Wow, that was quite the hiatus. This movie has been out for a while, and since I have so many movie reviews to catch up on, I'll be keeping this brief. Shyamalan has been a point of curiosity for me ever since he went from a tremendous run of hits to a deplorable stretch of misses over the last twenty years. I've been pulling for him, though, as The Sixth Sense, Unbreakable, and Signs are all tremendous thrillers that I've seen multiple times, and I even enjoyed The Village for what it was. So when Split started to get some positive buzz, I hoped that it would help pull M. Night out of his self-imposed obscurity and back into the spotlight as the ambitious and talented filmmaker that I believe him to be.
Like I said before, this is going to be an abbreviated review, but let me say that if you're going into this film hoping for a suspenseful experience, you definitely won't be disappointed. Shyamalan has a real knack for creating unsettling scenes and taking on dramatic material with artistry and creativity. That hasn't always been the case, but he certainly brought his A-game here. If anything, it may be too unsettling for its own good (let alone for a PG-13 movie) and tackles some pretty dark material, but it all comes together by the end of the film.
Obviously the best thing about this movie is James McAvoy's transformative performance as the dissociative identity disorder sufferer whose personalities are conspiring to unleash something truly terrible on three unsuspecting girls he has kidnapped. His sudden transitions from personality to personality is incredible to watch, and worthy of whatever acting accolades he has in his future. This is all the more exciting thanks to the sequel plans Shyamalan has announced on his Twitter account, but we won't get into that here.
Bottom line, this is a suspenseful and at times tragic story of what could have been a laughable premise if another actor were attempting to pull of what McAvoy does here. Shyamalan is back on his game, and I'm actually excited to see what the next film delivers, particularly based on that final scene that changed the way I viewed this movie entirely. Not for the faint of heart, but Split is still worthy of a solid 3 stars. Check this one out on Red Box when you get a chance!
SPLIT is rated PG-13 for disturbing thematic content and behavior, violence and some language