Home > The Divide - 7 > The Divide – 7

The Divide – 7

Director – Xavier Gens

Cast – Lauren German, Michael Biehn, Milo Ventimiglia, Courtney B. Vance, Ashton Holmes, Rosanna Arquette, Ivan Gonzalez, Michael Eklund, Abbey Thickson, Jennifer Blanc

Release Year – 2012

Reviewed by John of the Dead

2007 French horror film Frontier(s) remains one of my favorite horror films of all time, and my excitement at seeing that director Xavier Gens was returning to the genre with The Divide marveled that of Eric Cartman winning a lifetime supply of Snacky Cakes. Post-apocalyptic films have held their own as one of horror’s most notable sub-genres, and Gens joins the growing movement of such films debuting in our modern day of nuclear technology and other things that could (in theory) destroy our planet. Focusing more of social breakdown and its subsequent degradation of the human psyche as its source of horror, The Divide makes for one of the better post-apocalyptic horror films of this millennium. Once again Gens returns with a film that is hard to watch at times, and while it does not surpass Frontier(s), in my opinion it does once again leave me with an experience I will not soon forget.

When New York City comes under nuclear attack the surviving residents of an apartment complex barricade themselves in its fortified basement. As the days pass and fear grows over what is going on outside their impenetrable walls, the survivors realize that the horrors brewing amongst themselves will kill them off before anything else does.

I absolutely love watching social breakdown in horror films, and I was right to expect much of that in this story. Things take off right away, with the film opening with the apartment tenants running amok and searching for cover as their city is pelted by nuclear missiles from an unknown origin. Those “lucky” enough to make their way into apartment manager Mickey’s underground basement found immediate comfort at first – a living area with food and water to last a short while, but soon enough their comforts abandon them. As food and water become scarce and hostility towards one another grows with each unbearable day, they slowly lose their humanity and succumb to themselves instead of a nuclear bomb or government takeover. The story is fairly simple with nearly the entire film taking place in the underground bunker, so those of you who enjoy “moving” films where the locations are constantly changing will have to adapt to give the story a chance. There are moments where the locations will change and offer “hope” to the survivors, and while they added some diversity to the film’s locations they did little to comfort the survivors…and I loved that. The survivors wait in hopes that someone will come and save them and/or let them know that the world they knew is now safe to return to, but once the halfway point kicks in we and the survivors begin to realize that not only is nobody coming for them, but there is no way they are going to leave. The notion of impending doom has drastic effects on their minds, and the film’s depravity only worsens as the runtime increases, making for some hard to watch and quite brutal scenes during the final act. In addition to all of this we are given a slew of different characters, some likable and some not, but all were written very well and did their part in creative conflict for the viewer. I can’t speak for everyone, but I have a strong feeling that Mickey (thanks much to Michael Biehn) will be the fan favorite in this one. Why? You need to see it to believe it…

Director Xavier Gens did a great job setting the atmosphere from the get-go, throwing us and the characters into an uncomfortable setting that slowly decays as the world around them does the same. Their resources are running out day by day until the point comes where they are now out of electricity and forced to live like cave animals, and Gens makes sure we have front row seats for the ride. His cinematography is great and he makes the most out of the limited locations used in the film, but most importantly he gets supreme performances from his actors. Michael Biehn steals the show from the get-go and rarely relinquishes the top spot, but he was not alone in delivering a great acting performance as “Heroes” and Pathology star Milo Ventimiglia also gave a surprisingly awesome performance – leaving me to wonder “has he always had this talent and just refused to show it?”. The actors/characters definitely carried the film once the second half kicked in and the horrors of what could be going on outside the apartment were not brought up anymore, leaving the horror to be sourced from the social breakdown occurring between the survivors. The actors were definitely pushed to their limits with the events that occurred during the final half of the film, and I applaud Gens for keeping the viewer engaged and horrified despite having little to work with – doing so by giving us full-frontal execution of the horrors that went on in that once-inviting bunker.

Overall, The Divide is a positive post-apocalyptic film that gives us a pleasant array of unpleasant acts that occur when humanity breaks down amid surrounding chaos. The performances are superb and the direction matches them, and while the story is simple and unmoving it still comes very well-written and ultimately delivers what viewers want to see.

Rating: 7/10

  1. July 23, 2012 at 1:38 am

    Now this is a great movie. I honestly don’t know why people trashed it so much. I loved watching them break apart. I just love that kind of movies and it reminded me to Darabont’s Mist. One of the best post-apocalyptic movies if you ask me. After watching it, I was… I don’t know, kinda cold from head to toe 🙂 After all, there aren’t greater monsters than human and Gens excellently presented it 🙂

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