Split is the latest film from the recovering M. Night Shyamalan led by performances from James McAvoy (Wanted and Atonement….also Professor X!) and Anya Taylor-Joy (The Witch). Split explores the mind of a man with 23 different personalities and the three young women he abducts and keeps captive throughout the film. Shyamalan does not need to force the audience to invest in the film, as his writing, just as it normally does, draws us in for the ride and we are more than happy to wait for the big reveal.
Back In the Groove: Shyamalan made a good bounce back with The Visit and audiences began to trust him again after a long skid of poor films. He continues to prove to fans that he will not digress again with Split. The film uses some classic themes that Shyamalan is a veteran to while still feeling fresh. Perhaps this film felt new and inspired because of the drought we experienced from Shyamalan, but whatever the reason is, we can be happy he is back.
Terrifyingly Great Casting: James McAvoy, a man that has been in the back pocket of Fox for several years now, proved that he can still actually act with his role in Split. Combine that with the continued horror film success that Anya Taylor-Joy is having and Split becomes the first horror films in recent years other than The Conjuring films to have two memorable leads. Typical horror films would throw in maybe one top billing actor and the rest would be the scraps they could find during the casting call. Split offers a lucid cast that is worthy of investment.
Unique Payoff: Split offers a lot as the film ends. It is not a spoiler to say that there is a - spoiler alert - Shyamalan twist. Anyone who knows the man’s films can assume this and if you do not know his films then Split certainly should not be the first that you view. In order to appreciate everything that Split has to offer, one must invest in his prior films. Split requires the audience to understand his style of filmmaking and what he has done with his career. And if you are aware of all of these factors, then the payoff for Split is 100% worth it. But, if any amateur to Shyamalan tackles Split first, you may be disappointed and may even feel like the film was not worth your time.
Split Up that Running Time: This is a little thing but the runtime of Split is about 15 minutes longer than it needed to be. Along with some actually useless scenes. Shyamalan was clearly worried about keeping the audience “in the loop”.