‘COLONIALS’ (2023) Proves You Can Do High-Concept Indie Sci-Fi

What If Humans Succefully Colonized Mars?

In Epic Pictures‘ indie sci-fi Colonials, we’re introduced to a reality where humans successfully colonized Mars for around 60 years or so. As a direct result, humans have evolved to be a little more than average. Stronger, bigger, longer life expectancy. They also call themselves Colonials.

Colonials (2023) Synopsis

Silas (Greg Kriek, Black Mirror 2019) a space colonist from Mars, embarks on a reconnaissance mission to Earth to figure out what happened to the ‘humans of old’. The Exiles, an evil and advanced Moon-based- civilization, intercept Silas’s squad and destroys their ship just outside Earth’s atmosphere sending Silas crashing to Earth alone. Having lost his memory upon landing, Silas must figure out who he is and what his purpose on Earth is before the Exiles locate and destroy him.

Greg Kriek as Silas

The film starts with young Colonial explorer Silas who’s away on a special mission that will determine if he becomes a full-fledged Colonial. He and two other peers, Jessie (Katy Purnell Vice Principals 2016) and Allie (Cass Huckabay Outsiders 2021) are about to complete their mission when they’re attacked by an unknown (to them) assailant. Silas escapes their ship and crash lands back on Earth.

Mike Ferguson (Amityville Uprising 2022) as Exile leader Grom

He’s discovered by two resistance fighters, Thomas (B.A. Tobin Syn 2017) and Zoey (Jamie Bernadette I Spit on Your Grave: Deja Vu 2019), who learns he has amnesia. Thus begins the adventure as Silas tries to remember who he is, along with the resistance fighters trying to determine if he’s a friend or foe. Meanwhile, Silas’s father Cyrus (Jeremy John Wells Oppenheimer 2023), a Colonial senator, tries to convince them to send a rescue mission, as The Exiled begin their own mission to capture Silas.

Thomas (B.A. Tobin) and Zoey (Jamie Bernadette) tend to bicker in high-stress situations.

A Good Example of ‘High Concept’ on an Indie Sci-Fi Budget

Colonials is a fun watch for those who really love the indie sci-fi genre that leans more into the adventure and fantasy side. Something I appreciated about the film was its use of CG animation for manipulating environments and creating characters. 

There are some moments that look a little video gamey, but I hold respect for the efforts made. And I mean, c’mon, video games these days have AMAZING designs! It’s not like the 8-bit graphics from days of old. Doing some work in Unreal Engine myself, I can say I think they’re pretty stellar graphics. But I know some viewers who lack understanding of what goes into the processes tend to be the harsher critics.

In any case, it doesn’t take you away from the heart of what the filmmakers accomplished. And I’m always happy to see filmmakers “getting it done” when they’re typically told, “That’s too expensive”. And honestly, while watching, all I could think was “Man, I bet that was fun to shoot!” Being in the moment all action-hero(ine) and such.

Last But Not Least…

The performances in the film are up to par. Colonials, in a way, felt like a Saturday afternoon matinee watch from my childhood. Only with way better visual fx. I remember being a kid, and stumbling onto some fun flicks that are now known as ‘cult-classics’ or ‘indie gems’.

And I can’t end this review without mentioning, Spark (voiced by Jon Provost Lassie 1957). No indie sci-fi adventure film is complete without a quirky robot companion. Spark serves as Silas’ companion for the duration of his mission. And I feel, is the real hero of the story. I do wish that the other robot featured had more screen time and lines. How funny that I’d find myself interested in the mysterious little anti-hero automaton (that robot worked with the Exiles)?

Spark (Jon Provost) and Silas (Greg Kriek) have a friendly love/hate thing going on.

My only hang-up was feeling certain details of the story weren’t entirely clear. But overall, Colonials is a lively, action-filled film with a lot of heart. For those with a love of indie filmmaking, I think you’ll dig the environments and vehicles. There’s also a neat end-credit sequence with some fun trading card graphics of the characters in the film.

One of the stunning environment visuals created by the film’s writer, director, and VFX artist Joe Bland.

You can head over to Epic Pictures’ website to check out all the VOD options you have to watch Colonials

About Tiffany Warren

Along with writing for PopHorror, Tiffany is a video editor and 3D rendering and animation enthusiast. When not writing, she's hiking and making photos, or loving on her precious furbabies.

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