Friday, September 30, 2011

It's English Settlers vs. Viking Ghosts!

Lost Colony (aka "Wraiths of Roanoke) (2007)
Starring: Adrian Paul, Frida Farrell, Rhett Giles, and Michael Teh
Director: Matt Codd
Rating: Six of Ten Stars

Ananias Dare (Paul) leads a desperate struggle for the survival of his fellow settles in 16th century Roanoke when the colony is set upon by undead Vikings.

"Lost Colony" is a made-for-television spookfest that is loosely based on the mysterious demise of the English Roanoke colony. By the standards I've come to expect from a film from the Sci-Fi Channel (now known by the nonsensical name SyFy Channel), it's a masterpiece. By the standards I apply to horror films in general, it's not bad. It's not great, but it's entertaining.

The acting is serviceable, with Adrian Paul offering his usual Sensitive Hero character and Frida Farrell, as the distressed damsel haunted by evil pagan dreams, leading the cast. None of the characters are particularly deep or all that well-developed, but what we do get is just enough. (Although, having said that, I would have liked to know more about Ananias Dare's connection with Nordic paganism, as it seems like an bit of knowledge to assign to a person whose real-world historical counterpart seems to have been a brick-layer by profession.)

Special effects-wise, the film is also a little better than what I've come to expect from a "Sci-Fi Original", but I did at a couple of points find myself wishing that either more time had been spent rehearsing actors when it came to them sword-fighting with opponents who literally weren't there (as the phantom Vikings they were battling were computer animations added later) or more money and time had been spent on post-production, as there are several points where the fights are less than convincing.

As a period horror film, you can do a lot worse than "Lost Colony". The price is also right, if you pick up in the "Horror 4 Pack Volume 2" which can be found at some retail outlets for as little as $5.

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