April 15, 2012

The Divide (2012)

(aka 8 Assholes in a Basement)
Release Date: On DVD 4/17
Written by: Carl Mueller and Eron Sheean.
Directed by: Xavier Gens.
Starring: Lauren German, Michael Biehn, Milo Ventimiglia, Courtney B. Vance and Rosanna Arquette.

As end-of-the-world flicks go, The Divide exists to show us that you can only trust yourself if you want to survive, and that there's probably no point in trying to do that anyhow.

I mean, if New York City doesn't get to survive a nuclear attack, then who the hell are you to think that you deserve to?

The Divide opens with a hot chick watching NYC being destroyed by nuclear attack, as a single tear rolls down her cheek... which seemed to us a direct rip-off of the old 70's Iron Eye Cody pollution commercial, but who are we to say. Anywho, with Nuclear Armageddon happening right outside of the window, the hot chick makes a run for it, only to be herded into the basement of her apartment building with 8 other jerk-nuts.

Oh, the humanity.
I say jerk-nuts because once they make it into the basement and realize that they can't leave if they want to live, they all act like complete savages towards each other. They have sexy parties, argue a lot, die, fight amongst each other, do a little raping, and some even begin to wither and fall apart due to radiation sickness! So basically, it's not a very fun time for any of them.

It might be fun for him though, because he has peaches.
And so our 8 survivors have to deal with armed men in biohazard suits, radiation, Michael Biehn's secrets, and the fact that life as they know it is basically over, all while trying not to kill each other. Then again, they kinda want to kill each other, except for the hot chicks, who are there for the sexing up and not the killing part anyhow. It becomes a grown up Lord of the Flies in a way, only no one eats the fat kid.

With that suit and that gun, I'm sure he'll be safe.
The Divide is a bleak movie that makes you feel dirty for just having seen it. That's not to say it's crazy disturbing or anything, but rather that it felt... contaminated? Xavier Gens did a good job at making things feel dreary and unclean, as well as illustrating what might happen to people when their basic instinct for self preservation kicks in. It looks as if the fragile human psyche breaks down and base impulse takes over, which at least makes for an interesting film.

The worst part about watching The Divide was the lack of explanation or exploration. We understand that it's a character study, and as a character study, The Divide works really well. We were however expecting a bit more explanation as to why NYC was nuked, and who was behind it. We also really wish the movie had ventured outside of the basement a bit more, as the opening and closing scenes were the ones we enjoyed most of all. There's just something about a devastated landscape that begs exploration...

Then again, we suppose there's not much left to explore.
A bunch of people get shot, a finger gets cut off, a body gets chopped up (mostly off screen), and one person gets set on fire. There's blood, but it wasn't as bloody as we thought it might be with Xavier Gens was at the helm.

That's a rough way to commit suicide.
There's plenty of sex (a lot of it on the violent side of things), and some rape, but no nudity or anything visually gratuitous. The Creepy-meter was definitely through the roof at times, though.

Creepy-meter Level: Through the roof.
Despite its shortcomings, The Divide was an enjoyably tense and bleak movie. If you like character studies and closed quarters settings, and value theme over set pieces, then this movie should satisfy you. If you like your Post-Apocalyptic movies full of action, then this one may just leave you feeling flat. Either way, it's worth a look, even if its only for the few scenes of destruction that we do get to see.


We kinda wish we were trapped in a room with Lauren German during the Apocalypse, only alone, and with less clothing. Her clothing, of course.


  1. That's a pretty accurate review. I didn't hate it nor love - but an interesting p.a. take for those who enjoy these films. Wished they would have spent some more time on those hazmat suited guys. And the ending was great.

  2. Yeah, I wanted like 20 minutes more after the end, but oh well.

  3. This movie could have had so much more going for it, but at times I felt it was trying to go for a 'The Road' kinda vibe. I agree that a little background / explanation would have helped a lot.

    Also (and I'm not sure of how long they were meant to be down there), did they really resort to all that in a matter of days?

  4. This movie will not be for those that dislike violence nor will it be for those that hope for buckets of gore. This movie banters somewhere in the middle, heavily drawing from psychological terror and the thoughtful viewer's imagination. If though you are looking for a film that deals with the break down of society in a petri dish, this is definitely worth watching.