I haven’t seen any of M. Night Shyamalan’s latest movies, but seeing that he’s had some sort of resurgence with The Visit, I went to give Split a view. I didn’t know what to expect from this because I avoided a lot of reviews and spoilers, but it’s best to go to this one blind. Split is not so much as a horror flick, but a thrilling piece. This review has spoilers.
The movie’s premise is simple – three girls get kidnapped by a man suffering from a split personality disorder and they have to escape. This stuck very much to the narrative, laying out details that support the personality of the characters so no bizarre information would just jump without explanation. In a way, because of this narrative, one can sense where the plot will go, but M. Night Shyamalan still manages to make the scenes thrilling and surprising. It’s not ‘the edge of your seat’ thrilling, but nonetheless the movie captivates your attention.
James McAvoy is fantastic. He slips in and out of the personalities like it was his second skin. The personalities vary, and McAvoy manages to bring them out to life. He’s entertaining and the characters allow him to step out of his usual scope of characters. He shares the stage with Casey, played by Anya Taylor-Joy, with most of the information map done on her character. In a way, both two characters are alike, and their similarity comes to play through ‘the final girl’ card. I liked how M. Night Shyamalan gave tribute to the trope. It has been pointed out that the final girl is of pure and innocence, and the tribute here wasn’t subtle. As the beast and Casey face each other for one last round, he notes something along the lines that she is of pure heart because the evolved ones are the broken ones – which is backed by flashing scenes showing Casey facing a beast of her own. Even her final scene with the beast alludes to her past.
Some articles mentioned a plot twist at the end, but if you’re not familiar with his work, it’s not really a plot twist that would surprise you, nor is it really related to the movie. Nonetheless, this was one entertaining movie – a good start to my 2017 viewings.