The Colony directed by Jeff Renfroe takes up the familiar theme of human survival in a post-apocalyptic world. In films of note with similar themes, the outcome takes a backseat and works just as gravy while the focus is on defining that world and its ways. There is more detail, there are more fleshed out characters and there definitely will be a preoccupation with thematic possibilities. Think Dark City. But The Colony wants nothing to do with such things.
The film deals with a bunch of survivors braving the cold climate after the breakdown of weather machines built to control warming (It is not as ridiculous as it sounds). So they live in underground bunkers with whatever supply they can gather and these are referred to as Colonies. When one of the nearby colonies sends a distress signal and goes incommunicado shortly after, Briggs (Laurence Fishburne) and Sam (Kevin Zegers) set out to investigate. What they find out delivers the chills as intended but everything that comes after is trite and prolonged. There is no effort to make us invest in these characters and their future whatsoever.
It is touted as a science-fiction thriller but there is very little of either in the film. The former is relegated to mostly the setting while the latter is supposed to be the rest of the film but keeps it devoid of any character or redeeming feature. Laurence Fishburne gets a very Laurence Fishburne role of leading a pack of survivors through the catastrophe against enemies both known and unknown. It is something about actors who aren’t exactly A-listers in the sense that you don’t see them everywhere from films to magazines to online pop culture but end up in some iconic film playing an iconic character. From then on, it gives a feeling that they are still playing the same role. For Laurence Fishburne, it is of course The Matrix and Morpheus. The satisfying portions mostly vanish when he is not on screen and his team’s journey through the snow-ravaged city from Colony 7 to Colony 5 is one of the few interesting parts of the film.
On the ill-fated way back to Colony 7, Briggs tells Sam how when one turns feral, one tends to lose all humanity. But then what if there was no soul to begin with?