Split is a cold, twisted thriller written and directed by M. Night Shyamalan that starts off with the abduction of three teenage girls; Claire Benoit (Haley Lu Richardson), Marcia (Jessica Sula), and Casey Cooke (Anya Taylor-Joy). The girls are kidnapped after attending Claire’s birthday party by one of Kevin Crumb’s (James McAvoy) personalities named Dennis. Kevin suffers from dissociative identity disorder or DID and shows evidence of 23 different personalities that Kevin has confided in his trusted psychiatrist Dr. Karen Fletcher (Betty Buckley). However, the reason that Dennis kidnapped the girls is that he is planning on revealing the unearthly 24th personality and wants an audience. DID is the theory that each personality can manifest unique physical attributes, a cognitive and physiological prism within a single being. With each identity fighting for control of Kevin, it becomes easier for the girls to try to escape.
It seems that abduction theme films are becoming more popular in Hollywood as of right now. Not to say it’s a bad thing because it plays on the heart strings, gets people involved and worried because it could happen to them and makes money. Which isn’t such a bad thing, but it's nice to see that Shyamalan added a new side to the abduction theme by making the antagonist suffer from DID. He does a good job of portraying the inner struggles that Kevin faces suffering from this disorder, but also the struggles the girls are facing with Kevin while being locked away from everyone else.
James McAvoy does an excellent job portraying each identity; using different accents, facial expressions, and body language. These aspects help with giving each identity their own little notch. Even with Strong performances from McAvoy and Buckley, the acting seemed mediocre at best. The setting felt dark and grimy, but fit well as a location for the movie. The film had an overall eerie feel that kept you at the edge of your seat the entire time. Although it’s a longer movie for this day and age for movie goers, it holds your attention so well that you don’t even notice how long you’ve been watching. The effects they used on McAvoy to help morph his body were very simple but fit in well.
Looking at other films that Shyamalan has done in the past, Split is one of the better of this decade, in my opinion. The story was well put together, minus a few errors with small details regarding the overall setting of the movie. For not being a huge fan of Shyamalan I enjoyed Split far more than I thought I would have. With a well rounded story and a strong performance from James McAvoy the movie is a good watch and I would recommend it to friends if they like thrillers with a twist or two thrown into it
Review for Split at Theater with Standard Viewing
Screening Provided by NBC Universal