Despite what Hollywood might have you believe, we've learnt over the last two decades that multi-million dollar budgets don't always amount to great filmic masterpieces. Creativity and originality will always triumph; something that Jeff Renroe's low-budget sci-fi horror flick, The Colony, sorely lacks.

After the failure of manmade 'weather controlling' machines – which were built with the intention to regulate the climate – Earth has now entered a new Ice Age. Set in 2045, the survivors are now living in colonies, forced to find shelter in underground bunkers of an industrial compound. Illness and disease is a major concern for the colony; the slightest indication of sickness can drive people into quarantine, compelling many to either look for refuge elsewhere or face execution.

The group leader, Briggs (Fishburne), loves to play by the rules and has a heart of gold. However, he has difficulty controlling the colony as his second-in-command, rabble-rouser Mason (Paxton), is quick to execute the sick and refuses to stick to any guidelines or moral compass.

Their differences are soon put aside, however, when the group picks up a distress signal from a neighbouring colony. Briggs, along with colony members, Sam (Zegers) and Graydon (Mitchell), decide to go and investigate. Upon arrival, however, they find an army of cannibalistic, zombie-looking creatures which threaten to put the already frenzied colony in an even more haphazard situation.

The script, written by Jeff Renoe with the aid of two other credited writers, is just plain messy and choppy, leaving viewers with a convoluted and over-complicated picture. With too many ideas crammed into one film, the lack of cohesiveness and threading is particularly damaging to the plot.

The only shining light comes courtesy of the always dependable Laurence Fishburne, who provides the film with both humanity and substance. Zegers is also fairly likable throughout, though veteran actor, Paxton, embodies his lawless character with permanent rage, which translates into an unnecessarily melodramatic turn.

In the end, it feels like Renoe has bitten off more than he can chew. Part survival story, part apocalyptic eco-disaster film and part zombie film, The Colony fails to commit to any of those genres, or mesh them together. From cheap-looking visuals to failed narratives, it's only the acting clout of Laurence Fishburne that saves the film from wallowing in the abyss of straight-to-DVD status.