Split: Best film since Sixth Sense

Jenny Salazar

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M. Night Shyamalan’s 2017 American psychological horror film, Split, stars James McAvoy, who plays a demented patient living with Dissociative Identity Disorder.

With twenty-three completely different and fully developed personalities, Shyamalan makes it nearly impossible to predict which personality will hit the screen next.

Shyamalan wastes no time getting his viewers to shake in their seats as he opens the film with the abduction of three teenage girls, Casey (Anya Taylor-Joy,) Claire (Haley Lu Richardson) and Marcia (Jessica Sula.)

Casey, the protagonist of the film, quickly becomes a favorite due to her childhood struggles, misfit qualities and survival instincts. Her character becomes someone to root for while McAvoy’s character is somewhat frustrating.

With his nine-year-old personality, Hedwig, it’s hard to not laugh with him, but with the underlying motives of all twenty-three of his lucrative personalities, it’s easy to feel your skin crawl in disgust.

All three personalities obsess over what they refer to as, “The Beast.” Shyamalan paints an ambiguous picture of “their” concealed reason to have the three girls held captive.

All the while, Dr. Fletcher’s (Betty Buckley) academic obsession with Kevin’s disorder leads her to ignore the greater problem at stake. This subplot leads to a huge source of tension throughout the movie, which is Shyamalan’s greatest strength in this film.

Dr. Flethcer’s character is warm, though controversial due to the overall stigmatization of this very real mental illness. Without Dr. Fletcher, the film simply wouldn’t be the emotional roller coaster Shyamalan has so intricately built, even with its occasional melodramatic thriller scenes.

Overall, M. Night Shyamalan gets a 7/10 for his comeback since The Sixth Sense, while James McAvoy gets a 9/10 for his outstanding lead performance.

Jenny Salazar can be reached at [email protected] or @theorion_arts on Twitter.

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