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Film / The Colony

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The Colony is a post-apocalytic survival film starring Laurence Fishburne, Bill Paxton, and Kevin Zegers.

The year is 2045, and humanity has been nearly eradicated by a globe-spanning winter. Pockets of civilization remain, hiding from the cold in underground structures. The residents of Colony 7 receive a distress signal from Colony 5 and go to investigate, setting off a chain of events that will change their lives forever.

This film contains examples of:

  • A House Divided: The first act sets things up that way, but by the time the Tyrant Takes the Helm, there's bigger things to worry about.
  • After the End: Endless winter has killed pretty much everything on the surface, and humanity isn't far off.
  • Air Vent Escape: Used by the cannibals to get around the defended door, and by the survivors to escape to the surface. Unlike other examples of this trope, climbing through the vents is very noisy.
  • Apocalypse How: Societal Collapse, verging on Extinction. It seems extremely unlikely that humanity will survive.
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  • Asskicking Equals Authority: The Cannibal Leader is a pretty powerful hand-to-hand combatant and Briggs is a Retired Badass good enough to pull a pretty decent You Shall Not Pass! Taking You with Me Last Stand.
  • Battle Amongst the Flames: Sam vs. the Cannibal Leader, on the burning warehouse of Colony 7.
  • Big Blackout: Played with; as the cannibals are breaking into Colony 7 the lights flicker causing a Mass "Oh, Crap!", but don't go out.
  • Bittersweet Ending: On one end, the Cannibal Tribe is killed off, and Colony 7 now knows that another group has managed to fix some of the damage by the Weather Control Machines and made an "oasis", that they now have the coordinates of. On the other hand, Colony 7 has been completely destroyed, and only a handful of people (and one can full of seeds out of an entire warehouse) has survived. They now have no other option but to get to the oasis or perish. Sam has also been somewhat Maddened Into Misanthropy, if his final narrative speech (where he says that the only rule that matters now is "survive") is taken at face value.
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  • Book-Ends: The film starts with a man and a woman frantically hammering on a metal door at Colony 5. Later Mason locks the door on Sam and Kai, but fortunately Nara knocks him out and opens it in time.
  • Bring News Back: Even with the cannibal tribe following him, Sam has to return to Colony 7 to tell them about the colony that's got a weather machine working. The other colony has fertile soil and sunlight but no seeds, which Colony 7 has.
  • Cannibal Larder: What Briggs's group walk right into when they investigate the thunking noise at Colony 5.
  • Cannibal Tribe: One serves as the central threat.
  • Captain Smooth and Sergeant Rough: The Briggs/Mason division. Briggs is a Reasonable Authority Figure that tries to run the Colony with fairness (such as giving sick people time off in quarantine and testing before having to give them the Sadistic Choice of exile or death, as per procedure, and choosing to check on Colony 5 because they've made an agreement with it that includes going to check if it's in trouble) and Mason (who only bothers about the survival of Colony 7, no matter what).
  • Catapult Nightmare: Sam dreaming of finding his mother frozen to death.
  • Cold Equation: Anyone falling sick is expelled from the colony if they don't get better. Briggs mentions an incident where refugees in a stadium were shooting people once the food started to run out.
  • Decapitation Presentation: Cannibal Leader holds up the head of the man who escaped being shot by Mason to the security camera, then destroys the camera.
  • David vs. Goliath: Sam vs. the Cannibal Leader. Sam spends a good chunk of the fight being flung around and battered mercilessly.
  • Earth That Was: Graydon enthuses about finding a crashed helicopter, wondering what it would be like to fly in one, and puzzles over a swimsuit magazine with its scantily-clad women frolicking in the sun. Briggs suggests he use it for a more pragmatic purpose.
  • Fangs Are Evil: The cannibals are quickly identified as villains by their file-sharpened teeth.
  • Finger-Twitching Revival: Played with; in the Cannibal Larder there's a pile of dismembered bodies, with a hand twitching as if a victim is still alive. However it turns out there are cannibals sleeping among them, so it may have just been one of them asleep.
  • For the Evulz: The only reason we get about why the cannibal tribe is doing all the horrible things it's doing is because they want "more".
  • Gone Mad From The Isolation: The Sole Survivor of Colony 5 has locked himself behind a steel door, and won't come out for any reason even though he's starving to death.
  • Hard-to-Light Fire: The fuse of the dynamite Briggs sets on the bridge doesn't light easily, and blows out when he plants it, forcing him to go back and blow it up himself in a Heroic Sacrifice. And it doesn't light easily the second time, either.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Two major ones.
    • Briggs blows himself up to destroy the bridge between Colony 7 and Colony 5. The cannibals end up taking the long route, but he still killed quite a few of them.
    • Mason later shoots a propane tank to take out all but the leader.
  • He Who Fights Monsters: Sam beats and decapitates Cannibal Leader in a savage frenzy, and says at the end that the only rule left is to survive.
  • I'm a Humanitarian: The cannibal tribe has turned to this either from going mad or getting truly desperate.
  • Incurable Cough of Death: The first symptom of disease amongst the Colony 7 survivors-and literally because Mason's first option for dealing with sick people is Boom, Headshot!. One man desperately tries to keep his sick wife from being heard by others when she develops it.
  • Ironic Echo: "Nothing Personal."
  • Jerkass: Mason.
  • Jerkass Has a Point
    • Mason opposes the mission to Colony 5 on the grounds that they're unlikely to be able to help and that the resources would be better spent preserving themselves. He's proven right on both counts.
    • Mason also criticizes Sam for leaving a trail that brings the cannibals back to Colony 7. Sam knew the cannibals were following his footprints and that there was another way across the river, so he knew coming home would directly endanger the colony.
  • Large and in Charge: Cannibal Leader
  • Leave Behind a Pistol: Sam leaves a pistol for a wounded Mason, who points it at Sam as if to shoot him. Sam coldly reminds him that he's going to need every bullet against the cannibals who are breaking through the door.
  • Misplaced-Names Poster: Laurence Fishburne is Bill Paxton and Bill Paxton is Laurence Fishburne.
  • Never Split The Party: On seeing a blood trail leading into the dark chimney, Graydon nervously suggests he wait up on the surface. The others force him to come along, but he gets too far ahead of the others while they're fleeing the cannibals, and is killed.
  • No-Holds-Barred Beatdown: Administered by Sam to the Cannibal Leader with an iron bar to end the fight. Turns out that the Leader is tough enough (and smart enough) to be able to play dead, prompting Sam to find a different way to make sure he's finished for good...
  • Noisy Guns: A double-barrelled shotgun makes a pump-action sound.
  • Off with His Head!: The cannibal leader is killed by Sam chopping his head off. From the jaw upwards.
  • Percussive Pickpocket: Also serves as a Chekhov's Gun. The kid steals Briggs' lighter, but Briggs notices (just as well as he needs it to light the dynamite). Later Sam is handcuffed to a bed, so the kid lifts the handcuff key off Mason.
  • Retired Badass: It doesn't often come up during the day-to-day of managing the colony, but with his military background Briggs can hold his own in melee combat.
  • Rope Bridge: One made of concrete and steel girders, but falling apart after years of harsh weather and neglect.
  • Sadistic Choice: Anyone who gets sick and fails to get better has two options: a bullet or walking off into the snow, never to return. Mason doesn't even give them the luxury of walking, convinced they'll just get desperate and come back for a bullet anyway.
  • Sanity Slippage: The Cannibals have clearly lost all semblance of sanity, Mason starts to lose his earlier on and it's hinted that it might be the case for Sam at the end.
  • Screaming Warrior: Cannibal Leader and the rest of his tribe. Justified as they've become The Speechless.
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: The only survivor from Colony 5 insists on locking himself up inside of a heavily-reinforced room and forces the Colony 7 team out after giving them some exposition on the "oasis" that another group of colonists made. Pity he didn't told them much about the cannibals, though.
  • Send in the Search Team: The first act of the story-sending someone to find out why Colony 5 stopped transmitting.
  • Shell-Shock Silence: The first time Briggs sets off a dynamite charge it's underground, hence the aversion of Steel Eardrums.
  • Shout-Out: Cannibal Leader saying that the only thing he wanted was "More" may be one to Oliver Twist. Remember the "more" Oliver asks for is more food, about the only thing that matters to the cannibals.
  • Shoot the Fuel Tank: Used effectively against the cannibals in Mason's last stand.
  • The Speechless: The Cannibal Leader is the only member of their tribe we hear speak, and only a single word: "More."
  • Stand Your Ground: Attempted by Viktor, but he doesn't have the authority or combat skill to uphold it.
  • Super-Persistent Predator: The cannibal tribe will not stop, despite the fact that chasing the protagonists is killing them off quickly. Perhaps justifiable since they really have no other source of food.
  • The Chase: The second half of the film.
  • Tyrant Takes the Helm: Once news of Briggs' death reaches Colony 7, Mason tries to take charge. The cannibals quickly take that option off the table.
  • Weather-Control Machine: The reason for the eternal winter. They were initially built to combat global warming. They certainly made it colder. One group of humans has managed to get one back online and undone the cloud cover in their vicinity.


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