Sam (Kevin Zegers) is one of the inhabitants of Colony 7, a remote outpost struggling to survive in a world frozen over by swirling ice and snow. Fault-lines of politics and illness are starting to divide the Colony. When a distress call is received from Colony 5, Sam volunteers to find out what`s happening. He braves the arctic wilderness with colony leader Briggs (Laurence Fishburne) and young volunteer Graydon (Atticus Dean Mitchell), only to stumble upon horrors unlike anything they`ve ever seen.
If The Colony is a horror movie, it`s rather different from its brethren. There`s actually a brain pulsing somewhere within its freeze-dried premise. Little moments of insight and icy horror seep into the film: it`s the kind of universe in which suffering something as typically ordinary as a common cold will mark you out as Public Enemy Number One. The threat that awaits Sam and his rescue brigade in Colony 5 is also an unusual antagonist in the slasher-flick world – one that bears the chilling weight of human psychology and the depths to which we can sink in order to survive.
What works rather less well are the moments when the film dips into mediocre run-for-your-life, paint-by-numbers face-offs. The threat faced by Sam et al is exaggerated rather than downplayed, turning the insidiously creepy into the frustratingly ridiculous. By the time Sam is locked in a brutal, no-holds-barred fight for his life, it finally crosses the threshold of good taste for something considerably more outrageous. It`s a moment when the promise inherent in The Colony withers a little, even as it pulls off the trick of disgusting and disappointing its viewers, all at the same time.
Ultimately, The Colony suffers from its inability to really decide what it wants to be. It`s a post-apocalyptic thriller that sheds intellectual credibility as it goes on. It`s a horror movie that really doesn`t have a whole lot of scares in it. Its cast – particularly Zegers, Fishburne and Paxton (as a power-hungry member of Colony 5) – do rather good work with what they`re given, but sometimes, it can be hard to figure out what story they`re actually trying to tell.
Summary: Coolly intriguing to start but fizzles to lukewarm by the end.
Rating: 3 out of 5 stars