So I saw a trailer for The Colony when I went to see Olympus Has Fallen. It followed the trailer for After Earth, which made me think about Titan A.E. and how nobody really liked it but I thought it was good and so did my friend DJ but we've never sat down to watch it together which is strange.
While watching the trailer for The Colony, two things came to mind.
Thing #1: It seems that every sci-fi movie nowadays is about the post-apocalypse.
Thing #2: People aren't scary.
About that first thing, the fact that a lot of contemporary sci-fi is preoccupied with post-apocalyptic scenarios is rather telling. Future film theorists will theorize that we were afraid for our future (their present or past depending on how long this civilization lasts), a fear probably brought on by a cynical/pessimistic dissatisfaction with the present. Whatever the factors--social, political, climatological, or religious--the current state of affairs can only lead to apocalyptic disaster which more often than not manifests as either natural disaster or zombies (which may or may not be a kind of natural disaster in its own right).
This leads me the second thing, about people being scary. First I need to lay some foundation: I'm bored with zombies, and that boredom clouds my judgement and totally biases me against zombie movies. I'm including not-zombie movies, too. Films like 28 Days Later or Carriers in which people are sick and behave like Zack Snyder zombies (they're fast!) but are not actually dead (or undead).
I'm not so blinded by prejudice that I don't understand the point of the "zombie" film, that it's about the survivors, but how many times am I expected to watch the same plot? Not story. Plot. Plot is what happens, story is how the plot unfolds. Sometimes a movie manages to break the mold, Zombieland and Shaun of the Dead, for instance, are stylistic and funny, and Dead and Breakfast is just ridiculous fun. But most zombie movies, for the most part, are the cinematic manifestation of repetitive stress disorder. Just the same shit over and over again.
And then along comes The Colony, a post-apocalyptic survival movie about not-zombies. From the trailer the villains appear to be hunger-crazed people, who may or may not be possessed with a suite of super powers including speed, aggression, and noisiness. In much the same way that zombies have ceased to be scary through over-exposure, so too have not-zombies. There's nothing scary about a hungry, feral cannibal other than the immediate threat he poses. His motivations are known, his behaviour is predictable; he's all style and no substance, just like all those that came before.
Now if the hungry cannibal wore a mask of civility and behaved as normal person, just doing his best to survive the in the barren wasteland of the future (in this case, a snow-covered one), then he'd inject some substance into the picture. The insidious nature of the danger he poses would have long-lasting repercussions, would threaten the very nature of what it means to be human. He still might no be scary, but what he represents would be terrifying.
Maybe instead of The Colony, we should all just watch Ravenous. It's pretty much the same thing, based on The Colony's trailer, and likely a hundred times better.