If you are looking for a good end of the world sci-fi / horror film to watch, saw the trailer to "The Divide" and plan to watch it over the weekend, just beware. The Divide is not intended for mainstream audiences. Many people looking for a typical end-of-the-world thriller will likely walk away wondering where the entertainment value was and why would somebody make a movie like this.
I love a good bloody horror movie- but be warned: "The Divide" is HARDCORE. It is an unsanitized look at the downward spiral into madness and human depravity. The violence is hardcore. This is an incredibly unflinching, ugly and utterly disturbing movie. If your stomach isn't strong enough to handle prolonged scenes of rape, torture and on-going acts of gut-wrenching human depravity, then STAY FAR AWAY FROM THIS MOVIE! Just remember, you cannot "unsee" something.
All warnings aside, "The Divide" isn't a bad movie at all. In fact, the movie is utterly convincing at setting its tone and mood very early on.
The basic premise is simple: a handful of people running to escape nuclear holocaust end up in an old basement of their apartment building. At first they don't dare open the door to go outside in fear of radiation poisoning. The small group of individuals immediately don't mix very well and it doesn't take long before they are fighting over their food supply, who is going to be the leader, etc. However, something happens and the group gets permanently locked in the basement with no hope of escape. This is when things start to spiral out of control.
The movie's point of view (POV) is that of the survivors: We know what they know- period. We are trapped in the basement with them. We have no answers to the multitude of questions that get raised about the world on the other side of the basement door. Some viewers may not like that many things go unanswered. However, it is everything that IS left UNEXPLAINED which causes the descent into chaos.
The gradual build up to utter chaos and the slow descent into madness is incredibly palpable, and the first hour or so becomes incredibly intense and un-nerving.
This is where The Divide really shines: its feeling of dread, claustrophobia and helplessness is absolutely incredible. Of course, the most important "character" of the movie (if you want to call it that) is the basement in which they are all trapped. The basement sets the tone for the entire move: it is ugly, dimly lit, cruel and forboding.
Once things spiral out of control, audiences will be divided:
1- some will appreciate the movie's raw approach to the chaos that unfolds on the screen;
2- others will be disgusted and disturbed;
3- and yet some others will think the movie goes completely off the rails and over the top in a tasteless attempt to assault and shock its viewers.
Personally, I enjoyed the build up much more than I did the payoff. I guess I'm one of those people who fall into the second category- I wasn't expecting what was coming and I was left utterly disturbed. The last 50 minutes of the movie is a non-stop onslaught of gruesome events.
Not only is the violence hard to endure, but these are not nice people to begin with... when their physical appearance slowly deteriorates due to radiation poisoning (the makeup is incredibly well done) the ugliness of their rotting flesh mirror the the demonic manifestations of their souls.
"The Divide" drips with atmosphere and descends its viewer into an unflinching, unforgiving, inescapable hell. The sign of a good movie is that it accomplishes its goal, and the Divide's goal is to disturb its audience.
PQ is okay, but nothing extraordinary. The picture is dark, dirty and probably not that much superior to standard DVD- although clarity tends to be nice and crisp. Definitely not a polished, demo-worthy image by any stretch... but it was probably also intended to be filmed that way, as the grittiness of the PQ only adds to the overall dark atmosphere.
I can't say "The Divide" is a fun movie to watch. Afterward, I had to watch a few episodes of "Downton Abbey" to lift my spirits back up. But the Divide achieves what it sets out to do, and for that I have to give it credit where credit is due. It isn't a bad movie by any stretch- but it is an ugly movie, and one that many people should not blindly go into without knowing what to brace themselves for. It is way too hardcore for some people, and for that I say... you are warned.