Review: ‘Split’ Carries A Surprise Ending Shyamalan Fans Will Love
“Split” has a M. Night Shyamalan twist that you may actually enjoy!
M. Night Shyamalan brings us his latest horror/thriller “Split” starring James McAvoy as 24 different “characters.” As a man with 24 distinctly different personalities, McAvoy’s character kidnaps three young girls for unknown reasons. Reasoning with the different personalities to escape captivity, these 3 girls strive to find the personality that is more sympathetic to their plan.
Cinematics (Cinematography, Acting, Plot, etc.) – 3
“Split” has a signature Shyamalan darker tone and stillness throughout. It’s one of the more enjoyable aspects of his films and it works well in this horror/thriller genre. It adds to the eerie feel of McAvoy and his many characters. It also compliments the confined setting establishing the mystery that surrounds the characters and if they will escape.
While the captives may seem like the focal point of “Split,” from my perspective it was about unraveling McAvoy’s many personalities. It’s established that he has 24 different personalities but they only show about a third of them. Regardless of not introducing every personality, James McAvoy’s performance is absolutely phenomenal. He establishes distinct traits that transform him into a variety of characters and none of them bleed over into each other. Each of his personalities are an independent performance and McAvoy does an exceptional job.
The plot is fluid for the most part with a few inconsistencies. But despite its fluidity there is a bit of simplicity when it comes to the story. This is not entirely a bad thing as M. Night Shyamalan films tend to fold in the third act due to complex build ups that meet a simple end. I actually felt a bit empty wanting more Shyamalan complexity.
Overall James McAvoy is the highlight of the film carrying the bulk of the intrigue and mystery. He gives a stellar, chilling performance. There isn’t a lot to the story and may even fall into the lines of being cookie cutter, but it’s a refreshing change from the usual Shyamalan let down.
Entertainment Value – 4
“Split” is the type of film I hoped for from M. Night Shyamalan. He doesn’t attempt to reach beyond his means with this movie. I had no problem being fully engaged for about 90% of the film due to the progressive story and James McAvoy’s dynamic character.
The aspects of this genre also tend to dictate a certain level of entertainment. In “Split’s” case, I would say the genre elements held more supplemental value. The heart-pounding jumps and suspenseful moments were fun like many films in this genre but the unexpected nature of McAvoy’s character worked concurrently with these elements. By the end, my own expectations had me set for disappointment, but those well-versed in the Shyamalan universe should be prepared for something different than what you’ve seen before in his films.
Re-Watchability – 3.5
This is an M. Night Shyamalan film that I may end up buying. “The Sixth Sense” and “Unbreakable” are two films in my current collection and I do think that “Split” will be the third. This is a fun watch and it may be a different type of fun the second time around with added context. Fans of Shyamalan may watch this more than average moviegoers but I do think it’s worth more than one watch. Although I’d probably wait for a home release before venturing back out to the theater.
- Entertainment Value
"Split" is a win for M. Night Shyamalan. It isn't as complex as some of his other films but with James McAvoy's performance, it definitely succeeds.
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