Writer/director/producer M. Night Shyamalan returns to the captivating grip of The Sixth Sense, Unbreakable and Signs with Split, an original film that delves into the mysterious recesses of one man’s fractured, gifted mind. Following last year’s breakout hit The Visit, Shyamalan reunites with producer Jason Blum (The Purge and Insidious series, The Gift) for the thriller being hailed as “Shyamalan’s most terrifying film to date.”
Though Kevin (James McAvoy) has evidenced 23 personalities—each with unique physical attributes—to his trusted psychiatrist, Dr. Fletcher (Betty Buckley), there remains one still submerged who is set to materialize and dominate all the others. Compelled to abduct three teenage girls led by the willful, observant Casey (Anya Taylor-Joy, The Witch), Kevin reaches a war for survival among all of those contained within him—as well as everyone around him—as the walls between his compartments shatter apart.
What We Thought:
James McAvoy is the only good thing about Split. Even his good performance couldn’t get me to watch the movie ever again though.
I’ve never been an M. Night Shyamalan fan. Signs is the only movie of his I would ever consider rewatching. I thought The Sixth Sense was a joke and had no idea how anyone didn’t see that coming. I stopped watching his films for a while, but for some reason saw The Visit last year. I hated it. I didn’t want to see this, but I’m a big McAvoy fan so I went for him.
It’s a shame his performance is wasted in this ridiculous movie. He’s pretty fantastic jumping from one personality to the other. His mannerisms and different accents are perfect. He gives 100% both physically and mentally. A different director using the same plot and McAvoy’s performance would have made the thriller of the year.
Unfortunately M. Night goes with his trademark twist angle that only surprises stupid people. They talk about Kevin having maybe one more personality that will come out and they tell you what it’s going to be in like the first 20 minutes of the movie. When the personality comes out, McAvoy is fantastic, but it adds nothing to the actual movie.
They also flashback to a younger version of Casey (one of the kidnapped girls) and you sit there hoping the flashbacks pay off. It does, but isn’t necessary. They could find another reason for what happens to her in the end. The flashbacks just feel like tacked on “trigger” scenes to add emotion and depth to a story that didn’t need it.
The concept of a man with multiple personalities is intriguing and should work as a film. Add in a solid performance from the actor playing the multiple personalities and again, it should work as a film. Unfortunately M. Night does his M. Night thing and Split did nothing for me. I don’t understand how McAvoy’s character would never be found where he was nor does it really explain why he kidnapped the girls in the first place. There’s a great scene at the end that’s a throwback to a previous M. Night film. I won’t ruin it, but a couple of us exploded into laughter at it. Unless you love M. Night and think he’s a genius then…
Cast & Crew:
- James McAvoy
- M. Night Shyamalan
- Anya Taylor-Joy
Recommended If You Like:
- M. Night’s Trademark Terrible Twists
- James McAvoy