The one truth in life that you can count on is that no one is perfect and no one has ALL the answers. Growing up, when things were bad, I was always told "It could be worse". Of course when you're young everything bad that happens always feels like the end of the world. As you age, you realize it's true. Bad things happen and you get up, dust yourself off and either try again or start over because.... it could be worse.
In this graphic and violent, post-apocalyptic thriller, nine strangers, all tenants of a New York high-rise apartment, escape a nuclear attack by hiding out in the building’s bunker-like basement. Trapped for days underground with no hope for rescue, and only unspeakable horrors awaiting them on the other side of the bunker door, the group begins to descend into madness, each turning on one another with physical and psycho-sexual torment. As supplies dwindle, and tensions flare, they grow increasingly unhinged by their close quarters and hopelessness. Each act against one another becomes more depraved than the next. While everyone in the bunker allows him or herself to be overcome by desperation and lose their humanity, one survivor holds onto a thin chance for escape, even with no promise of salvation on the outside.
I get such enjoyment from watching Michael Biehn on screen. He has the ability to morph into any character he's given, becoming everything from a soldier to a maintenance man, and pull it off like very few others can. In my opinion, this is one of the best performances of his career. It also didn't hurt that he was surrounded by a very solid, talented cast. Everyone of them portrayed their characters quite flawlessly. Ashton Holmes, Lauren German, Ivan Gonzalez and Biehn stay pretty even keeled throughout, their personalities not really changing much but every other character makes a believable transformation into someone totally unrecognizable. Milo Ventimiglia and Michael Eklund make the biggest and probably the most convincing changes throughout the film. Rosanna Arquette takes on the role of a mother who is desperate to save her daughter (Abbey Thickson) from certain death. Even Courtney B. Vance, who I'm used to seeing as a mild mannered, sure of himself, never breaks under pressure type guy, succumbs to the paranoia of being trapped with no way out.
Director Xavier Gens shows us the best and worst of humanity in The Divide. It's an intense ride that delves into the psyche of the mind and shows how desperation can turn even the most mild tempered person into an unimaginable monster. I've seen a lot of films that attempt this and fail miserably but where others fail is exactly where Gens succeeds. The film is very well paced with some really great camera work. It's obvious that time was spent developing the characters and making their transformations believable. Writers Karl Mueller and Eron Sheean have crafted what I can only assume will easily become a cult classic among horror and Sci-fi fans alike. Whatever you can imagine about being trapped in a basement with eight other people is probably not near as bad as what Gens throws at you. This is a brutal, no holds barred in your face film with a haunting score that only serves to intensify the overall atmosphere.
When it was all said and done, I was left with a few questions but it was more to satisfy my own curiosity than anything else and didn't really detract from the overall concept of the film. There was more blood and gore than I expected and it's all done very well. If you're squeamish in any way, I'd steer clear of this one. Not only does it have some pretty gory content, there are also some very violent sexual scenes that could make some viewers uneasy. I would recommend this to any fan of the genre, it's definitely worth a watch or maybe even two.