The Colony (2013)

In the near future, humanity tried to combat global warming by building giant devices that cooled the atmosphere. The cooling effect was so extreme that the whole world froze and it constantly snows. The last surviving humans live in large underground complexes, and are struggling to survive from a deadly flu virus and a diminishing food production. One of these bases is Colony 7, which one day receives a distress call from nearby Colony 5. The leader of Colony 7 Briggs travels there with a team to investigate what’s going on. When arriving at Colony 5, they encounter a terror that threatens their life and that of all inhabitants of Colony 7.

It is easy to dismiss The Colony as an uninspired medley of 30 years of modern Sci-Fi Horror cinema. One could indeed create a long list of movies The Colony has borrowed themes from. First and foremost it takes the desolate atmosphere, arctic setting and violent threats that were presented in movies like The Thing and 30 Days of Night. It is true that the plot has little originality, but there are still a couple of interesting elements to it, that ultimately render The Colony a decent affair.

Production-wise there’s not much to complain. The inside scenes were shot in a real underground military complex, which provides a proper ambiance. The outside scenes of the frozen world are beautiful and eerie. CGI and practical effects are executed professionally. The characters are not really worked out in much detail, but due to the competent performance of the involved actors, one still starts to care for them as the movie progresses. Overall, there’s plenty of thrills, action and violence to keep things entertaining.

What’s left of humanity is facing annihilation right from the beginning of the movie. The decimated inhabitants are facing multiple threats to their life from all different sources: the deadly frost, a lethal flu virus, dying plants and animal feed-stocks, internal power struggles, and the acutely lethal threat emanating from Colony 5. In doing so, the movie achieves a constant tension level, as all these dangers are resurfacing during the course of the movie.

One noteworthy thing is that the setting for The Colony is provided by the consequences of humanity’s attempt to stop global warming. Unfortunately, in this respect, The Colony is just like practically any other Sci-Fi movie that uses some sort of climate catastrophe as cause for an otherwise generic post-apocalyptic scenario. One problem with broaching the issue of global warming in movies is that the current scientific consensus does not predict a happy end for humanity if things continue as they are. Topics such as space travel, trans-humanism, genetic engineering etc. are more ambiguous in their outlooks, so at least the possibility for a positive development is there, which may appeal to audiences more.

The Colony is not an original movie, but I can appreciate its modesty, intended or not. It’s suspenseful and moves at a good pace, and overall an unspectacular, but entertaining entry to the Sci-Fi Horror genre.

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