Reel Reviews

The Divide - Blu-ray Review

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The Divide - Blu-ray Review

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4 stars

Leave it to the French to redefine both ‘apocalyptic’ and ‘nightmare’.  With one unflinching swipe of the hand, director Xavier Gens (Frontiers) wipes away any lasting memories of The Road or Doomsday and makes A Boy and His Dog look like a family trip to the Magic Kingdom.  The Divide is legitimate terror among the ruins of an unexpected nuclear holocaust.  It’s one twisted ride; a vacation that is more terrifying made in one trip.  And the places The Divide goes will rock you to the bone, split you open, and bathe in your innards.

Even for a veteran of horror and goretastic splatterhouse cinema like myself, The Divide is a tough watch.  Tense and completely unnerving, writers Karl Mueller and Eron Sheean give us a post-apocalyptic look at human behavior that is as pessimistic as they come and completely believable.  A series of nuclear explosions devastate New York City.  Missiles hang in the air, but for a small group of survivors locked in the basement of a New York apartment building surviving the nuclear blast is just the beginning.  Abandon all hope indeed.

Led by the paranoia of superintendent Mikey (Michael Bien) who attempts to dominate from the get-go, Eva (Lauren German) and her boyfriend Sam (Iván González), Josh (Milo Ventimiglia) and his brother Adrien (Ashton Holmes), Josh's friend Bobby (Michael Eklund), Marilyn (Rosanna Arquette) and her daughter Wendi (Abbey Thickson), and Devlin (Courtney B. Vance) experience real terror when – weeks after their shut-in begins – a group of hazmat-wearing soldiers kidnap the youngest of them to do tests.  When the survivors quickly realize there is no escape – without fear of nuclear fallout – all hell breaks out inside their group.  Twisted alliances are formed and desperation is smoked as the group realizes “it’s in the hair” and begin to explore their base extinct without fear of consequence.

The Divide is a film that, upon its conclusion, demands from its viewer a very hot, very long shower.  Don’t worry, that won’t get the images out of the brain; that scarring is for life.  And with a final image that haunts me still, one can only admit that, as tough as it is, The Divide is unforgettable.  This is truly unpredictable science fiction; the type of films the 1970s used to wallpaper the rooms of our imagination with.  It even lags at times with character building dialogue.  Go figure.  Fortunately, the creep factor is always fully charged.

If you think you’ve seen everything about there is to see about Armageddon and post-apocalyptic films and feel that genre can’t offer anything new, The Divide just might show you there’s a bit life in the ol’ gal yet; it just might change your mind…if you can wade through the dark turns and sharp corners it leads you through.

{2jtab: Film Details}

The Divide - Blu-ray ReviewMPAA Rating: R for disturbing strong violence and sexuality, and for pervasive language.
Director
: Xavier Gens
Writer: Karl Mueller, Eron Sheean
Cast: Lauren German; Michael Biehn; Milo Ventimiglia; Courtney B. Vance; Ashton Holmes
Genre: Horror | Sci-fi
Tagline:
To survive the end of the world you must first survive each other.
Memorable Movie Quote: "We have survivors in a building. Do you copy?"
Distributor:
Anchor Bay Films
Official Site:
www.thedividethemovie.com
Release Date: July 22, 2011 (San Diego ComicCon)
DVD/Blu-ray Release Date:
April 17, 2012

Synopsis: In this graphic and violent, post-apocalyptic thriller, nine strangers-all tenants of a New York high rise apartment—-escape a nuclear attack by hiding out in the building's bunker-like basement. Trapped for days underground with no hope for rescue, and only unspeakable horrors awaiting them on the other side of the bunker door, the group begins to descend into madness, each turning on one another with physical and psycho-sexual torment. As supplies dwindle, and tensions flare, and they grow increasingly unhinged by their close quarters and hopelessness, each act against one another becomes more depraved than the next. While everyone in the bunker allows themselves to be overcome by desperation and lose their humanity, one survivor holds onto a thin chance for escape even with no promise of salvation on the outside.

{2jtab: Blu-ray Review}

The Divide - Blu-ray Review

Component Grades
Movie

Blu-ray Disc
4 stars

3 stars



Blu-ray Experience
3.5 Stars

Blu-ray

Blu-ray Details:

Available on Blu-ray - April 17, 2012
Screen Formats: 2.40:1
Subtitles
: English SDH, Spanish
Audio: English: Dolby TrueHD 7.1; French: Dolby Digital 5.1; Spanish: Dolby Digital Mono
Discs: 25GB Blu-ray Disc; Two-disc set (1 BD, 1 DVD); DVD copy
Encoding: Region A

The 1080p transfer is a bit too dark for its own good.  Apparently, so is the original print.  Gray, gray, and even more gray; there’s no color of which to really write about and none of the colors pop with clarity.  The film might as well be in black-and-white.  Grit and more grit.  Shadows fade into backgrounds and definitions are a bit bleak.  All styled to be so, though.  I will say this about the quality of the picture; the faces – detail-wise – are simply genius.  Whether by accident or forced, I care not.  The level of layers achieved is a stunning announcement that is best reserved for spaghetti westerns; very telling for a morality piece, eh?  The wicked soundtrack – amped up through a Dolby TrueHD 7.1 lossless soundtrack – is technical showcase that proved a great oral mood for the rich darkness of the picture.

Supplements:

Commentary:

  • The audio track was recorded with Director Xavier gens and Actors Michael Biehn, Michael Eklund, and Milo Ventimiglia present.  It’s an enthusiastic one and everyone seems ready to discuss the mood of the picture and the overall affect the film creates for the viewer.  It’s worthy of a listen for those out there that are inspired by unique visions, heavy gore, and weird things.

Special Features:

We get a trailer and that’s it.  Boo.  Hiss.  And, again, boo.  For this one, fans – even if you hate it – would be interested in a making of featurette.

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