Split, rated PG-13
Split features an outstanding performance from James McAvoy, and a triumphant return to form for director M. Night Shyamalan.
This low budget ($9 million) film has been the number one film in the country for the past three weeks and has already grossed over $102 million in the U.S. alone. It is directed by two-time Oscar nominee M. Night Shyamalan (The Sixth Sense) in his follow-up to 2015’s The Visit, and stars James McAvoy as well….several different personalities. You see, he has 24 personalities, from 9 year-old Hedwig to a fashion designer named Barry. For the sake of this review, we’ll refer to him as Kevin. Betty Buckley stars as Dr. Karen Fletcher who works with Kevin on his dissociative identity disorder.
We see Kevin kidnap three teenage girls – Claire (Haley Lu Richardson, The Edge of Seventeen, Marcia (Jessica Sula) and Casey (Anya Taylor-Joy – as they are leaving a birthday party with one of the girl’s father. Kevin takes them to an undisclosed location. We see the girls interacting with several of Kevin’s personalities as they try to figure out how to escape, and over time we see them have some of their clothing removed.
Claire and Marcia are good friends, while Casey is the outsider, invited to the party only because everyone else in their class had been invited. The film shows many flashbacks of Casey hunting with her father and creepy Uncle John (Brad William Henke).
This horror film is dark, and could have easily been rated “R” for violence. Other content issues include a small amount of adult language and the above mentioned removal of some of the girl’s clothes.
McAvoy was outstanding in his performance of the multiple personality Kevin, oftentimes switching from one personality to another in front of the camera at close range.
Filmgoers will be talking about something that happens at the end of the film that connects this film to one of Shyamalan’s earlier films and sets up his next one.