Nuclear explosions force the residents of a New York apartment block to run from the building. However, the explosions force them into a basement. Eight residents are holed up in the building's bomb shelter. They must acclimatise to each other in difficult, cramped conditions. Written by
THE DIVIDE is dirty, disturbing, uncomfortable, and I like it! Post-apocalyptic thrillers are usually a messy business and that's what this Xavier Gens-directed film delivers. It's sheer madness, a terrifying look at society going down the drain and at humanity when it's lost its senses, of what could happen when the chips are down and fear takes over. THE DIVIDE is not for the faint of heart..
Turning a fallout shelter, a save haven and protection into a hellhole is the aim of this film. The tagline says it all, 'the lucky ones died in the blast' and so the remaining characters are not. I wasn't a fan of Gens' previous works, Hit-man was generally disappointing but that was to be expected of any video game-based movie, but THE DIVIDE goes to show that Gens may not be a lost cause after all when it comes to filmmaking. There have been movies in the past where they'd collect a number of people, lock them in one inescapable location long enough and you'd get to see who'd endure, who'd rebel, who'd break down, and who'd take charge. Give it enough time and they'll turn on each other and ask the question of 'who died and made you king?!', that's exactly THE DIVIDE's mission, when suspicions fester and morals go out the window.
Because the story is set in a basement room, the film dwells in the dark the entire time. And because of its R-rated horror approach, the characters find themselves eventually doing something that they themselves did not know they were capable of and we the audience have the options of either sticking around or looking away. Fantastic job by the cast ensemble, you've got Eva (Lauren German) who tries to remain sane and level-headed through the ordeal, and there's Marilyn (Rosanna Arquette) who suffers mental problem after the failure to protect her daughter, and then there's Delvin (Courtney B Vance) who at first may seem to be the reasonable one of the bunch, and you also have the cocky sh*theads Bobby and Josh, played by Michael Eklund and Milo Ventimiglia respectively, the shelter itself is owned by an ex-firefighter Mickey (Michael Biehn) who'd rather not share if he had the choice. The movie is a character study that's not too hard to crack but it's not an easy chew either. Right from the start of the beautifully done CG nuclear explosion, you know that it's not going to end well, because there is no way that these characters could stand each other, not with the limited resources they have and the frustration that comes from being self-imprisoned. And so the story shows how their interaction crumbles and insanity creeps in. THE DIVIDE is an excellent sci-fi horror that demands attention.
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