Dir. M. Night Shyamalan
Reviewed by Matt Adcock (@Cleric20)
Read the newspaper version of this review in the: Buckingham Advertiser
“He's done awful things to people and he'll do awful things to you…”
No not Director M. ‘Sixth Sense’ Shyamalan – although his recent cinematic output has been pretty painful but rather this quote refers to Kevin Wendell Crumb (James ‘Filth’ McAvoy). Kevin, you see, isn’t the only person in his body as he suffers from a dissociative identity disorder meaning that there are effectively 23 people time sharing him. Some of his personalities are borderline ‘normal’ but many are much much more messed up…
"hanging with the kids"
When three girls are kidnapped by Kevin – in his creepy bookish Dennis personality they get to meet a range of alter-egos who include uptight English sounding Patricia, Kanye loving child Hedwig and a host of others. Worse of all whilst Dennis isn’t ‘allowed’ to hurt the girls there is a secret 24th personality deemed only “The Beast” who certainly wants to…
"feel the fear"
The captives - Casey (Anya ‘The VVitch’ Taylor-Joy), Marcia (Jessica ‘Honeytrap’ Sula) and Clare (Haley Lu ‘Edge of Seventeen’ Richardson) are good as a bunch of friends making mostly dumb decisions whilst facing a nightmare situation. But McAvoy is on fire here fully throwing himself into the freakish role and delivering a truly mesmerising and engrossing horror baddie as a result.
"all girls together?"
Split certainly won’t win any awards for its depiction of mental illness as anything other than a killer plot twist / X-Men like mutation freak-em-up but if you can get over the seriously non-PC premise there is a hair-raising thriller on offer here that will get inside your head and mess with it. For fans of films such as Michael Mann’s ‘Manhunter’ or De Palma’s ‘Raising Cain’, Split is a must-see nail-biter. The tension ramps up as the hostages make increasingly desperate attempts to reason with at least one of the personalities holding them and the film doesn't cop out on a suitably grim ending.
"echoes of Taxi Driver"
Shyamalan has always had a great affinity with his bad guys – and with Kevin Crumb he gets to show the different facets of a monster by literally displaying its many faces. This is the closest of his films to the excellent ‘Unbreakable’ and seeing as it exists in the same Shyamalan universe it even leaves the way open to a joint sequel...
"the therapy might not be working"
Not for the faint of heart or those campaigning for people with multiple personalities to be taken seriously – Split will very likely, erm, ‘split’ audiences as you will need to seriously suspend your disbelief to allow this horror hokum to fully engage.
Out of a potential 5 you have to go with a Darkmatters:
(3.5 - Split the difference and soak up the atmosphere)...
Awesomeness ööö – Freaky and tense with a fantastic tease ending
Laughs öö – Occasional dark mirth to be had
Horror öööö – Puts its people through some very unpleasant situations
Spiritual Enlightenment öö - True self should take the light