I’m a bit of a germaphobe (or so I’m told; I think my constant hand-washing and sanitization are more than justifiable). Old places, basements and unfinished room also sometimes gross me out because they’ve collected years of dust and germs (you can laugh, but I’m sure some of you completely understand). I hadn’t really realized that The Divide took place in an old, unfinished, apartment basement when I saw the trailer. Even still, I could get over that, but over two hours, this movie just grew to become more and more disgusting, beyond poor hygiene into physical human cruelty, emotional torment and ultimately societal corruption and despair. This movie left me with such a feeling of disgust that no amount of soap could wash away.
The Divide follows a group of survivors camping out in their apartment basement after New York is ravaged by nuclear blasts. They’ve sealed themselves in, in fear of the slightest leak and contamination. Trapped together, we watch as humanity crumbles and self-destructs.
It’s like a much less intelligible, perversion of a The Lord of the Flies-type story that fails to examine the fundamentals of society and relationships, but rather just tears it apart for fun, or lack thereof. It’s an ultimate gross-out of a movie that crawls under your skin and churns your stomach, so much that you’re distracted from its strong performances, great use of a tiny set and potentially good writing. In fact, these things don’t matter. It seems the sole purpose of this movie is to do exactly that, make you feel sick and dirty.
I wanted to like this movie. I love sci-fi and can appreciate low-budget creativity (actually, more so than big-budget). I was also open to a post-apocalyptic survival story, as much as we’re currently saturated with the like. The Divide could have been so much more. It could have been clever and artistic and challenging. Instead, it was just challenging to watch. D+
Starring Milo Ventimiglia and Lauren German. Directed by Xavier Gens. 121 minutes. Unrated