Split (2016)

Review by CJ


M. Night Shyamalan

James McAvoy, Anya Taylor-Joy, Betty Buckley, Haley Lu Richardson, Jessica Sula

Other notable appearances:
Sebastian Arcelus, Brad William Henke, M. Night Shyamalan

Running time:
117 minutes

Watch this if you liked:
Devil, Unbreakable, Kiss the Girls


Kevin (McAvoy) has dissociative-identity disorder and lives with 23 unique personalities constantly fighting for control. When one of Kevin’s malevolent personalities kidnaps three girls, they must work out how to escape before his 24th and most terrifying personality emerges.

I will be incredibly disappointed if James McAvoy is not nominated for an Academy Award based on his role in Split. McAvoy manages to not only portray multiple different personalities convincingly, but he also switches between them before the viewer’s eyes. The talent McAvoy demonstrates to convincingly switch from one person to another, let alone to another then another and yet another, is something for which he should be commended.

Split’s plot was engrossing. While there were scenes that I felt could have been shorter, I was still captivated by what was happening on the screen. So much so that — remember that episode of The Simpsons where Grandpa’s kidneys explode because Homer makes him wait to pee? — I almost ended up like Grandpa Simpson because I didn’t want to leave, not even for a minute.

Split is a visually impressive film. The lighting and mise-en-scéne reflect what is happening not only on the screen but in Kevin’s mind.

Split has earned a place as one of M. Night Shyamalan’s more impressive films. It is thrilling enough to keep viewers on the edge of their seats without crossing the line into horror. I would recommend Split to fans of thrillers or the best M. Night Shyamalan films.

4.5 Stars

“An individual with multiple personalities can change their body chemistry with their thoughts.”

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