The Leavenworth Times - Leavenworth, KS
by Garon Cockrell
DVD Review: The Colony
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By Garon Cockrell
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Nov. 2, 2013 5:15 p.m.

The Colony is a post-apocalyptic science fiction horror film, in
which survivors of a new ice age band together against the elements, and
against each other. It stars Kevin Zegers as Sam, the unlikely hero; Laurence
Fishburne as Briggs, the conscientious leader of Colony 7; and Bill Paxton as
Mason, a man who served with Briggs and now is perhaps going a bit mad.
The opening shots are of
an underground bunker, eerily empty of people. Soon we become aware of distant
sounds of distress, and then suddenly see two people running from someone or
something. It cuts to the exterior of another bunker, where Hal, a sick man, is
brought out into the snow. Against the protests of Sam, Mason executes Hal to
keep him from infecting the rest of the colony.
This is a great way of
establishing two of the main characters, as well as the situation they are up
against. Sam gives us a bit of the background in voice over: “In this place, we live in fear of the common
cold. The last flu wiped out twenty people in less than a week. So now we’ve
got rules.” This is great, because we have more information than the
characters. While they’re afraid of something so common, we know also there is
something larger out there for them to fear. Sam’s voice over ends with the
line: “But it’s not the cold we have to
worry about – it’s each other.”
This group receives an
S.O.S. from Colony 5, and Briggs leads a small team to check on those folks.
Sam and a young, eager man volunteer to accompany Briggs. It’s a two-day
journey for those three to reach the other colony, and they spend the first
night inside an old helicopter, giving Sam and Briggs a chance to let us in on
a little more of the characters’ back stories (and letting us know that they
will have to stay there again on the way back).
When they reach Colony 5,
there is blood in the snow leading to the entrance. And then there is a long
ladder leading down inside. That’s frightening enough right there, because you
know they’re going to have to climb back up – and you can only go so fast on a
ladder. Once they get inside, the film gets a whole lot scarier. We know this
is the place of the opening shot, where those two people were chased. We just
don’t know yet what it was they were afraid of.
A knocking sound leads
the three to a supply room, the door of which has been repeatedly banged and
scratched at, as if someone or something was quite eager to gain access.
Inside, the team finds a terrified survivor. They ask him, “Is anyone else alive?” He responds, “Define alive.” In addition to that
cryptic response, he gives them hope by showing them a message the colony had
received from someone who had fixed a weather tower, breaking a hole through
the cloud layer.
But soon the Briggs and
the other two learn what it was that frightened that couple in the beginning of
the film, and need to make a hasty retreat themselves.
The film creates a
wonderfully frightening atmosphere – the dangerous cold temperatures, the
isolation, the fear of sickness, the claustrophobia of being underground most
of the time. And then adds to that an extreme case of people losing their
humanity. The film’s weakness is its reliance on CGI shots for most of the
exteriors, some of which just don’t look believable.
Bonus Feature
The DVD includes “The
Colony: Behind The Scenes,” which features interviews with Kevin Zegers, Bill
Paxton, Laurence Fishburne, Charlotte Sullivan, Jeff Renroe (the director) and
Pierre Gill (the director of photography). Laurence Fishburne says he hasn’t
done anything this physical in a while, and that is one of the reason he said
yes to this project. And we see a lot of the green screens used, and just how
small some of the sets actually were. What’s more interesting, however, is the
underground location shooting. This feature is approximately ten minutes.
The Colony was released on DVD and Blu-ray on October 15, 2013
through RLJ Entertainment.

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