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3.5 out of 5 stars55
3.5 out of 5 stars
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on 14 April 2013
I think the best way to describe this movie is replace the cast of "Panic Room" with that of "A Clockwork Orange". Sprinkle with a generous dose of "Battle Royale" and "Lord of The Flies" and volia!

The premise is that, as nuclear bombs fall on New York, eight strangers find themselves in a makeshift shelter in the basement. As the weeks and months drift by, and food becomes more scarce, madness and radiation sickness set in.

There are parts of this movie that I loved; the slow classical music over the scenes of frustration and anger; the structure of the whole story is pretty amazing, and the way that the group polarises to two extremes over time is fantastic. With the exception of the beginning and end, there is not much cgi, but that just makes for a more claustrophobic film.

However, there is a "but"... My biggest problem withis movie is the dialogue. It feels like there were two writers - one who was very good, and another who was just of writing school. The setup to each scene was great, but then when the characters interacted it felt really clunky. The dialogue was REALLY ropey in places and almost hindered the story.

In summary, not everyone will love this. If I am honest, the script needs a really good polish, but if you like your films in the "descent in madness" genre (and I do), then you will probably get a lot of this.
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"No moral, no message, no prophetic tract, just a simple statement of fact: for civilization to survive, the human race has to remain civilized. Tonight's very small exercise in logic from the Twilight Zone."

Whenever I see a bomb shelter movie, I always think about this "Twilight Zone" episode. It is the one where there is limited room in a bomb shelter as a Civil Defense announcement is made. The neighbors turn violent. Likewise in this film, it is the examination of people's character. Plot continuity is unimportant to the film. As a side note, notice the importance of plastic sheeting and duct tape during a terrorist attack.

The action starts from the opening clip. No time for character build-up. The reason why there is no character build-up is that the people represent different aspects of society/human psyche. Mickey, (Michael Biehn) the super of a NYC apartment building has made a shelter in the basement...for himself. He ends up with a group of tenets which he resents and they likewise despise his cigar smoking rough ways. While he is hard-nosed, he looks out for everyone's safety. He won't win any congeniality contests.

The tenets get on each others nerves. Some question Mickey's sanity. Things turn weird as there are outsiders of unknown origin. The film contains some realistic and horrific scenes of killing, torture, dismemberment, menstruation blood, and rape. It examines our core psyche and how it relates to our society: The desire for power and control among men, the competition of age and youth in women for suitors, and the many uses of duct tape. The bunker is a microcosm of society that starts out on equal footing and evolves into a "haves" vs. "have nots". There is a struggle for their world's finite resources...which on a larger scale has happened outside the basement.

F-bomb, sex, explicit sex talk, no nudity. As a metaphor 5 stars. As a sci-fi snuff film 2 stars.
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on 29 June 2012
A truly unsettling film, but that's by no means a bad thing. The acting alone is incredible, which just makes the characters' descent that bit more believable. Though you are left with a lingering sense of "what the...?!", it does make you understand how the guys in the shelter were feeling, since the questions left unanswered to the viewer are the same that were facing the characters'. A clever device, in my opinion. I'd definitely recommend this, especially to those who don't mind having their psychological wits tested.
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on 11 January 2015
The Divide is generally a very interesting and well made film. Its shot mostly on set with only ltd outdoor/cgi action and is all the better for it. The acting is generally top class which is isn't always the case in this type of movie. Be warned though there are some stark and graphic torture, rape and violent scenes which will defiantly upset some. Its on the whole well acted and the plot and writing is mostly very good but at the end of the movie there are a lot of unanswered questions which is a bit annoying. That said the main point of the movie is an exporation of what happened to a group in an enclosed high stress situation which they can't get away from.

The story (some SPOILERS here) New York comes under attack - its not entirely clear but the protagonists believe its a Nuclear attack and there is evidence later in the film to support this buts its not clear who from. 8 people from an apartment block make it into the Janitors make shift bomb shelter in the basement. The janitor starts of as a bit of a hardman who didn't want the unwelcome guests. As the film progresses it become clear that he was a firefighter in 9/11 and may have lost his girlfrined/wife in the attack.

The other guest are two brothers a couple and a mother and daughter, as well as a single woman. The janitor won't let anyone leave because he's worried about fallout - everyone else starts to resent his approach. They then hear knocking on the door and a squad of biohazard suited soldiers break in - they snatch the girl and then start to try and execute the remainder who fight back killing two of them. The squad leave. The group decide that one of them should use the bio suit to look outside to find out whats going on. They open the door to find that its be connected to a series of plastic tunnels which eventually lead to a lab where a number of children are being kept in containment vessels including the little girl - the man is recognized a that point and he flees back to the basement and after a brief fight the soldiers weld the door shut.

At this point things go bad very fast - the brothers overpower the janitor and after torturing him they uncover a hidden stock of food and alcohol. The brothers then embark on a power trip from hell raping and abusing the rest of the group until the lone girl starts fighting back - queue lots of death and violence and a pretty dark ending to the movie.
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on 9 February 2015
This is not just your cliched post apocalyptic flick, exploring what average human beings are capable of in extreme circumstances.
This movie takes this concept to the next level. It's truly a work of art that will keep you on the edge of your seat.
What makes the movie is it's realism, the whispering & darkness; the acting & cinematography is so well done that it makes the viewing a truly horrifying experience. If watched be prepared to think about it for days.
Beware scenes of Horror Gore & Rape!
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on 6 December 2012
It seems like The Divide was the type of film that would divide it's audience. The Divide was directed by Xavier Gens who also made the brilliant horror flick Frontier(s) and the weak blockbuster flick Hitman. So I was really looking forward to this film and I was not disappointed. The film was surprisingly well written yet it's not for everyone, especially those who are looking for light entertainment. The film starts with a vision of a nuclear blast. A group of people run for cover and ends up in a nuclear shelter. The owner of the shelter is a somewhat secluded janitor (brilliantly played by Michael Biehn) who immediately claims control over the group. The shelter is shut off from the rest of the world and no-one is allowed to leave their hiding place until the nuclear dust has cleared up. Not long after though, the first frustrations start to pull the group apart.

Things take a turn for the worse when an alleged rescue team arrives to free the people from their underground prison. Chaos ensues when a group of military men in hazmat suits enter the shelter and forcibly take away a child in a containment bag. In return the group manages to kill one of the hazmat suits, leaving them with one single piece of equipment that can save their lives. The other suits retreat but soon after they return to weld the shelter door shut, eliminating the group's single route of escape. From there on, things only get worse.

Gens keeps tight control over the visual side of things. The Divide is basically a single-location film, but through beautiful camera work and interesting perspectives Gens manages to keep the film attractive. The few scenes outside make for a welcome diversion, but apart from a few decent CG shots there isn't much of the post-apocalyptic world to admire. Much of the inside scenes are bathed in sepia tones, combined with the low-lit areas this makes for some very atmospheric shots while maintaining a very claustrophobic feel. The acting from the cast was extremely good and made you actually care about the characters, the gore and violence took second stage next to the well developed characters and I really enjoyed this film.

All the people expecting it to be like the awful Saw movies don't have the intellect to enjoy good psychological horror. Yes, the movie was dark but it was so much fun watching the characters erode down to their base human natures. It was done very well and it was not nearly as gruesome as people were making it out to be. It's one of the better adult horror sci-fi films I've seen in a long while.
Michael Biehn was also a treat to see again and he was very well casted here. Also the guy from Heroes whose name I don't remember was fun to see again. Rosanne Arquette had a hard part to play but she was excellent and her personal downward spiral was very believable. Some things in the film weren't explained but that didn't take away from it at all. If you like dark films of a psychological bent showing Humanity without it's make-up on you'll definitely like this one.
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Lets start by saying you dont need a huge cast to make a good movie,Theres several people thrown together in the near future that see,s total destruction of new York.The odd group are thrown together in the safety of a basement away from the fallout and chaos outside.As arguments break out over a period of time,you see the physical and mental state of these people fall to pieces in front of you on the screen.A very disturbing drama that leeds to sexual deprivation of one of the females who has "cracked" totally.very Well acted but tough viewing I thought,an interesting idea,that dragged on to long.One thing to mention was the realistic aproach to "shock" in the conditions they were in.As one reviwer said ,it could play on your mind afterwards.
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on 9 January 2015
People have marked this harshly, but I suspect the same people (from looking at their other reviews) don't enjoy such dark themes in their movies. This is a very unflinching, portrayal of claustrophobia with the added tension of the apocalypse above. Think 'The road' situated in a cave and you'll be on the right lines.
Good acting, buckets of tension and an original ending. Only criticism is the characters are a bit Hollywood. That said, the best performance is from Michael Eklund, as the ever more unhinged Bobby.
If you want light fluffy entertainment (as some of the other armchair critics seem to) go watch Cool Runnings, for grown up, unrelenting doom....there's this.
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on 8 January 2013
In the mind of director Xavier Gens the future is not orange, but a mixture of grey mudanity, red blood and brown depression. `The Divide' is a low budget dystopian science fiction film that makes `Animal Farm' seem like a cohesive and friendly society. After an attack on New York the residents of an apartment block flee to the basement. Luckily for the ten or so who made it, the basement is spacious and full of supplies as the building attendant is a conspiracy nut (proved right it would seem). Over the next few days and weeks this group of near strangers must survive the harsh world and each other.

To say that `The Divide' is a bleak film would be insulting to the Moors on a wet January night - it is one of the most depressing films I have seen. Gens and writers Karl Mueller and Eron Sheean do not seem to think much of humans as the characters soon descend into near feral abominations. The film starts off quite believable as groups appear within groups, but by the end you really start to question how Gens views the people around him - probably from the corner of his eye. In terms of performance there are some crazy roles here and Milo Ventimiglia and Michael Eklund do insane brilliantly. It is the more sane characters who are bland. Token `lead' Lauren German is particularly dull.

It is hard to like anyone in `The Divide' as they are either one step away from evil or plain boring. The one character that successfully mixes them both, Michael Biehn as Mickey, is underused. As a low budget film the entire story is told in a few rooms, but this did not stop `Cube' or `Fermat's Room' from being excellent. It is the story itself and not the acting or the sets that bring the film down. This is because it brings you down. There seems no point to revel in the twisted world of `The Divide' as there is little in terms of hope. This could be a valid argument in a film e.g. The Road, but Gens lacks the skill to make the audience sympathise with the characters and in turn their plight.

For a film shot on a low budget and in a few rooms `The Divide' actually holds up will in HD. There is a commentary on the disc that explores how the film was shot.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 3 December 2012
I didn't like this film AT ALL and I regret that I bought it, for many reasons, not the least of which is that I was deceived by the image and teaser on the cover of the DVD.

I thought I was buying a SF film about survivors of a nuclear war trying to go on with their lifes. This film however is something different. The original cataclysm is barely shown and is never explained - we never learn what exactly happened. The whole story is in fact a study in the slow but certain disappearance of all social order and even purely human reflexes amongst a group of people who are trapped in a cage without exit (an underground shelter) and with dwindling food and water supply... The person in hazmat suit on the cover is relevant only to a small segment of the film, as almost everything happens in a couple of pieces underground.

The film is full of incredibly vulgar language - it seems that absolutely everybody speaks with the "F" bomb beginning every sentence. There are purely obscene moments of sexual nature (nothing to do with love-making). Excrements, menstrual blood, rotting bodies and swarming cockroaches, all play considerable role by moments. There are very graphic scenes of murder, rape and torture. In one word, this film has more in common with "Saw" franchise than with SF movies. This is most of the plot and of the scenario - and this film REALLY disgusted me.

I would rate this thing one star, if it was not for the last five minutes, which contain one pretty cruel but really intelligent twist, which I didn't see coming at all. I also must admit that actors did a rather good job and the cast is strong: Michael Biehn, Rosanna Arquette, Courtney B. Vance, Milo Ventimiglia and Ashton Holmes all did very well. It is however Lauren German (an actress I never heard about before), playing the main female role, who offers the best performance - she sure can act.

But other than the last five minutes, watching this film was for me personally a VERY unpleasant experience. My advice - avoid it, except if you really like films in which people torture, rape and murder other people in the middle of rotting bodies and crawling insects...
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