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The Divide (2012)

May 18, 2012

VERDICT:
0/10 Bottom Dwellers

One of the absolute worst movies I have ever seen.

The Divide is about a group of tenants who hole up in their building’s fallout shelter when a nuclear terrorist attack levels New York City. With nowhere to go until the radioactive dust settles, the rations start depleting and everyone’s true colors start to show. The longer they stay down there, the more unlikely it is that they’ll be rescued, so the survivors start to turn on one another as civility and humanity make way for desperation and madness.

Usually when I watch movies, I tend to kick myself for trying to multitask from the couch instead of giving them my full attention like a good movie blogger should. Multitasking leads to missing a movie’s plot points, a vague sense of investment in characters and story, and in serious cases, swelling of the kidneys and liver. I’m usually pretty good about it, but what can I say, one does not simply get off the internet. Although on this rare occasion, I don’t think I could have justified the two hours that I sacrificed on this travesty had I not had been using it as a distraction for the several hundred envelopes I had to seal.

Thank God for those envelopes, because if I had given The Divide 100% of my conscious mind, I truly wonder if I would have made it to the end. And thus having made it to the end, I now have the pleasure of telling you all what it feels like to take a bullet, a bullet that probably wasn’t heading your way anyhow. Oh happy day.

The biggest things this movie has going for it is a good title and a genuinely intriguing premise. I’m all for movies where the apocalypse is involved, and a fallout shelter is an awesome setting for just about any story. For example, Sex and the City 2: would have been way better in a fallout shelter, infinitely better if the girls hadn’t made it inside. So going off the premise, there’s definitely some potential here, and that, dear readers, is the tale of how I got suckered.

Because, unfortunately, a good title and an intriguing premise are all this movie has going for it.

First, there’s the script by first-timers Karl Mueller and Eron Sheean, and I can’t help but wonder if they’ve ever heard people talk before. If I were a betting man, I’d bet it all on “NO.” Within the first five minutes of hearing their characters speak, I wouldn’t be surprised to learn that Mueller and Sheean are in fact deaf, mute shut-ins who learned sign language from The Jerky Boys. I really can’t think of another explanation for the what comes out of the mouths of these characters. They just don’t say things that human beings say, and not only do they swear for no reason, but they swear all the freakin’ time. It never works, it starts right away, and it only gets more abrasive with time.

Adding to the limited and entirely unbelievable vocabulary of these individuals, there’s also no rhyme or reason as to why they act the way they do. This could have been a great opportunity to create a character study of what desperate people do in the most desperate of circumstances. That’s what was so great about Contagion, the way covered all the bases and capitalized on the ways real people would react to a real-life catastrophe. Instead of doing that, The Divide devolves into nonsense for the sake of nonsense and stays the course right on through to the end.

The only thing human about these survivors is that they look the part. Other than that, they might as well be aliens wearing people suits. Like Vincent D’Onofrio in Men in Black, only worse.

From the minute you meet these folks, you’ll know how they’re storylines are gonna play out. Some of them stay good, some of them go bad, some try to stay out of it, some have ulterior motives. You know the drill. What is unexpected is when some of them turn into sex slaves, and others start shaving their bodies and dressing like Marilyn Manson roadies for reasons unknown. I’m sure there was a way to build up these characters so that these developments would make some kind of sense, but alas, that’s not how this plays out. Like I said, it is nonsense for the sake of nonsense and the only semblance of an explanation that we’re kind of given is that this is what people do when the world goes boom.

As a result of all that horse shit character development, there is no way to invest in these people, to make us care in the slightest about who lives or dies. Even the main character – if you could call her that – a shell of a girl who doesn’t do much but hang out like a mannequin for two hours. Call me crazy, but creating characters that the audience can root for/against seems like a pretty crucial step when you’re dealing with THE APOCALYPSE.

I’ve never been in a situation like this, but I’m pretty damn sure that this isn’t how it would go down. Not even New Yorkers would pull shit like this. Just an exercise in the bizarre trying to pawn itself off as realistic, despite bearing no resemblance to real human beings outside of the Jeffrey Dahmer crowd.

And then theres the acting, and the acting is just horrendous, primarily for all the reasons I’ve already named. A lot of these folks are no-namers who are far more forgettable than they are bad actors, but then there’s Michael Biehn, Rosanna Arquette, and Milo Ventimiglia. I could care less about Arquette and Ventimiglia, they’re both awful in this and that’s no skin off my back, but I like Michael Biehn. Granted, there’s only so much you can do when your director tells you to “act grumpy and constipated” all the time, so you gotta believe he was fighting a losing battle from the start. Still though, this just wasn’t his movie. This did not need to be added to his already obscure resume’. He was Kyle-effing-Reese for chrissakes. Biehn deserves better.

It’s been a long time since I’ve had to shit all over a movie like this, but it’s also been a long time since I’ve had to give out a null Verdict. If it’s any indication of what we’re dealing with here, the last movie that earned the big donut was Grown Ups. Serenity now.

If The Divide hadn’t taken itself so seriously or had tried to be something more than just apocalyptic torture porn, it would have at least nabbed a 1. But being that it fails so miserably at saying anything that could be considered meaningful or having a purpose for existing, there was only room to fail. Sometimes, if you’re lucky, you get movies that are so bad they’re good, but if you’re not, you get a movie like this. There is not a single redeeming quality about The Divide, and that is quite a feat in itself. But if you’ve ever wondered what The Lord of Flies would look like as a snuff film, well hey, this is your lucky day.

Although it sure made sealing envelopes feel like a 24-hour rave party.

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15 Comments leave one →
  1. May 18, 2012 12:32 am

    Reblogged this on Julian Grant and commented:
    One of my fave recording artists from the 70’s. “Phantom of the Paradise” is his masterwork.

  2. May 18, 2012 3:12 am

    I wont be going to see this movie. Thanks for the heads up.

  3. May 18, 2012 4:45 pm

    Reblogged this on Ryaandavis.

  4. May 20, 2012 11:57 am

    Haha not a fan then 🙂

  5. Lemon Meringue Copter permalink
    May 21, 2012 11:17 am

    I probably won’t see this but really, could it be any worse than the “Tree of Life”?

  6. February 6, 2013 7:44 pm

    Just watched it and looked online to see if anyone else was as pissed off as I was about this movie. Couldn’t agree more on some of your points, but some I disagree with. I thought it wasn’t too bad up until (BIG REVEALERS AHEAD) one character got shot by another just to promote the nonsense and chaos for the sake of chaos, I agree 100% with you on that point. And the whole time I kept wondering how they could breathe because there was simply no way for enough air to be flowing, nor any kind of ventilation adequate for survival of something like 8 or 9 people. Not without compromising health from radioactive elements. And there was no generator or any explanation for the electricity. And then the ending, that really tipped me off that someone in charge of making the story was either retarded or miserable at creating depth from layering up one character’s growing stress and either misjudgment or purposeful betrayal to cause that character to simply allow the deaths of the remaining characters.

    • February 6, 2013 8:53 pm

      Dude, I am so sorry that you felt the urge to watch this as well. Was an easy pick for the worst movie of 2012, but at least we survived it together. Now all we can do is just try to forget.

  7. clark permalink
    June 2, 2013 2:17 am

    i think this is actually a good film for anyone who doesnt shit their pants every time something bad happens on a movie, if you dont wana watch a horror movie then go rent my little ponnies or something and quit acting like being a movie critique actually doesnt make you a waste of human resourse you douche

    • June 3, 2013 8:34 am

      Well that escalated quickly. Glad to hear you enjoyed this far more than I, but boy howdy, that is some hate! Didn’t really think of it as much of a horror movie to begin with, so don’t really know where that one’s coming from either. But hey, to each his own. Do you need a hug or something? We can get through this, I just know we can!

  8. Rob. permalink
    December 12, 2013 5:45 pm

    I completely agree with this review, at the end I was hoping the main character would get stabbed in the face for sitting around the entire movie doing nothing getting people to do the work a main character should do and then ”SPOILER” screw everybody over who helped her, fed her, by burning them for no reason and in the end she would have air for what an hour? she has food she cant eat cause she cant remove the suit.

  9. Robbs permalink
    December 22, 2013 2:23 am

    I actually… hated this movie too. Your description of this movie isn’t even a matter of opinion, I mean, calling this movie total crap is like calling the president ”sir.” I am really the kind of guy who like to give a chance to movies, independant ones too, with low budget. Because low budget doesn’t mean terrible movie, but this one really bring the myth of ”low-budget is shirt” on the table. The only thing I found good in this movie is Michael int he role of Mickey, he is a good actor and he played his character perfectly like always. He was just in a terrible movie around terrible characters with a terrible plot.

    I don’t know for you, but all along the movie, I was waiting for some question to be answered, you know, to go outside and find out something, giving a reason to be to this movie. When I saw those armors I was like : « cool maybe some alien crazy stuff coming, that could make things interesting. »

    But not at all, its like, each time you think its gonna have its chance, its just crap. The worst of all this ? I am a Micheal Biehn fan, so I paid for this movie 31,99$ without thinking about it. Now I use it to put my drinks on it, or I even can watch it, than watch a less terrible movie, which will finaly look great because what I saw before was so bad that everything can only be better ! lol

    I was expecting a ”Book of Eli” style, but it was more like a ”total shit” style

    But hey thanks for your review, glad to find someone to agree with !

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