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April 20, 2012

Movie Review: The Divide (2011)

Review: The Divide (2011)
Directed by Xavier Gens
Starring Lauren German, Michael Biehn
and Milo Ventimiglia

Doomsday scenario movies are nothingnew, but very rarely are you going to find one as thoughtfully made and well acted as Xavier Gens' The Divide. It is scary, tense and ultimately vicious and heartless in its portrayal of the human animal when placed under the most straining of conditions. As the movie opens, Eva, (Lauren German) is staring dumbfounded out her apartment window. What she sees is almost beyond belief, nuclear missiles are raining down from the sky in all directions like deadly comets. In a panic, she runs out of her apartment looking for escape, along with scores of other residents from the building. With the walls coming down around them,a small group of people, including Eva, are lucky enough to maketheir way into the buildings basement. There they find temporary safety from the mayhem above, where they soon discover they are not only in the basement but in the domain of the buildings unstable“doomsday-prepper” superintendent, Mickey (played by the near-legendary Michael Biehn). He makes it quickly known that he is in charge and if any of them want a shot at survival, his word is law.

Soon after settling in they hear the sound of movement above but their hopes of rescue are soon squashed
when a group of bio-hazard suit wearing soldiers cut their way in and kidnap the young daughter of Marilyn, (Rosanna Arquette). In the confusion, the survivors kill three of the soldiers. Cobbling together undamaged pieces of the soldier bio-suits, one of the survivors ventures out through the basement door to to gain answers to what exactly is happening to them and hopefully find the younggirl. What he finds instead is a bio-lab set up just outside the door where the young girl is being kept alive in some kind of container
and it appears she is in the process of being cloned. After barelymaking it back to the basement alive, he along with the rest of the survivors watch in horror as the soldiers weld the basement door shut, trapping them inside with little hope of escape.

Claustrophobia, hunger and dwindling food supplies soon lead to paranoia for many in the group. Eventually, radiation poisoning begins to take its toll and they all begin to lose their grip on sanity. Erratic and disturbing behavior breaks them into smaller groups which then begin to prey on each other. And its then that this wild, edge of your seat thriller turns into a vicious horror movie as it becomes a chaotic scramble for survival, where everyday morals have no place and only the most cunning will survive.

Everything about this film impressed me. From the score to the solid directing to the acting, which was
amazing from top to bottom. Standing out though were the performances of Michael Biehn (who once again shows why he is one of Hollywood'spremier bad-ass's) and Rosanna Arquette, who's character degrades from a grieving mother who has lost her daughter to a hopelessly tragic sex-slave of the more sinister of the survivors.

Most horror movies dont really work with a run-time of two plus hours, but this baby could of gone two and a half hours and I would have been perfectly happy with that. It is thick with tension from the start and just continues to build at a steady pace throughout the film. It is an edgy, disturbing and
ultimately tragic movie that had me secretly wondering to myself,which one of those people would I have turned into under thosecircumstances?

My only minor gripe with this film was not learning more about what was happening outside the basement, what the hell were they doing with that little girl? But in all honesty, the film was so good I didn't really think about that until the credits were rolling. Anchor Bay has scored a total win with The Divide and I guarantee you, you will not be disappointed when you watch this one.

8.5 out of 10 

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