Swanner: Split is M. Night Shyamalan’s new thriller that follows three teenage girls who have been kidnapped by a man with multiple personalities. He has them locked away in some sort of underground basement where the girls try to make their escape. James McAvoy plays the man with the multiple personalities, and if this film had come out in December we’d be talking Oscar consideration.
I do want to talk about why there is such a hatred for Shyamalan’s films. It all started with The Village. Before the film hit theaters, the studio (Disney) had advertised the movie as a horror film. Where we all know now, The Village is a thriller about a group of people who used fear to keep the control of the residents. So when audiences filled theaters to get scared they lashed out, never seeing the film for what it was… A solid thriller. All the fans of Sixth Sense, Unbreakable and Signs couldn’t remember how good those films were and Shyamalan was that bad director who made the not scary The Village.
After that, he made the silly Lady in the Water and The Happening. Both films are well made and I happen to like the later very much. My problem came with The Last Airbender and Almost Earth. Both films were on my worst picture list for the year, but that didn’t mean I gave up on the guy who did The Sixth Sense. Since then he’s done the very creepy The Visit and now Split. Directors sometimes make bad movies. Spielberg made 1941, Peter Jackson made Meet the Feebles, Ridley Scott did Exodus: Gods and Kings and Cameron made Piranha II: The Spawning. It happens, so get over it.
Split is a fast paced thriller with a great performance from McAvoy. Shyamalan serves as writer and director keeping us confused and leading us into dead ends, but giving us the payout at the end. Yes, there is a twist but that comes during the closing credits, so sit down and watch. I do want to mention Betty Buckley, who plays the therapist trying to find out what her patient is hiding from her. It’s always a pleasure to see her work.
Swanner: 3 stars