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Split: A Thrilling Journey into a Complicated Mind

(1/25/17) By Lindsey Smith — Split is a dark horror/thriller film created by M. Night Shyamalan focusing on a man who has 23 distinct personalities. His given name being Kevin, he kidnaps three young girls from a birthday party after being “taken over” by two of his darker personalities, the main personality being named Dennis.

James McAvoy

Throughout the course of the movie, it is obvious that Dennis, played by James McAvoy, is intent on using the three girls as food for a dark creature housed in the 24th personality known as The Beast. The girls, played by Haley Lu Richardson, Jessica Sula, and Anya Taylor-Joy, are forced into finding a way out of the seemingly endless compound before the monster kills them.

Intermixed in the kidnap victim plot is a flashback story following Casey Cooke (Anya Taylor-Joy), the girl who is deemed an outsider by the two other kidnap victims for being a troublemaker at school. It soon becomes obvious that Casey has been the victim of a traumatic past that ends up helping her get into the kidnapper’s head.

The movie keeps building the suspense with Dennis’ therapist ending up at his house and discovering just how powerful some of his personalities really are. As Dennis tries to hide this from her, he gains more power. A dramatic climax ensues, with a race to see who will win: the girls or Dennis.

The film ends with a plot twist alluding to a sequel to one of M. Night Shymalan’s earlier films, which is confusing to any audience member who hasn’t seen any of his other movies. Despite the possible confusion, it remains an exciting twist.

The soundtrack to Split is creepy and dark, a trick often used in horror films that transfers over to this story and its plot very well, keeping the viewer on their toes.

While the plotline to this story seems simple and straightforward, the actors, especially James McAvoy and his unpredictability, intermixed with dark humor, hint at the coming events without making them obvious, so the audience is still engaged. The wild turn of events cultivates a truly surprising ending.

According to online sources, in recent years Shymalan has not had much success at the box office, and with Split’s setup being called a “return to form”, this film is expected to be widely popular.

To those who love thrillers and suspense, or are huge fans of M. Night Shymalan’s movies, this will definitely keep you on the edge of your seat. Even with relatively unknown actors, McAvoy, who has been in a variety of big name movies, leads the pack in his ability to take on so many different characters. He truly makes you feel like he suffers from all the personalities struggling to take over.