Just as a thing right now, I don’t personally like M. Night Shyamalan, or any of his movies, so this review may be a bit biased. I tried to be optimistic, but I would say he did what he always does.
Split is written and directed by M. Night Shyamalan. In case any of you don’t know who this is, he is most famous for The Sixth Sense, Signs, The Happening, and killing any chance of an Avatar: The Last Airbender movie to happen ever again. Sixth Sense was a good movie, but after that, the movies went a bit downhill. Shyamalan is well-known now for odd plot twists in the movies. Spoiler alert, I am going to ruin some in the following sentences. In Signs, the aliens dissolve in water. Something the audience finds out by complete accident by the way. In The Happening, the plants make people kill themselves. Don’t ask me how this makes any sense, or follows any logic at all. This is where Split comes in.
I don’t know if Split really has a Shyamalan twist. I half expected Kevin to actually turn into The Beast, not just another one of his personalities. Kevin, the main character I think, but technically there are several because he has multiple personalities, is actually a really interesting character. There are multiple sides to him, not just the fact that he has multiple personalities, and I think his character is interesting even if we only meet him for five minutes. The other personalities are in control of his body more.We meet Denis, Patricia, Hedwig, and kind of Barry, but it’s more like Denis trying to act like Barry, but Barry does come out randomly, it’s odd, but goes with the plot.
The plot isn’t horrible if you look at his past movies, but it also isn’t the most interesting. I’d say what is best in this movie is the acting from James McAvoy, who plays as Kevin/Denis/Patricia/Hedwig/whomever else, and the suspense. The plot however, kind of falls flat. The rising action is fine, Devin/Patricia/Kevin kidnapped the three girls, we get flashbacks from the main girl’s story, we find out some new things about Kevin and his past, but the rising action works so well, the climax kind of poofs and is gone, and then the falling action and ending are really fast and falls flat. I think that is where this movie goes wrong. The ending doesn’t really feel like an ending. She shoots him, he survives because he’s in the “Beast” personality somehow. Shyamalan I think brought in the idea that people with multiple personalities have special abilities, but Kevin should’ve bled out from two point-blank shots from a shotgun.
I really liked the acting. Each of the personalities felt different, even when Denis was pretending to be Barry, it felt like Denis was pretending. McAvoy is amazing. The girls are not terrible. Casey, the basically main girl character, was pretty good. Through the flashbacks, we learn she was sexually assaulted by her uncle. It adds to the plot, but only because it happened to Kevin, so he didn’t kill Casey at the end because she was like him. It felt, weird? I think that’s the right word. It just felt like, oh, these happened, so she’s safe now because they went through the same thing, except she has to go back to her uncle’s at the end. The ending just felt so, odd. Not bad, but not cathartic either. I left the theater thinking, that was the ending? Oh, there was also something at the very end that I think only people who know his movies would understand. I think it was a throwback to an old character in one of Shyamalan’s movies, but I don’t know.
If you like M. Night Shyamalan, you will probably like this. If you like psychological thrillers, you will want to see this, but it is not a horror movie. Keep that in mind, if you are looking for a scare, you won’t find one. I wouldn’t see this movie again, but it’s a typical Shyamalan movie. If you like what he does, you’ll like this one.