By Jordan Norkus
Arts & Entertainment Editor
On Friday, Jan. 20 M. Night Shyamalan’s latest psychological horror film was released in theaters.
Written and directed by Shyamalan, “Split” stars James McAvoy, Anya Taylor-Joy and Betty Lynn Buckley.
“Split” had a box office gross of 40.2 million during its opening weekend and received mostly positive reviews from critics and audience members.
McAvoy stars as Kevin Wendell Crumb, a man who suffers from Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID), otherwise known as Multiple Personality Disorder.
It is revealed that Crumb has 23 different personalities and later develops a 24th personality, referred to as “the Beast.” The primary personalities presented in the film are Dennis, Patricia, Hedwig and Barry.
The film opens with three girls, Casey, Claire and
Marcia, leaving a birthday party. They are all kidnapped by “Dennis” and held in an unknown cellar.
The rest of the film follows the girls as they try to escape before they are sacrificed to the Beast. Over the course of the plot, we learn more about Crumb and his personalities through his interactions with other characters and his sessions with Buckley’s character, Dr. Fletcher.
I thoroughly enjoyed the film. I was especially impressed with McAvoy’s performance.
He showed every personality he portrayed through distinct accents, stereotypes and body language. There was one specific scene toward the end of the film where he showed the different personalities in a matter of seconds. The physical and emotional visualizations were incredible.
I’ve seen McAvoy in a few other films, but “Split” really showcased his strong capabilities as an actor. I’ve never seen him do anything like this and I loved it.
What really surprised me about the film was the backstory of Taylor-Joy’s character, Casey.
Out of the three girls, the focus is really on Casey’s character. From the beginning it is shown that she is kind of “weird” and that she keeps to herself. It is later discovered that when she was little, her uncle would make her take off her clothes while they were out hunting and pretend that she was an animal in the woods. This added a dark layer of abuse and pedophilia to the film.
The only negative criticism I have is that the beginning scene of the movie wasn’t really believable to me. The girls are sitting in the car, while Dennis knocks out Claire’s father as he is putting stuff away in the trunk. Dennis gets in the front seat of the car and they all seem way too nonchalant about it happening.
Shyamalan is known for having a “twist” ending at the end of his films. When “Split” concludes, it is revealed that the film is actually a sequel to his 2000 film “Unbreakable,” starring Bruce Willis and Samuel L. Jackson. Willis is seen sitting in a diner portraying his character, Davis Dunn, and a reference is made to the action-thriller film.
I love horror and suspense films more than anyone and have been continuously let down by what’s been coming out recently. I was pleased that “Split” wasn’t one of those movies.
If you liked Shyamalan’s other movies like “The Sixth Sense,” “Signs” and “The Visit,” this one is for you.