← Back to Reviews
\
Split

(M. Night Shyamalan)




I get the feeling that Shyamalan wrote and directed this film, got it down to the 2 hour running time and screened it. Then the studio asked him; "Shyamalan, don't your movies always have twists? Why doesn't this film have a twist? I think this film needs a twist. Put a twist in". Then Shyamalan decides to tack some cheap ending onto an otherwise suspenseful film with a career performance from McAvoy. Now people might be upset that I said this film has a twist because saying that is in fact a spoiler. This spoils nothing. The so-called twist, if you even want to call it that, has nothing to do with the film and makes me question why the hell such a scene exists in this film to being with. Now...in saying all that. I honestly don't know if I hated it or loved it. I'm split.

I can make dad jokes like that now, give me a break.

McAvoy plays Dennis / Patricia / Hedwig / Kevin Wendell Crumb / Barry / Orwell / Jade...etc. He kidnaps three young girls and brings them to his lair. The girls are desperate to escape and try everything they can, but soon realize that their kidnaper is not all there. Each of his personalities have completely different conversations with them and himself. Can they escape before "he" arrives, a yet to be discovered 24th personality?

We can all agree that when the name M. Night Shyamalan is attached to a project, the groans, the eye rolling and the utter disinterest immediately hits you. Whatever goodwill he did with his first three films seems to have been completely destroyed with The Happening, Last Airbender and After Earth. A low budget horror flick came out recently, from Shyamalan, and people were surprised at how not terrible it was. The Visit was a found footage film and Shyamalan managed to use it to pretty good results. Now he Split, a suspense thriller that boarders body horror and I think it's another hit.

The film relies, heavily, on James McCoy's performance and I'm glad to say it's really strong. He's able to snake his way in and out of the vastly different personalities on a whim and each one is as believable as the last. He gives 100% in his performance here, being terrifying, funny and sad at any moment. Anya Taylor-Joy is the 'lead' girl out of the three, we are given snippets of a backstory through some flashbacks. She's damaged and fits the victim role perfectly. The problem is that we've seen it all before, trouble girl is trapped and has to muster the strength to fight back.

Split was really fun and tense. I'd love to see Shyamalan stick to this genre and stay away from big budgets. The run time might work against the film, it runs two hours and can easily lose some material, but as a whole this film worked for me.