Split

500 Days Of Film Reviews Horror/Thriller, Split, Starring James McAvoy And Anya Taylor-Joy

Kevin (James McAvoy) has revealed 23 personalities to his trusted psychiatrist, Dr. Fletcher (Betty Buckley). However, one remains submerged - a personality bent on domination and terror. 

 

Compelled to abduct three teenage girls, Kevin embarks upon a horrific plan that will threaten those within him and endanger everyone around him.

Is It Any Good?

The best way to enjoy M. Night Shyamalan’s Split - and appreciate all of the director’s trademark twists and turns - is to watch with as little prior knowledge as possible. Spoilers pose a real threat to this horror/thriller. However, it is safe to report that Split is the director’s best work in a long, long while.

 

Kevin suffers from a condition called dissociative identity disorder (DID). Shyamalan’s interest in this area of mental health (and its cinematic potential) is abundantly clear. The scenes with Kevin’s psychiatrist (brilliantly played by Betty Buckley) are undeniably fascinating. 

 

Meanwhile, in lesser hands, Kevin and the personalities that we meet (including Barry, Dennis, Miss Patricia and nine-year-old Hedwig) could have resulted in a ridiculous, pantomime portrayal.

 

Thankfully, Split features an extremely impressive performance from James McAvoy. Each of the personalities he creates are meticulously defined, easily recognisable and utterly creepy. 

 

 

Alongside McAvoy’s unsettling portrayal is a superb performance from Anya Taylor-Joy. She plays Casey - by far the most interesting of Kevin’s three kidnapped girls. Via a series of disturbing flashbacks, we see that she too has suffered devastating trauma in her past. 

 

We are left to piece together the relevance of Casey's experiences and how they might impact Kevin. This being a Shyamalan film, it's hard not to be on the watch for clues, second guessing what we are shown.

 

While there is nothing on the level of The Sixth Sense here, there are a number of enjoyable curve balls and, shall we say, interesting revelations. 

 

Despite this, Split suffers from a desire to impart lots of information about DID. Unfortunately, this stifles the film’s tension and causes pacing issues. The movie is also nowhere near scary enough (at least for me).

 

However, overall, Split is an entertaining thriller and a welcome return to form for M. Night Shyamalan.

Random Observations

Have you seen Split?

 

If you have, what did you think of M. Night Shyamalan’s film? Let me know in the comments section below or get in touch via Twitter or Facebook!

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