. 20, 2013
Directed by: Jeff Renfroe
Genre: Action, Sci-Fi, Thriller

"The Colony" is a 2013 film by Canadian director Jeff Renfroe. The film stars Laurence Fishburne, a legendary actor best known for his role as Morpheus in "The Matrix." Fishburne plays Briggs, one of the leaders of Colony 7. The film opens in a post-apocalyptic world that is using machines to stave off the effects of global warming. One day the machines malfunctioned, throwing the entire Earth into freezing conditions and forcing the remnants of humanity into underground communities known as colonies. A loosely banded military is all that stands between humanity and extinction. Briggs works alongside Mason, a fellow soldier, to produce what little food they can and to keep living conditions as hospitable as possible.

A distress call from Colony 5 lures Briggs out, along with a team including Sam and Graydon, to track down the survivors in need of help. When the group arrives, they quickly realize that something is amiss. The blood-stained cityscape of Colony 5 tells the story of a disturbing series of events and points to a sinister presence. The group stumbles upon Leyland, an unsettled survivor who has become reclusive and insane due to some unknown trauma. Leyland points them in the direction of some invaluable information that gives them clues as to what happened to the nearly abandoned colony. The group discovers that the former colony leaders had found a way to thaw the earth and planned to plant crops for food.

Hope doesn't last long as Briggs' group soon finds a group of ravenous cannibals consuming the last of the Colony 5 survivors. Horrified, they run, only to lose two members before Sam eventually makes it back to Colony 7. Sam has no choice but to try to convince Mason and the others of what he has seen and protect the last survivors of humanity from the monsters created by starvation and an inhospitable climate. On top of it all, he must also find a way to lead the survivors to the portion of the earth that the Colony 5 crew managed to thaw out.

"The Colony" is a fast-paced thriller that will have you on the edge of your seat from start to finish. The post-apocalyptic world is so vivid that you become instantly immersed, making the claustrophobic and frozen setting all the more compelling. The characters are easy to relate to and react believably within their surroundings, forced to do the best they can in a world of nightmares. Things quickly progress from bad to worse upon the discovery of the eerily silent Colony 5, and the scenes of exploration for Briggs' team are highly suspenseful. The film moves quickly through its various plot arcs, culminating in a shocking yet appropriate ending. "The Colony" manages to take some of the most beloved science fiction tropes and storylines and put a truly unique spin on them, while adding in a fresh twist that is all its own. Fans of classic science fiction will undoubtedly enjoy this film that pays homage to so many of the great classic films.

Fishburne steals the show as Briggs, a tough yet compassionate leader. His character is not only brave, but willing to make sacrifices for his team members as well as for the whole of humanity. Although he may seem harsh at times, it's clear that the future of humanity is his number one priority, and that he'll do anything to preserve it. The rest of the cast is equally talented, including Kevin Zegers as Sam and Bill Paxton as the spirited Mason. The later tension between Sam and Mason adds plenty of drama to the film, setting the groundwork for an epic power struggle. Although there are plenty of shocking moments, "The Colony" is a science fiction film about the determination and ingenuity of humanity more than monsters in an underground lair. Amid the jump scares and gory moments, "The Colony" is a story of hope and resourcefulness.

Although "The Colony" uses limited CGI, its monsters are some of the most frightening of any recent film. They may appear human, but the cannibals are shockingly inhumane, making their every appearance on screen every bit as chilling as the frozen world they inhabit. The main cast is easy to root for and their characters are well developed, lending plausibility and emotion to the storyline. "The Colony" is an intense film that provokes deep thought and will stay with you long after you leave the theater. The film was so successful after its Canadian release that it is said to be a game changer for the Canadian film industry, inspiring future directors and producers to look north for their next blockbuster.

Rating: 3 out of 5