This movie disturbed me more than any horror movie has. This is a bleak look at a small group of people who are thrown together by chance in a basement bomb shelter when a nuclear explosion rocks New York City. What happens next is the degradation of humanity as it slowly becomes a free for all kind of situation and anarchy reigns in it’s ugly little way. Directed by Xavier Gens stars Michael Biehn, Lauren German, Milo Ventimiglia, Mike Eklund, Courtney B Vance and Rossanna Arquette and was released in theaters in the United States on January 13, 2012. I remember seeing the trailer for this movie late last year and was hopeful for a really good sci-fi / end of the world movie watching experience. Turns out it wasn’t exactly as I hope it would go.
As nuclear explosions rage Manhattan, civilians start running for shelter. We see some of the residents of a building rush to the basement bomb shelter; only 8 residents make it in before the superintendent seals the door shut. The nine people inside the basement are Eva and her boyfriend Sam, Josh and his brother Adrien, Josh’s friend Bobby, Marilyn and her daughter Wendi, Devlin & the superintendent, Mickey. As the group settles in and acclimates themselves to the cramped rooms, Mickey sets himself up as the leader of the group. A 9-11 surviour, he had been well prepared and stocked a vaulted room with lots of supplies like medicine, canned food, bottled water and alcohol. He however only rations out some food and water, hiding the major stock from the rest. As time passes a few men in biohazard suits break the door open and snatch Wendi away from her screaming mother. Devlin and Mickey manage to kill two of the men, and Mickey takes his machine gun. Josh volunteers to use one of the dead soldier’s suits to leave the shelter and search for Wendi.
As Josh leaves the doorway he finds himself in sealed off tunnels of the same biohazard material. He approaches cautiously and finds himself in a lab where young children, with their hair all shaved off, are immersed in containers and being monitored. His disguise is found out and panicking he kills two soldiers and gets back into the basement. However his breathing apparatus is tore apart exposing him to the radioactive dust & air. The group find themselves being sealed in when the door is welded shut. As the days pass, Josh starts to show effects of the exposure and his hair starts to fall out. Marilyn, told that her kid is dead, becomes involved in a twisted and deranged sexual relationship with Bobby. Bobby himself goes a little nuts after he is forced to hack up the bodies of the dead soldiers so their decaying remains can be flushed away. Eva whose’s relationship with the meek Sam has fractured quite a bit becomes closer to Adiren while Marilyn tries to get her to have sex with Josh, warning that as time passes, the men will want sex.
As resources start getting scarce the group gets agitated and Devlin, who suspected that Mickey was holding out on the rest, discovers Mickey’s locked safe room and threatens him with a taser to open it. In the ensuing scuffled, Mickey kills Devlin with a gun. An increasingly deranged Bobby & Josh torture Mickey to get the safe open, where the group finds tons of canned goods, alcohol & water. Mickey is tied to a chair and left in a room (with Bobby urinating right next to him). Seizing authority, Josh and Bobby are physically and emotionally abusive of Marilyn, indulging in violent sex games with her. A distraught Eva is forced by Josh & Bobby to hack Devlin’s body to bits for flushing down the toilet. Mickey tells Eva that he has an extra gun in his room and that there is another way out of the basement – through the septic tank. Eva needs to get the gun from the crazed pair, who have killed Marilyn by being too rough with her.
By now Josh & Bobby have shaved their heads as they are losing a lot of hair. Eva cuts the power to distract Bobby and lures Josh to another room with the promise of sex. Sam is sent to get the gun but is confronted by Bobby who humiliates him with a sexual advance. Josh grows suspicious and tries to rape Eva, but she fights him off with help from Adrien. Sam gets the gun and points it at both Josh & Bobby but with all of them shouting commands at him, he shoots at Adrien instead. josh jumps Sam and beats him up brutally. Bobby take the gun and seems to be about to shoot Josh, when Eva sneaks up behind him and cuts his throat with a cut tin can lid. Eva then frees Mickey who shoots at an attacking Josh. Knowing he is going to die, Joshn lits himself up on fire by smashing an oil lamp and the whole basement starts to burn up. While Sam & Mickey try to put out the fire Eva in a desperate move abandons then, locks herself in the toilet with the hazmat suit, takes a few supplies and the gun and breaks the septic tank and jumps in. Mickey and Sam are left trapped and succumb to the growing flames.
Eva wades in all kinds of filth and shit in the pipes and climbs out onto the streets to face the desolate remains of the city and stares blankly at the devastation. The movie ends with us not knowing what happens next but we assume that Eva survives for a few days and then dies. Bleak, stark, dark, black humour, disturbing and decadent – that’s how I would describe this movie. I must still give kudos to the acting which is great on everyone’s part. 9 out of 10.