Split (2016)

Movie Review

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Latest review by Theresa! This time it’s M. Night Shyamalan’s, Split. Warning: Mild Spoilers

Split is a 2016 American psychological horror film written and directed by M. Night Shyamalan. A point of interest: There’s a controversy about how the main character negatively portrays those with mental illness, making them all seem violent.The film follows a man with 23 different personalities who kidnaps three girls. It is a thematic sequel to Shyamalan’s 2000 film, Unbreakable

Split (2016)

Three girls are kidnapped by a man with a diagnosed 23 distinct personalities, and must try and escape before the apparent emergence of a frightful new 24th.

Starring:  James McAvoy, Anya Taylor-Joy and Haley Lu Richardson

Director:  M. Night Shyamalan

Rating/ Runtime: PG-13 1hr57

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Watch Trailer

My Thoughts

I had high hopes for this movie after hearing the buzz about it being Shyamalan hit (he’s had a few misses). Truthfully, for me,The Sixth Sense is still by far his greatest work (followed by Unbreakable). Split has some things to its credit, one of them being McAvoy’s acting. He’s engaging throughout, even comical at times. Clearly, he carries the film, which is a blessing since he has lots of screen time. I also loved the question raised in the movie: is “The Beast” inside real or not?

There are moments I don’t buy into—like in the car. If it were me, I would have pulled the door handle right away and gotten out of there, especially after I’ve watched two other girls get drugged in the back seat. Not all of us are functional under moments of duress, so I am willing to let that slide. But there are other times I feel the girls’ survival skills are extremely flawed. For example, they could have found better timing to break through the dry wall on the ceiling. How about not when the predator is trying to break down the door? Or when the two girls are in the kitchen and one of them throws a chair against their captor. She does it extremely half-assed and then flees. And the other girl just stands there. How about beat him to a pulp as a team and get the hell out?

Some other points of annoyance were that I didn’t find this whole girls in a bunker thing all that creative. It is pretty run of the mill. And the psychiatrist is a little slow to figure things out, although at least she helps save the day in the end (omitted here to avoid spoilers), so she’s not completely a waste of a character.

Finally, the end left me a little bit like what the hell? There are several flashbacks of one of the girl’s sexual abuse. I feel that that this is not developed enough, especially since it’s such a big factor at the close of the movie. Supposedly, her victimization makes her “pure” and more connected to Kevin because of his abuse. Okay, so bring that out more. In addition, the scene in the café left me a bit confused. Bruce Willis is there as a very loose tie-in to Unbreakable. I found that a bit cheap. If you are going to make something a part two, go big or go home. Shyamalan is already working on another “sequel” to Split. Hmm… *scratching my head*

If you’re not expecting to be wowed by storyline and you are willing to take a cinematic ride with McAvoy, give this movie a chance. Otherwise, wait until you’re bored and it’s on video. This is exactly the type of film that gets picked up by Netflix.

Rating… C      

IMDb

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3 thoughts on “Split (2016)

  1. Yea, I think lots of folks can wait for it to hit Netflix instead. I enjoyed it, but that’s because I expected it to suck. Shyamalan has let me down so many times. I get so frustrated whenever I think of The Happening.
    Anyway, I enjoyed Split. It wasn’t what I expected. I was hoping for it to dig deeper into the subject of mental disorders but it used it as a crutch for the thriller aspect of the movie. I didn’t expect the sci-fi element at the end, but I didn’t mind it.
    As for the girls, I assumed that one girl was in shock the majority of the time, which is why she reacts belatedly in the car. But I do agree with you that the abuse/purity element should have been fleshed out a bit more. If not for McAvoy’s acting, I don’t think I would have liked this one much.

    Liked by 1 person

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