“The lucky ones died in the blast.” After watching the movie I would say that tagline is accurate. The plot revolves around a group of people, 9 to be exact, that survives a nuclear attack by hiding out in the basement/shelter of their apartment building.The combination of characters is a recipe for disaster from the start: you’ve got the jerk janitor Mickey (Michael Biehn), the bully Bobby (Michael Eklund), Josh (Milo Ventimiglia) and his too nice for his own good brother Adrien (Ashton Holmes), quiet Eva and her weak boyfriend Sam (Lauren German and Ivan Gonzales), panicked mother Marilyn and her young daughter Wendy (Rosanna Arquette and Abbey Tickson) and Delvin (Courtney B. Vance).They immediately start bickering and fighting with eachother over their new situation and over what to do. That all stops when a bunch of soldiers in biohazards suits break in through the door, snatching Wendy and shooting Adrien in the shoulder. Josh goes in a recon mission and tries to get Wendy back, but he fails. All after seeing an on-site laboratory, more men in suits and Wendy trapped in some sort of criogenic state? Everything goes downhill from there on.Gens (Xavier Gens, director) tried to play on the exploration of the human psyche and did so quiet well for the most part. Once the characters realize they’re trapped in the basement and they’re going to die, violence ensues and keeps escalating up to the very end(murder, torture, mutilation, rape). Everyone slowly breaks down, physically and mentally deteriorates to the point of full-blown insanity.
The way the movie’s shot, mostly in darkness or flickering lights along with the claustrophobic feel you get from the basement and the make-up, really adds to the scare factor. It IS a horror, thriller movie.
A performance that deserves mentioning, that of Milo Ventimiglia. While Michael Biehn’s Mickey always acts like a jerk with a short-temper, Ventimiglia’s Josh goes from a normal guy, close to his half-brother and at one point trying to help, to a raging lunatic with no morals or mercy.
Another chilling, great performance comes from Eklund, who takes his character from an arrogant, slightly deranged ahole to a psychopath, rapist and murderer. It’s a post-apocalyptic Lord of the Flies.
Alas, not even great acting can make this movie more than it is, too long, or make you forget that you never do get an explanation for whatever happened, who the men in the biohazards suits are or what they’re doing with the kid, which are the most interesting things about the movie and the main reasons of why they remain stuck in the basement in the first place.
The Divide is not a movie for the light-hearted, but if you can stand through both gross and sick, deranged scenes and that’s your thing, then by all means go for it.
I’ve seen worse and I have definitely seen better, but if I had to rate The Divide one a scale of 1 to 5, I’d give it 3 stars.