Kevin has 23 distinct personalities. The 24th is about to be unleashed.
Though Kevin has evidenced 23 personalities to his trusted psychiatrist, Dr. Fletcher, 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, 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.
ActorsStarring: James McAvoy, Anya Taylor-Joy, Betty Buckley, Haley Lu Richardson, Jessica Sula, Brad William Henke, Sebastian Arcelus, Neal Huff, Kim Director, M. Night Shyamalan, Lyne Renee, Maria Breyman, Peter Patrikios, Roy James Wilson, Robert Bizik, Kerry Dutka, Izzie Coffey, Bruce Willis, Steven Dennis, Jon Douglas Rainey, Jalina Mercado, Matthew Nadu, Kash Goins, James Robinson Jr., Nakia Dillard, John Jillard Sr., John Mitchell, Andrea Havens, Barbara Edwards, Matthew Bowerman, Julie Potter, Kelly Werkheiser, Junnie Lopez, Shawn Gonzalez, Aleksandra Svetlichnaya, Michael J. Kraycik, Michelle Santiago, Corinne Costa, Colin Campbell, Michaela Bockarie, Gary Ayash, Jeff Buckner, Vincent Riviezzo, Ukee Washington, Rosemary Howard, Christopher Lee Philips
Split has finally ended the near 18-year rut that was M. Night Shyamalan’s filmography. While not quite on the same level as The Sixth Sense, it is by far one of Shyamalan’s best films. His previous film, The Visit, was not bad but certainly was not on the level of Signs and Unbreakable like Split. The psychology behind both the antagonists and main protagonist largely shapes the film. James McAvoy’s spot on acting of Dissociative Identity Disorder particularly nails it with him swapping between innocent and sociopathic roles throughout the movie.
It is very hard to review this film without spoilers, but it is fair to say this goes beyond a typical abduction story. A villain with multiple personalities provides a unique mix between a group of kidnappers vs. a single deranged individual. This on top of the fact that not all of McAvoy’s personalities are malicious make his inner struggle a constant factor in his victim’s struggle against him/them. The three girls, however, have very little personality. Two of them are just kind of there while the main one, the weird kid in school, actually does stuff.
While this film is labeled as “horror”, it is really more of a drama thriller. There is certainly a fear aspect to the film, what with the kidnapping and all, the film does not contain jump scares and other horror movie tropes. Split is more of about psychology and the question of what does it mean to be human. And how our experiences in life shapes who and what we are. That being said, the film has come under backlash for its portrayal of someone with a mental illness. If you are part of the group who treats being offended like the Olympics, this may not be the film for you. For those who do not have this issue, the film is quite enjoyable.
Shyamalan does manage to work on of his trademarked twists into this film, but surprisingly it is not at a crucial plot-turning point. This made a huge impact on the movie. Shyamalan has become known for each of his films having a twist. Going into a movie knowing there will be a twist by and large diminishes the twist. That omission from his usual work made Split flow smoother for a much more enjoyable film. The “twist” in this movie is more of an Easter Egg and sets Split up to have a potential sequel. Bottom line, keep up the good work Mr. Shyamalan!