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Split Review

Tyler Reynolds

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  1. Night Shyamalan is an odd director. Starting his career, making hits like The Sixth Sense and Signs, he would later go on to direct some not so desirable movies. Avatar: The Last Airbender and The Village garnered poor critical and public reception and led to the director stepping away from the limelight for a while. Coming back in 2015, he directed a small film called The Visit. After the movie received good reception, many wondered if this was a comeback for the once great director. His new movie Split proves that he still has what it takes.

        Split is a horror/thriller about three girls who are kidnapped by a man named Dennis. Or is that really who he is? “Dennis” suffers from dissociative identity disorder caused by childhood trauma, and has 23 split identities. The three girls, Claire, Marcia, and Casey, have to learn why they have been abducted and find a way to escape the clutches of Dennis and his other personalities.

        The main protagonist in Split is Casey, and the film jumps back in time repeatedly to show why she makes the decisions that she does. Anya Taylor-Joy plays Casey, and conveys a lot of emotion without a lot of words. Casey is damaged from her past and Anya Taylor-Joy is convincing in showing the audience that. James McAvoy plays Dennis and the other personalities, knocking them all out of the park. McAvoy is an amazing actor and while not every personality is shown in the movie, the ones that are shown are all varied and unique from one another. Betty Buckley also shines in her role as Dr. Karen Fletcher, a therapist to Barry, another character. Karen knows that Barry is suffering from multiple personalities and seeks to spread knowledge on dissociative identity disorder. Claire and Marcia, played by Haley Lu Richardson and Jessica Sula, perform their roles well, but it is easy to see that they are filler characters compared to the rest of the cast.

        A unique thing about Split is that the film balances the horror and thrills with some light-hearted comedy. The movie itself has a lot of laughs in it surprisingly. Some of the personalities have various quirks that can lead to laughter and the director uses that to the films advantage. A problem that M. Night Shyamalan’s last movie, The Visit, had was that there were too many moments of comedy. That movie was supposed to be a thriller, but the audience would laugh even when the movie was trying to scare them. Split does suffer a few times from that, but for the most part the director has shown that he has learned from his last movie.

        Split is a great improvement for M. Night Shyamalan. After being out of the limelight for so long, it is nice to see him coming back with new material that is interesting and entertaining. Also, the twist that his movies always have is at the very end, and changes the movie in a way that no one saw coming. Split is a great start to the 2017 movie slate, and a remind that Shyamalan can still make good movies.

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Split Review