Monday, 14 October 2013

The Colony (2013)

That's a natural disaster/exploding buildings escape sequence that Michael Bay hasn't filmed before!

In the not-too-distant future, weather machines designed to combat global warming create a new ice age instead. The earth freezes over in a snowstorm that never ends, civilisation collapses, and the remnants of humanity huddle in underground shelters, surviving on rationed soy pellets. One such colony sends a distress signal, and a rescue team is sent to investigate...

With its low budget, sparse sets, understated writing, and use of old school sci-fi ideas, one could imagine The Colony as a recently discovered, restored, and colourised feature length episode from the original run of The Twilight Zone that prefigures sci-fi horror classic Alien and the creepy atmospherics of survival horror video games like Silent Hill—while mostly conforming to 1960s TV conventions eschewing graphic violence, gore, and frightening images.

What you do get to see a lot of is the post-apocalyptic world once the rescue team leaves its base at the end of Act 1. The production’s attention to detail and world-building pays off convincingly with visions of mile-high permafrost, crumbling cityscapes and infrastructures, and almost romantic ruins of the near-future, high tech civilisation that created the weather machines.

But what of the horror? While you do get your severely rationed, downsized servings of gore, violence, and frightening images, it’s clear that The Colony operates on the Twilight Zone concept of moral horror, that it is not so much the gore, the violence, the frightening images that should scare the audience but the quiet realisation that the beast lies in the deepest recesses of the average human heart, that it is the fragility of humanity and human decency and the darkness that is so easily unleashed that is truly frightening.

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