A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that The Divide is an unpleasant, incredibly gruesome nuclear holocaust movie in which survivors slowly turn on one another and sink into degradation. It's filled with blood, gore, humiliation, torture, beatings, and a constant sense of fear and dread. A consensual sexual relationship between adults eventually turns into sexual slavery, followed by rape. Language also is very strong and frequent, with constant use of words such as "f--k," "s--t," and "p---y," and characters occasionally smoke and drink. For those interested in the nuclear holocaust genre, something like The Road would be better worth your time.
What's the story?
As a nuclear bomb drops, a band of humans races down into the basement of an apartment building, where the super, Mickey (Michael Biehn), has prepared a stockpile of food and survival tools. At first they hope for survival -- but instead they're attacked by men in radiation suits, who kidnap a little girl. After that, the group falls apart, slowly turning on one another and slipping into degradation, chaos, and violent struggles for power. Only one among them, Eva (Lauren German), seems to have enough heart to survive.
Is it any good?
The Divide is both extremely dismal and extremely uncomfortable. Though nuclear holocaust movies are grim and depressing as a rule, it's certainly possible to make good movies in the genre, such as 2009's The Road. But this one aims for a dark, cutthroat tone, focusing on exploitation elements without the thrills that are usually involved.
The characters consist of a bunch of standard-issue types that are easily manipulated into conflict without much challenge or depth. Only Rosanna Arquette as a grieving mother seems to go the extra mile. Director Xavier Gens lets his camera restlessly roam the basement corridors without much else to do, and the effect is like pacing; it's tense, but in a bad way. Finally, at 122 minutes, the movie is needlessly, relentlessly, torturously long. Bottom line? Avoid this at all costs.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about The Divide's brutal, gruesome violence. Is it necessary to the story? How else could this movie have made its point?
Is there any glimmer of hope in this story? Is it possible for kindness and empathy to win the day over savagery?
Eva is arguably the most likable character here; do you consider her a role model?
How does the movie portray sex? What message does that send to viewers?
- In theaters: January 13, 2012
- On DVD or streaming: April 17, 2012
- Cast: Lauren German, Michael Biehn, Milo Ventimiglia
- Director: Xavier Gens
- Studio: Anchor Bay Entertainment
- Genre: Thriller
- Run time: 121 minutes
- MPAA rating: R
- MPAA explanation: disturbing strong violence and sexuality, and for pervasive language
For kids who love thrills
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.