I love Anchor Bay.
In the 90’s, Anchor Bay had the foresight to grab the rights a number of movies that the studios had forgotten about or didn’t see a profit in and release them. Evil Dead, Hellraiser,Italian horror films, Space Camp. Anchor Bay saw the market for films that we now take for granted in owning. Without Anchor Bay, I can’t honestly say that Bruce Campbell and The Evil Dead would be anywhere near as widely known as they are now. Without Anchor Bay, other companies wouldn’t have gravitated to the genre video business. No Anchor Bay, no Dark Sky Films, no Blue Underground.
So when Anchor Bay began making films of their own I was both intrigued and a little worried. They weren’t going to be a huge studio and dealing with budgets and the various other sundries that go with film making can be an expensive proposition. While straight-to-DVD can be cheap and easy to do, that doesn’t mean money or quality will follow.
To be honest, I think a lot of the early films they ended up making and distributing show that. Stanton Hill and iMurders for example weren’t the worst movies I had ever seen, but they were forgettable. Then something happened. I don’t know if it was a shift in the acquisitions team or if they were given more money to play with in the production/buying department, but Anchor Bay started releasing good original films. Maybe not always my cup of tea but films that I can recognize the quality involved.
Which brings me to The Divide.
The Divide is a suspense film about a bunch of the survivors of what could very well be the apocalypse. All of them are trapped in a make shift bomb shelter beneath an apartment building put together by the building’s super, Mickey (played by the awesome Michael Biehn) who is a bit of an odd duck in a “possibly going to murder everyone for food” kind of way. Just as things start getting a bit angst-y, the shelter is opened up from the outside by a group of machine gun wielding men in toxic/radiation suits who come in and steal away a little girl. From here on out things go from bad to worse. It’s hard to say much more without giving stuff away.
The film also stars Courtney B Vance, Milo Ventimiglia and Rossana Arquette and was directed by Xavier Gens who is best know for the video game to movie Hitman.
As far as nuclear war survival movies go, this one was pretty good but not excellent. While the story isn’t particularly a new one and the script probably started as something average to decent, the story pretty much flows how you know it would and characters do pretty much what you figured they would do, but with a couple of little twists.
What brings it to life is the actors involved. Michael Biehn is in rare form in this film as the emotionally disturbed Mickey, the odd and somewhat surely building super that is reluctantly letting these people stay in his bomb shelter. Milo Ventimiglia delves to some depths as Josh. And I mean straight to the bottom. I was kind of surprised at how interesting his character became and Milo actually shows some acting chops. Unfortunately the rest of the characters and acting are a bit cookie cutter; you’ve seen a lot of these characters in a lot of these types of films before.
Over all, what should you do about The Divide? It’s definitely to be viewed whether it be via rental, ppv or pay tv, but it’s really just a script overhaul or two away from being a buy.
And if you’re gonna geek out, GEEK HARD!