The problem is that it’s not especially well-written. It’s not badly written, but it’s got a few issues. First of all, the story is pretty simplistic. This wouldn’t be a problem in and of itself . . . after all, how much story do you really need out of a premise like “Zombies vs. Aliens?” If they’d left it at that simple premise, everything would have been fine. But, instead, they try to make more of it by putting in some social commentary that just comes off as heavy-handed. The dialogue is also clunky and odd-sounding in places, and the characters, both good and bad, are completely two-dimensional.
The story takes place in Carbon Falls, Montana, a town that’s seceded from the U.S. government and now lives off the grid. Their goal is to keep themselves entirely self-sustaining. The town’s de facto leader, Huxley Robertson, aims to achieve that goal by eliminating their carbon footprint (even going so far as to rename the town with that in mind) and going green. The villain, Randy Roy, wants to do it by arming the town to the teeth and shooting anyone and anything that might conceivably pose a threat.
Then, the aliens come and accidentally reanimate the dead. How this happens is somewhat vague. The way the scene plays out, they’re looking for a representative of Earth to whom they can make their presence known, in order to spark the beginnings of interspecies friendship. But, they end up at the Carbon Falls cemetery, and the “life form” they bring up then reanimates itself as a zombie, which attacks their ship and causes them to crash.
The aliens are specifically shown trying to find someone to make contact with, and the ship’s leader, Bemis, even begins to make a grand introductory speech to their undead guest before they realize what he is. But then, later, out of nowhere, they say that they were actually looking to bring up a dead body, in order to test it for pathogens before they had any direct contact with this new species.
Honestly, the pathogen explanation makes a bit more sense. The aliens seem obsessed with how dirty, polluted, and generally unlivable our planet is. They continually harp on the fact that this whole zombie outbreak thing wasn’t their fault, but rather happened because their equipment can’t function properly in our horribly polluted atmosphere. In other words, it’s our fault.
That one zombie, of course, soon leads to many more zombies, as well as zombie cows, sheep, pigs, horses, etc. Randy Roy and his well-armed militia do their best to blow the threat to kingdom come, while trying to do exactly the same thing to the aliens. And, also to Huxley, because he’s allied himself with the aliens. Randy Roy is little more than a cookie cutter villain, who basically just wants to shoot everyone who’s not on his team.
As far as character depth goes, though, the heroes aren’t much better. When aliens land in the middle of his town, Huxley’s immediate reaction is, “This is all the government’s fault!” And, when they’re overrun by zombies, his main concern is still to eliminate the town’s carbon footprint.
There are a few places where the plot and characters don’t do exactly what you expect them to, and one or two of them even have rudimentary character arcs. But, there are also some way-too-convenient plot devices, a few briefly introduced plotlines that end up going nowhere, and some really bad attempts at foreshadowing.
If you’re looking for a well-written, well-developed story, or one that makes any kind of important social point, then The Colonized will be disappointing. It tries on those fronts, but fails; however, if you’re looking for some cool action and a little bit of mindless entertainment, you could do a lot worse. It’s definitely got some fun and entertaining moments throughout. After all, it’s Zombies vs. Aliens. It’s pretty hard to go wrong with Zombies vs. Aliens.