The Colony [Blu-Ray] Jeff Renfroe

The Colony [Blu-Ray] Jeff Renfroe
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A Canadian production that had only a small opening in its native land will soon be released straight-to-DVD in the U.S., The Colony is the kind of effective sci-fi thriller that deserves a wider release. It boasts established actors in the genre, such as Laurence Fishburne and Bill Paxton, alongside a young Canadian lead (Kevin Zegers), economically establishing the character dynamics within a world grounded in reality before revealing itself as more of a creature feature. Set in a not-too-distant future, one where the world has been turned into a frozen wasteland by the onset of a new Ice Age, survivors have taken to living underground in groups. At Colony 7, Briggs (Fishburne) is the de facto leader, forced to contend with the stubborn, power-hungry Mason (Paxton), whose trigger-happy executions of the sick are starting to look like symptoms of a larger problem. Answering a distress signal from a neighbouring colony, Briggs takes a trip to the surface to investigate with Sam (Zegers), a grown-up man-boy he took under his wing years ago, and a courageous youngster, Graydon (Atticus Dean Mitchell). What they find is a massacre and a lurking pack of predators. While the creatures are scary enough, they're also sort of confusing. They appear at first to be cannibals — said to be motivated by extreme hunger — but are more concerned with stabbing people than actually eating them. When asked point-blank in a key moment about what he wants, the lead humanoid can only snarl hilariously in his one line of dialogue, "More!" Revelling in the atmosphere of eerie silences and not above a quick, choreographed knife fight or two, this is a tongue-in-cheek blockbuster on a budget that succeeds by working in simple and recognizable conventions. Paxton wears the role of manipulative blowhard like a well-fitting suit, Fishburne reaffirms his status as an unassailable badass and Zegers makes for a passable, far more inexpensive, home-grown version of Zac Efron or Aaron Paul. There are disappointingly few extras to be found, with only a short making-of featurette included. While this consists mostly of bland interviews with the cast and director, it does offer some glimpses of what it was like shooting on location at the NORAD complex in North Bay and how green screens, careful planning and sets with moving parts were used to help create an important bridge scene without spending a fortune. (eOne)