I’m not sure what seems to surprise everyone most. That new Split Movie. Or the idea of a really good movie being released in January. Or the fact that it was made by M. Night Shyamalan. The surprise wasn’t my only emotion. I was terrified, intrigued, amazed, and very satisfied after watching Split, a psychological horror film which takes place in the same cinematic universe as Unbreakable, another Shyamalan movie. Here’s what I think about this Split movie.
A January Movie Blessing in Disguise
I unexpectedly ended up at the movie theater this past weekend because of bad weather that had ruined a perfectly good picnic. Seeing that it is January, the month when Hollywood decides not to release anything good, my friend and I had no real clue what to watch. We have already seen Rogue One twice and Patriots Day didn’t really seem like a good option. All we could watch was that dumb Why Him? movie. My friend noticed Split and immediately decided on watching that movie. I did catch a glimpse of the trailer while buying popcorn on my second outing to Rogue One. I liked that trailer and was keen to see this movie.
Split More than Exceeds My Low Expectations (Spoilers!)
I didn’t really expect much from this movie except for the usual Shyamalan scenes with an extended focus on little weird things and wrd dialogue. But Split, Although a simple yet weird movie, is actually a very intricate story. It’s absolutely dark, funny, well paced and thrilling to watch. That Dance scene was insane! It was funny, tense, and had feelings of hopelessness. Most of the scenes in this movie are like this in which they make you feel 3 or more different emotions at the same time. This mysterious movie is well paced and rewards the viewer with small amounts of information as the movie progresses. The build up to the ending with a few unexpected twists is truly amazing.
McAvoy is on Fire in this Movie
This is probably one of his best performances. He actually plays about 24 different roles in this movie. McAvoy completely gives himself away to this performance and is fully committed to his role. You can notice the distinct differences in each of the personalities. It’s not just a change in voice, but in mannerisms as well. He’s most inspiring moments are when he gets into that kid personality and that female personality. He even plays a personality that is trying to emulate another personality. Genius! Coming up with this sort of idea is very cool, but bringing this idea to life is almost impossible. McAvoy really made it look easy and you can see that the man really did bring a lot to this role. Many other actors out there could have played this role too, but I genuinely feel that they will never be as convincing as McAvoy is in this movie.
There’s a few things that I didn’t really get, or like.
The split is rated PG13. This means that 14-year-old kids can go and watch this movie. The movie is about how this really creepy guy abducts these 3 teenage girls who he locks away, only to mentally torture them with his multiple personalities and ultimately eat at the end. Casey Cooke played by Anya Taylor-Joy has a good back story arc which explains why she was so calm in this terrifying situation. She is a victim of child abuse and she shares her experience with the other 2 girls in order to help them cope with the situation. This is classic Shyamalan cinema and it certainly helps to carry the movie. It’s just that child abuse is a touchy subject and the low rating is also a weird choice.
The transformation to the Beast (an indestructible monster with veins popping out everywhere), although a very cool sequence, was a bit weird. The entire movie up until this point was very grounded and realistic. Even with its strange premise, Split still holds onto its realistic tone and never breaks character. Well up until the Beast shows up. But I must admit that overall I was satisfied with that choice but it’s really very outrageous tonally when compared to the rest of the movie. I later learned that this is an origin story for a Super Villain in the Unbreakable universe. So James McAvoy’s character in this movie is that super villain and when you think about it, it does make some sense. Unbreakable was a superhero origin story, while Split is a super villain origin story.
Should You Watch it?
I certainly don’t think you should if you’re a 14-year-old girl. You will probably crap your pants. Well, maybe that is the whole point of this movie! Whatever the case may be, M. Night Shyamalan is definitely back to his top movie making form. The last movie of his that I actually did enjoy was Signs, which I actually watched more than a few times. I will certainly enjoy watching this Split movie once it comes out on DVD. I am actually going to get my hands on Unbreakable and give it another watch. A sequel is definitely possible, especially because of Bruce Willis’ cameo towards the ending.