Review of M. Night Shyamalan’s latest horror flick, Split

Jack Goulet, Reporter

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Split is the latest horror-thriller from director M. Night Shyamalan.

James McAvoy stars as Kevin, a man with 23 different personalities. Actress Anya Taylor-Joy plays Casey Cook, a high school girl who, along with two other girls, is kidnapped by Kevin. Not knowing where they are or who they’re dealing with, the girls try to escape. All the while, Kevin’s psychiatrist, Dr. Karen Fletcher, played by Betty Buckley, worries that a 24th personality is about to emerge and wreak havoc.

(Photo courtesy of Blumhouse Productions)

The story takes place in Philadelphia, as this is director Shyamalan’s hometown and the setting for many of his other films. The mall King of Prussia is mentioned, as well as another prominent landmark. However, we’re going to keep this spoiler-free, so you’ll have to see it for yourself to find that out.

This movie creates tension from the very start, with the girls getting kidnapped within the first 5 minutes. The jump right into the action allows the exposition to unfold throughout the film, which generally keeps the viewer engaged for the entire film. Shyamalan brings the scares more through dialogue and mind games, rather than jump scares (although those are present if you scare easily.) The movie remains mostly a thriller and less of a gore-filled horror film.

There are a variety of interesting camera angles, including one in particular when the camera is very zoomed-in on McAvoy’s face. The music builds suspense and adds to the especially tension-filled scenes.

Flashbacks to Casey’s life as a girl are used throughout the film, slowly unveiling the same storyline every 15 minutes. This can become a little annoying, as it will cut from an action scene to something that appears entirely unrelated. This is where patience is key, as Shyamalan rewards the audience in the end.

For anyone who may have seen Shyamalan’s last movie The Visit, Split offers less of a Shyamalan extreme plot twist. Instead, the twist goes beyond the movie. This where a lot of people in the theater, including myself, got lost. After some research, the twist makes more sense than one might think.

Split is a solid two hours of tension building and action. With an impressive performance from James McAvoy as Kevin, as well as a great supporting cast, viewers will be in for an exciting night at the movies. However, the ending may cause some theatergoers to walk out disappointed and scratching their heads.

Final verdict: 8/10