Bloody Disgusting: ‘Divinity’ Sundance Review – A Stunningly Original, Weird-as-Hell Sci-fi Trip

On September 12, 2023
By Staff Writer

Out of all the programming categories at Sundance, it’s NEXT that proves to be the most divisive. Saved for “pure, bold works distinguished by an innovative, forward-thinking approach to storytelling,” it’s essentially the home of arthouse cinema. So it should come as no surprise that Eddie Alcazar‘s weird-as-hell Divinity, which just had its world premiere at the festival, falls right into that category.


Set in an alternate universe (or a near future?), Divinity sees scientist Sterling Pierce (Scott Bakula, Quantum Leap) dedicate his life to the quest for immortality, slowly creating the building blocks of a groundbreaking serum named Divinity. Years later, his son Jaxxon Pierce (Stephen Dorff, Blade) now controls and manufactures the drug, resulting in a hedonistic planet that has been left 97% infertile, but immortal. Two alien brothers (Moises Arias and Jason Genao) arrive with a plan to abduct the mogul, only to be surprised by the sudden arrival of a sex worker named Nikita (Karrueche Tran, TNT’s Claws), who complicates their plans. Meanwhile, in another universe (or planet?) a female race led by Ziva (Bella Thorne, The Babysitter films) aims to undo the destruction caused by Divinity.

Divinity is fucking weird. There’s no way around it. Though it has a more linear narrative than your typical experimental film, its black-and-white, 16mm-shot assault on the senses is bound to divide viewers. Writer/director Eddie Alcazar, returning to the screen for the first time since 2018’s Perfect, gives us a unique vision that doesn’t offer much handholding for viewers. It’s best to just sit back and enjoy(?) the ride.

Though it’s aesthetically reminiscent of the lo-fi production of sci-fi television shows from the ’60s, the themes that Divinity grapples with apply to our modern world. Keying into society’s penchant for selfishness and self-preservation, especially in these post-pandemic times, Alcazar has more on his mind than a silly little sci-fi adventure.