Split

"Good"

Split Review


After a few badly received sci-fi blockbusters, M. Night Shyamalan returned to his earthier style of filmmaking with 2015's The Visit and now this edgy psychological horror romp. It's a genuinely freaky movie, packed with unsettling touches and wonderfully intense performances. And yet there's a nagging sense that the filmmaker is using a very real mental health issue for cheap thrills. Dissociative identity disorder, also known as split personality, is genuinely devastating, but here it's played for blackly comical chills.

The man suffering from this condition is Kevin (James McAvoy), and he has 23 identities battling for supremacy inside him. The ringleader is Dennis, a psychopath who is working in league with fellow alter-ego Patricia to kidnap three young women, the abused outcast Casey (Anya Taylor-Joy) and two classmates (Haley Lu Richardson and Jessica Sula). As these teens try to use his personalities against each other to escape, Kevin is also attending sessions with his psychiatrist Dr Fletcher (Betty Buckley), an expert on his condition. And she has no idea what he's actually up to. Or that all of his personalities are terrified of a menacing identity they call the Beast.

Shyamalan is an expert at dropping clues into each scene, packing the dialog with innuendo and encouraging the actors into giving performances that suggest at unexpected connections and histories. As the film progresses, both Kevin and Casey reveal the most telling details of their grim pasts, allowing Shyamalan to gleefully crank up the tension. And the result is enjoyably creepy, keeping the audience off-balance with a plot that's impossible to predict and plenty of shocking mayhem along the way. At the centre, the audience is able to identify with Taylor-Joy's thoughtful Casey, a girl who has survived a nasty childhood and is determined to get out of this situation before it turns even more horrific.

Of course, the film's centrepiece is McAvoy's wonderful collection of performances as Kevin's various personalities. Energetic, funny, charming and terrifying, McAvoy goes for broke to bring each one to vivid life, adding hilariously camp touches and childlike innocence, as well as genuine malevolence. So it's a shame that the character tips over into silly movie villain mode in the final sequence, rather than going for something a bit darker and deeper. But it's an enjoyable freak-out while it lasts, and in fine Shyamalan style he holds back a little gift for his fans until the very end.

Watch the trailer for Split:



Split

Facts and Figures

Genre: Horror/Suspense

Run time: 117 mins

In Theaters: Friday 20th January 2017

Budget: $5M

Distributed by: Blumhouse Productions

Production compaines: Universal Pictures, Blumhouse Productions, Blinding Edge Pictures

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 3 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 81%
Fresh: 13 Rotten: 3

IMDB: 7.6 / 10

Cast & Crew

Starring: as Kevin Wendell Crumb, Anya Taylor-Joy as Casey Cooke, Haley Lu Richardson as Claire Benoit, Jessica Sula as Marcia, as Dr. Karen Fletcher, as Uncle John, as Casey's Father, Neal Huff as Mr. Benoit, as Hannah, Lyne Renee as Academic Moderator, Maria Breyman as High-School Student, Peter Patrikios as Cab Driver, Steven Dennis as Dan at Next Table, Jon Douglas Rainey as Dr. Clerque, Jalina Mercado as Zoo Goer, Matthew Nadu as Waiter, Kash Goins as Flower Kiosk Worker, James Robinson Jr. as Claire's Party Guest, as Policeman #1, Roy James Wilson as Homeland Security Officer, John Jillard Sr. as Homeland Security, John Mitchell as EMT, Andrea Havens as Traveler in the Station, Barbara Edwards as Diner Patron, Robert Bizik as Bar Patron, Matthew Bowerman as Businessman / Father, Julie Potter as Female Paramedic, Kelly Werkheiser as Casey's Mother, Junnie Lopez as Geraldo, Shawn Gonzalez as Train Conductor, Aleksandra Svetlichnaya as Pedestrian, Michael J. Kraycik as Zoo Worker, Michelle Santiago as Zoo Worker, Corinne Costa as Party Guest, as Boy in Park, Michaela Bockarie as Zoo Attendee, Gary Ayash as Restaurant Patron (uncredited), Jeff Buckner as Police Officer (uncredited), Kerry Dutka as Restaurant and Mall Patron (uncredited), Vincent Riviezzo as Detective (uncredited), Izzie Coffey as Five-Year-Old Casey, Ukee Washington as News Anchor

Contactmusic


Advertisement

New Movies

Star Wars: The Last Jedi Movie Review

Star Wars: The Last Jedi Movie Review

After the thunderous reception for J.J. Abrams' Episode VII: The Force Awakens two years ago,...

Daddy's Home 2 Movie Review

Daddy's Home 2 Movie Review

Like the 2015 original, this comedy plays merrily with cliches to tell a silly story...

The Man Who Invented Christmas Movie Review

The Man Who Invented Christmas Movie Review

There's a somewhat contrived jauntiness to this blending of fact and fiction that may leave...

Ferdinand Movie Review

Ferdinand Movie Review

This animated comedy adventure is based on the beloved children's book, which was published in...

Brigsby Bear Movie Review

Brigsby Bear Movie Review

Director Dave McCary makes a superb feature debut with this offbeat black comedy, which explores...

Battle of the Sexes Movie Review

Battle of the Sexes Movie Review

A dramatisation of the real-life clash between tennis icons Billie Jean King and Bobby Riggs,...

Shot Caller Movie Review

Shot Caller Movie Review

There isn't much subtlety to this prison thriller, but it's edgy enough to hold the...

Advertisement
The Disaster Artist Movie Review

The Disaster Artist Movie Review

A hilariously outrageous story based on real events, this film recounts the making of the...

Stronger Movie Review

Stronger Movie Review

Based on a true story about the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing, this looks like one...

Only the Brave Movie Review

Only the Brave Movie Review

Based on a genuinely moving true story, this film undercuts the realism by pushing its...

Wonder Movie Review

Wonder Movie Review

This film may be based on RJ Palacio's fictional bestseller, but it approaches its story...

Happy End  Movie Review

Happy End Movie Review

Austrian auteur Michael Haneke isn't known for his light touch, but rather for hard-hitting, award-winning...

Patti Cake$ Movie Review

Patti Cake$ Movie Review

Seemingly from out of nowhere, this film generates perhaps the biggest smile of any movie...

The Limehouse Golem Movie Review

The Limehouse Golem Movie Review

A Victorian thriller with rather heavy echoes of Jack the Ripper, this film struggles to...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.