August 3, 2013

The Colony (2013)

"Forced underground by the next ice age, a struggling outpost of survivors must fight to preserve humanity against a threat even more savage than nature."

If you're Canadian, I'm sure you saw "The Colony" (and hated it!) when it was released theatrically back in April. It's not due to be released in the US for another four weeks, and it'll be October before it's available on DVD and Blu-ray. As usual, the pirates have already leaked it online, and it doesn't take much to find it on any of the major video streaming sites. Shame on you, pirates, but thank you too.

One thing which really aggravates movie reviewers is how some areas get to see movies before others. Even more irritating is the privileged clique of usually sycophantic movie reviewers who get access to new movies and can write their spoiler-laden critiques before anyone has even heard of the movie that they've written about. Such is the case with "The Colony" as it already has over 30 external reviews on its IMDb page, and it isn't even officially out yet!

Even some online Canadian friends of mine hadn't heard of "The Colony" before I mentioned it, yet it has a ton of negative reviews surrounding it for no apparent reason other than it was partially funded by Telefilm (or the Canadian equivalent to the BBC) and people feel that their taxes were wasted on it. Feel free to correct me if I'm wrong about the name of the company and their level of involvement because I only skimmed those reviews for obvious reasons.

The thing is, I enjoyed "The Colony" and have no reason to hate it whatsoever.

"I say we grease this rat-fuck son-of-a-bitch right now."

Okay, so "The Colony" is only "The Day After Tomorrow" (2004) with feral human cannibals in it, and superficially, it has a bit of a "28 Days Later" (2002) and "30 Days of Night" (2007) vibe to it as well, but there has never been an original Canadian movie in the entire history of movies, so it's nothing to get too upset about. In every case of a Canadian horror movie that I've ever seen in my life, all they've done is take three or four existing movies and mix them together with a big stick and some maple syrup.

Owing to the fact that I did read some of the review headlines accidentally, I will agree with the majority opinion that Bill Paxton is mostly wasted in his role as a power-hungry asshole, but he's still Bill Paxton, and he's awesome anyway. Laurence Fishburne also doesn't get to do a lot except for one very important action—an overused trope which is one of my biggest pet peeves in any American action movie ever—but again, Laurence Fishburne is still cool and always will be (apart from "Predators" which is best forgotten about). These two stars add some class to a movie otherwise filled with "no-name" TV actors, although to be fair, a few of us have heard of Kevin Zegers because of "Wrong Turn" (2003) and "Frozen" (2010).

I've never heard of Charlotte Sullivan before, but now that I've seen her—noting that she looks like a hybrid of Melissa George and Avril Lavigne—I wouldn't mind seeing a lot more of her. Yes, a pretty girl can save almost any movie that I watch, and I really am that shallow. She's a very good actress, and her chameleon-like ability to resemble so many other known actresses will surely help her career enormously. She doesn't have the biggest part in "The Colony", but her performance is nothing to be ashamed of.

Not Melissa George or Avril Lavigne when you get up close.

Cinematography-wise, "The Colony" looks fantastic. It was all filmed around an abandoned NORAD base in North Bay, Ontario, Canada, so the location is everything. It certainly looks the part, unlike some of the jarring CGI-effects and Dru Viergever who plays the feral leader as a pointy-teethed escapee from one of the "Mad Max" films.

Yes, I had to go there, and having gone there, I am now forced to mention the ever multiplying ferals who create all the lapses in logic possible. Breeding in bizarre numbers according to how many are needed in each scene is the least of their problems. How and why adults would turn en masse into cannibalistic maniacs who've lost the power of speech over presumably only ten years is a plot hole which doesn't even bear thinking about. Sometimes you just have to take things for what they are and ignore the lack of realism if you want to enjoy an action movie. At least it doesn't suffer from the magically reloading guns nonsense.

There's definitely plenty of action and a surprising amount of gore in "The Colony" which pleased me no end and is sure to please you. Having watched the movie cold (no pun intended but still acknowledged), I thought it was just going to be a predictable sci-fi movie about survivors in a frozen apocalyptic future such as a short story I read many years ago in one of the "Mammoth Books of New Horror" (sorry, I've forgotten the name of it, but it's not the Tim Lebbon one!), so I was extremely happy when the ferals appeared. Some of the scenes are rushed, but not enough to matter. You can forget about suspense or scares though because it's not really that kind of horror movie.

I'm going to rate "The Colony" as average, although it becomes a lot less than average once you factor in the $16,000,000 budget and wonder what it was spent on. There's been no big marketing campaign or buzz about this movie, so I really can't see how it cost that much to make a Canadian sci-fi/action adventure in the first place. I thought filming was supposed to be cheaper over the border even if you have some famous names attached.

I'll probably buy "The Colony" when it comes out on DVD, but I suggest seeing it theatrically (if you can), or as a VOD or Redbox rental, before going for a blind buy. If you like "The Day After Tomorrow" and "30 Days of Night", this is almost a sequel to the former and a half-way house to the latter. It's not very original, but it's not as bad as some people want you to believe.

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