“Split” is the movie we all expected and hoped M. Night Shyamalan would have made 15 years ago. After “The Sixth Sense” in 1999, Shyamalan’s forever cemented his genius of horror filmmaking by immortalizing and terrifying us all with those four simple little words, “I see dead people.” Nearly every film after that was a precipitous drop compared to his inaugural masterpiece. To some, “Split” may have come 15 years too late. But not for me.
“Split” is the story of Dennis, Patricia, Hedwig, Kevin, Barry, Jade, Orwell, Beast, and 16 others, all played by James McAvoy. A man who suffers from Dissociate Identity Disorder (multiple personality disorder.) When three teenage girls are kidnapped by Dennis and the other personalities, the girls must deal with the many personalities and try to figure out if one of them could possibly be convinced to set them free. I gotta be honest, I had no idea McAvoy had this kind of talent and range as an actor. The preparation, mental dexterity, and stamina he must’ve had to develop and endure for this character is nothing short of remarkable.
The addition of the psychiatrist Dr. Karen Fletcher (played by Betty Buckley) served as a much-appreciated exposition character giving insight, backstory, and needed information regarding the understanding of McAvoy’s character. She believes and argues that her patient and his condition is the result of the human brain reaching the pinnacle of its potential. Citing examples of how one identity has certain allergies that the other doesn’t, or how they each display a different level of physical strength, intelligence, OCD, or other very unique traits.
But the best part about this terrifying roller coaster is that M. Night is back in his original unpredictable form of storytelling that gives a completely twisted but satisfying ending that rekindled my passion and memories of the M.Night of 1999. Go see “Split” and then develop another few identities so that you can see it again for the first time.