I was a fan of director M. Night Shyamalan back in the early 2000’s, after the release of The Sixth Sense, Unbreakable and Signs. His stardom began to fall with the release of The Village, Lady in the Water and The Happening– these movies were a shell of his earlier work and began to just be off-putting, confusing, and they all felt like he was throwing shit on a wall to see what would stick. With all that shade being thrown, his new movie feature film was actually pretty damn good.
Split tells the story of Kevin Crumb. Kevin has 24 personalities inside his head and not all of them are friendly. One of Kevin’s personalities ends up kidnapping 3 girls in a parking lot in order to fulfill some sacred ritual. The girls must try and stay alive and figure out what the hell is going on before the personality known as The Beast comes for them.
This movie definitely delivered. I was honestly a little bit skeptical heading into this one. Director M. Night Shyamalan’s track record hasn’t been the most consistent, so I was walking in fearing another Village situation. To my surprise, I ended up really digging this flick. The performance of James McAvoy alone, is worth the price of admission.
Shyamalan wrote a solid story and to top it off, his execution of the material was spot on. He managed to take a very in depth, heavy, and difficult topic to deal with, in DID (Dissociative Identity Disorder), and accomplished in delivering a story that can be easily followed with darn good pacing. Kudos to him for not giving us a crazy piece of trash with a twist and actually putting out one his best movie since Signs. He also finds a way to sneak himself into this movie as well, which is just classic Shyamalan.
The characters in this movie were well rounded and interesting. Our three hostages Cassie (Anya Taylor-Joy), Claire (Haley Lu Richardson) and Marcia (Jessica Sula) are believable as our captive teens– they portray the modern teenager well, they just don’t give up easily under the circumstances. The highlight of the movie is McAvoy and his 24 personalities– this film is a vehicle for his acting chops. We unfortunately don’t get to see all of the people living inside the head of Kevin Crumb, but we are treated to 7 very different characters besides Kevin– a 9-year-old boy (Hedwig), a dominant matriarch (Patricia), an overprotective big brother (Dennis), a extroverted fashion enthusiast (Barry), a nerdy book worm (Orwell), a teenage socialite (Jade), and a hybrid unknown entity (The Beast). It’s quite entertaining seeing all these personalities brought to life, especially towards the latter part of the film where the personalities begin to communicate with each other more often– it’s awesome to see McAvoy flip-flop in front of the camera.
The movie delivers some pretty good blood and gore, but you have to wait for the final act to get to see the red stuff. Thanks to The Beast for showing up and gracing us with some great violence. I won’t go into any further detail as to not spoil anything for you. But this shit was pretty awesome.
I was very satisfied with this movie. The solid acting, plus the solid story kept me captivated for the entire length of the flick. McAvoy shows dynamic range and Taylor-Joy proves she’s an upcoming genre darling. There’s also a special twist right at the end and a nod to old-school Shyamalan lore which I though was super awesome. Split showcases why Shyamalan was at the top of the game over a decade ago. I hope he rides this creative spark and keeps churning out this kind of quality for years to come. //Arturo Padilla