THE DIVIDE

 

THE DIVIDE

 

By Gary Murray

 

Starring Lauren German, Michael Beihn, Milo Ventimiglia, Courtney B. Vance, Ivan Gonzalez, Michael Eklund, Abby Thickson, Ashton Holmes and Rosanna Arquette

 

Written by Karl Mueller and Eron Sheean

 

Directed by Xavier Gens

 

Running time 120 min

 

MPAA Rating R

 

Selig Film Rating Cable

 

As a kid, I loved The Twilight Zone TV show. The Rod Serling anthology series was just a magical place of mystery and fantasy where just about anything could and did happen.  The twist and turns that made the series work have been tried over the years, usually in a dismal failure.  The latest to go down this path is the post-apocalyptic thriller The Divide

 

The story starts with a bang in the most literal sense.   A nuclear explosion happens in NYC and the tenants of an apartment block race to find shelter in the basement of the building.   Very soon we have nine survivors in the underground room that is barred from the outside world. 

 

Mickey (Michael Beihn) is the superintendent who has stored food and water for himself but not for almost a half a dozen uninvited guests.  He tapes the cracks of the door trying to keep any isotopes out of the air.  He is the man in charge while the others quiver in fear.

 

Soon, the nine form groups as they struggle to keep sane.  With nothing to do, the individuals begin to snip and swipe at each other.  Eva (Lauren German) is the young woman and more of the voice of sanity in the group.  She tries to keep everyone from destroying each other.  Marilyn (Roseanna Arquette) is our mother who will do anything to make sure her daughter is safe. 

 

The men–being men–start to Alpha Male each other, displaying macho tendencies.  Some want out of the building which would expose the rest to radioactivity while others want to stay and wait until the situation is clear.  The problem is that no one knows exactly what is happening outside.  They verbally battle over what to do.  Eventually they become sealed inside, their home a tomb. 

 

The film ultimately goes very Lord of the Flies as the radiation takes hold, turning people into monsters.  The Divide shows the worst of humanity in the worst of a situation.

 

Director Xavier Gens goes to a very shadowy place with this film.  He explores the darkest of the dark in The Divide and never lets up.  This film becomes a psychological free fall into how bad people can be to each other.  It puts the mirror to the face of humanity and the reflection becomes more Dorian Gray than sunshine.

 

This is an ensemble drama but some individuals do stand out.  Rosanna Arquette is the first to truly fall down into madness and she plays the part with a gory grace.  Michael Beihn has a character that comes more from basic stock but still finds moments to give it a different spin. 

 

The Divide is not the kind of film for the regular movie audience but it is more for the midnight crowd.  It is the worst kind of horror story, one where regular people become the monsters.  The subject matter will keep many people away from the film but it an interesting and disturbing experience. 

 

 

 

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