No please not that, anything but that! This might be the screams you hear when another M. Night Shyamalan film rolls into theaters. The man who started out so strong, only to fall so far has tried his luck at horror once more in the featured film Split starring James McAvoy. Will a movie about split personalities kidnapping girls be the step he needs to climb back to top notch director, or will his movie be laughable at best? Robbie K here with yet another review, and as always I appreciate your reads. Let’s get started!
- Creepy kind of horror
- Decent plot to keep it interesting
- Complex morals
- James McAvoy
Fans of my reviews know creepy horror is better for me than jump scares, and Split is a prime example of spine-tingling chills. Shyamalan and his crew get incredible effects from such simple tactics, using isolation, subtle piano background music, and gradual information revelation to keep you in suspense. By using a believable human as the monster instead of some cheesy creature, the creeps are only further amplified by how horrible such a thing can be.
But scares alone don’t make a movie and Split does a decent job of crafting a tale to keep you hooked into the movie. While certainly not original, Split’s plot is a culmination of smaller stories that detail the background info of a majority of our characters, helping to develop them in the short run time. All of these tales have a moral twist to it, but one story in particular raises an intriguing concept that may provide some food for thought, or at least an ethical dilemma for future talks.
However, the piece de resistance is the leading actor James McAvoy who carries much of the movie. The man can play multiple personalities well, tweaking his mannerisms and dialogues in subtle ways to craft an entirely different identity. His talents, as well as the direction, kept all his characters in the realistic zone, which while creepy, also made engaging characters to grab on to. There are few actors to which I could see doing the spectacular job he did.
- Predictable Story
- Trailer has shown much
- Don’t see all the personalities
- Mixed on the ending
Despite the story being very well-developed for a horror story, it also isn’t the most unique either. Outside of the twenty-three-personality quirk, you can guess much of the backstory of each character and where the film is going by about the 30-minute mark. Part of the predictability can be attributed to the trailer revealing a lot of key details in the short collection of scenes, including the big revelation at the end.
The trailer also harbors on the twenty-three personalities, but in reality, it’s more like four with a few cameos from the others. While this isn’t necessarily a bad thing (as too many personalities could be very sloppily done), it also was a wasted gimmick. What do I mean by this confusing statement? I mean, why make twenty-three, instead of say ten, or even five? What was the significance of twenty-three outside of a nickname if you weren’t going to integrate all of them? This dislike comes from the trailer’s focus on high number only to once again let it fizzle out. And as for the ending, it’s a very open-ended finale that leaves a lot of questions up in the air. Perhaps the potential sequel will answer these components, but only time will tell.
Split, to my surprise, was much better than I thought and was a horror movie worthy of the franchise. If you are looking for realistic chills, a satisfying plot, and fantastic acting of someone with a mental health disorder then certainly check this movie out. In fact, in regards to the horror genre I would warrant this movie earns a trip to the theater. However, as a movie overall, it still has its shortcomings, especially in regards to the twenty-three-personality gimmick. Yet one thing is for certain, if Shyamalan can continue this trend he may fall back into the favorable director field once more.
My scores are:
Movie Overall: 7.0