Movie Review: Split
Updated: May 28, 2019
M. Night Shyamalan returns to the big screen on an extremely low budget film starring James McAvoy(Xmen: Days of Future Past) looking for a home run. After his last few films feeling like flops, it felt like there was a lot of pressure returning to the big screen. Was he able to bring back his loyal fans?
First off, budget was 9 million. How this film was primarily shot, that is not a surprise. I am guessing at least 2-3 million went to James McAvoy. The rest of the cast are all complete no names and yes, M. Night Shyamalan was in his own film. As usual.
The film follows a character named Kevin Wendell Crumb(McAvoy), who was a victim of childhood abuse with severe dissociation identity disorder, and held captive in a cellar. However, not just 1 split personality. But 23 different unique personalities who are trying to make their place in his life. Kevin's psychiatrist, Dr. Karen Fletcher (Betty Buckley), who believes that in such cases the psychological unbalance can cause physiological changes, is concerned to find an email from Kevin's dominant personality, "Barry," asking for a meeting. Over the years Kevin has been treated, he appears to be stable: all of his personalities sit in chairs in a room, waiting for their turn "in the light" (controlling the body), while "Barry" controls who gets to go in the light. Two personalities, "Dennis" and "Patricia," are kept out of the light. In Dennis's case, this is because he likes to watch young girls dance naked, and he has both violent tendencies and has obsessive-compulsive disorder.
"Dennis" kidnaps 3 girls to be prepared for the sacrifice to a new unknown personality, called the beast. However, during the preparation, the other personalities take over Kevin's body and continuously sends emails to Dr. Fletcher to try and stop the arrival of the best. In the meantime, Casey and the other not important teenage girls attempt to escapade multiple times but failed miserably.
Shyamalan was brilliant and went to his old routes in making a blockbuster film on a very low budget. I literally have not seen a decent film by Shyamalan since Signs in 2002(which even that is a debate). Being as which there was nothing opening around this movies launch date, really gave it a push for foot traffic.
By the way, stay till the end. There is a tie in for my favorite Shyamalan films.