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167 out of 205 people found the following review useful:

Shyamalan Is Back!

9/10
Author: roniksharma
1 October 2016

Shyamalan had his debut with the critically acclaimed 'The Sixth Sense' followed by positively reviewed movies 'Unbreakable' and 'Signs'. After that, he went through a series of duds with 'Lady In The Water' , 'The Village' , 'The Happening' , 'After Earth' and was termed one of the worst directors of all time with 'The Last Airbender'. But, he made a decent comeback with 2015's 'The Visit' which received generally positive reviews and he's back at his game with 'Split'.

After a birthday party, three girls, led by Casey, are kidnapped by the troubled Kevin, who has a very rare case of 23 split personalities inside him. What follows is how the three girls try to escape from Kevin who himself is lowly having a mental breakdown. Sorry, I can't tell a lot about this movie as a small factor would spoil it.

This movie couldn't have worked without James McAvoy. He has given his best performance in his whole career and stands out as one of the reasons to watch this movie. The cliché points in the movie are watchable just because of his phenomenal performance. His transition from a 'Norman Bates' type woman Patrica to a 9 year old boy Hedwig to other personalities are amazing

Last but not the least, is the traditional "Shyamalan Twist". Trust me, this time your minds will be blown when you come to the conclusion. This twist doesn't match up to the "The Sixth Sense" one but it's a thrilling one. It's not some stupid twist like in "Signs". I won't forget that moment when someone behind me shouted out "WHAAAAT?!".

"Split" isn't scary, it's tense. This movie shouldn't have been given a "horror" tag. A "psychological thriller" sounds better. Nevertheless, this movie is worth a watch. I'm giving a 8/10 with one extra star just for James McAvoy

Welcome back, M.Night Shyamalan

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66 out of 86 people found the following review useful:

A great suspense story, with a standout performance by Mr McEvoy

9/10
Author: max1174
18 November 2016

A welcome return to form for the director and James McEvoy gives one of his finest performances. I am not sure how many actors could achieve what he has executed so well here and one wonders if the film could have worked at the highest level without him. In between some of his bigger studio choices he has chosen challenging or interesting roles no matter how the films turn out and his range and talent always keep surprising but he takes it to another level here.

I won't reveal too much about the film as others will do that, except to say it was a great film to watch in the theater, full of suspense and in some ways quite touching and meaningful, even if you do or don't like the final twists you'll be drawn in to this story and on the edge of your seat in more of a suspense mode.

I wasn't sure if the film would go beyond a typical kidnapping film in the first five minutes but I can assure you its completely different to any expectations you'll have despite the director putting some of his more traditional touches on the film towards the end of it which really work in this case. I've always liked his earlier films as they often look at human conditions or flaws with imagination and some of his films have fallen short but he sounds like he's become more open minded and enjoying his work returning to form so well here and all I can say is well done, he has great attention to detail and gives his all.

This is a great film if you want an original suspense/thriller go and see it. I was sorry to see a review that put this film down, those reviews are off the mark this time round in my opinion I hope there is more to come from the M Night daring to be different again, his lower budget work is outstanding and easily brings out his best storytelling.

James McEvoy you've smashed it here and given you're all it was worth the risk, keep taking them! Having attended the Q&A he comes across a decent humble man which I would think gives his performances such resonance and skill. Also a great performance from Anya Taylor Joy she's a talent as well. Go see the see the film, especially in the threatre on a big screen it will have you on the edge of your seat.

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23 out of 31 people found the following review useful:

A twisty, tense thriller that doubles as a superb showcase for McAvoy's talents

8/10
Author: sossevarvo
12 January 2017

varvoversusmovies.wordpress.com Check out reviews like this and more !

Shyamalan's inconsistencies as a director are decidedly ignominious. He spellbound us with The Sixth Sense, but soon after befuddled with lady in the Water, provoked derisive jeers with The Happening, and merely bored us with The Last Airbender and After Earth. The pared back horror of The Visit signalled a renaissance for the auteur, with its genuinely frightening aesthetic, and even a decent Shyamalan twist!

But, armed with what seems to be a more significant budget, and far more loopy creative ambition, Split is Shyamalan's true calling card to what hopefully is a far more fortuitous run of features. Using the disorder of DID, and a true story (!), to create its bonkers premise, McAvoy plays Kevin, a man who possesses 23 distinct personalities, some of which are male and some of which are female, some of which are young, and some of which are old, some of which are homosexual and some of which are heterosexual, some of which have OCD or require insulin for diabetes, and some of which are really rather volatile and dangerous. The catch? The 24th is about to arrive, with all hell set to break loose.

If this sounds like an actor's dream job, you're right. With the opportunity to flex his acting muscles to the nth degree, all-accent-changing, mannerism-altering McAvoy rises to the challenge with a performance of breathtaking versatility. The film around him is never quite as reliable as this towering performance, however. The plot functions between an incredibly tense kidnapping/hostage situation and a doctor who purports to be an expert of DID. While eventually serving a narrative purpose, in the early scenes, Shyamalan's switching to this doctor's narrative grinds the movie to something of a halt, leaving you longing for the far more interesting story to develop and ultimately resolve. That being said, the movie never bores for a second, thanks to Shyamalan's distinctive style and an ominous score, as well as Anya Taylor Joy, so impressive in The Witch, who proves she isn't a one trick pony. In addition, like THe Visit, Split is, unexpectedly, quite funny, in a way that never sacrifices tension, but rather serves to enhance it by catching you off guard with scares when you're recovering from a bizarre joke - it's a terrific tactic that serves the film well.

Most worthy of recommendation is the film's third act, which evolves into something genuinely terrifying and ferociously tense, as twist upon twist piles up to create a thrilling sense of chaos and dread. Less convincing are Shyamalan's repeated attempts at motifs of beasts and animals, which feel shoehorned in and unnecessary. Despite al this, Split is a worthy work from Shyamalan that will deliver a jolt of high octane thrills to your nerves, one which will certainly be needed in the doldrums of the January dumping ground of films.

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16 out of 22 people found the following review useful:

Had the potential to be a great film but it all crashes down on a borderline idiotic twist.

4/10
Author: trublu215 from United States
12 January 2017

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

M. Night Shyamalan's Split pits a ground of teenage girls against their captor (James McAvoy) and his plethora of multiple personalities with each personality ranging from harmless to deadly. First off, I want to say, I did enjoy the first hour or so of this film. It was creepy, tense, tasteless but fun. Then the final hour comes steam rolling everything in its wake including all the thought and caring that we've grown to have over the course of the previous hour. It is not one thing or another, it's a willingness to halt the film's growth as it's own and by the final minute of the film, everyone will know what I am talking about. As for spoilers, I'm not going to spoiling anything which makes my thoughts that much harder to gather.

While I'm not a complete film snob, I do expect certain things going into an M. Night Shyamalan film. If you were talking to me before The Village, I'd say that I would expect a creepy atmospheric film. If you're asking me post-Village, I'd simply say "Dear God, I hope it's good." The Visit was somewhat back on track for him so I was excited to see this but instead I'm leaving this film actually giving up hope. The twist is so lazy and so out-of-left- field that it diminishes any sort of weight. It is merely a gimmick rather than a clever little twist, especially for a Shyamalan film. Honestly, it single handily ruined the film for me. It is a singular moment that completely drains Split of any real merit as a standalone film.

Like I said, James McAvoy gives a chilling performance that sometimes goes over-the-top but still maintains a level of creepiness without it ever being overbearing. Anya Taylor-Joy gives a very good performance as well as Casey, who gives a better performance here than in last year's terrifying yet overrated The Witch. The rest of the cast plays out the typical female horror characters to a fault and actually fails to breathe new life in a very tiring role.

Overall, Split is a film that could have cut out it's so-called "twist" and been a fun midnight movie, a solid 7/10. But instead M. Night Shyamalan delivers his laziest twist to date in hopes of continuing the trend that is a M. Night Shyamalan film. A term that used to mean something, now is played out to a gimmicky effect and we all know Shyamalan is so much better than that. And while I'm sure the "twist" will wet some hardcore fans' appetite, it made the film that much more trivialized.

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26 out of 42 people found the following review useful:

24 things you need to know about SPLIT

8/10
Author: moviewizguy from United States
18 January 2017

1. Obviously, the first thing that should be mentioned is James McAvoy's amazing performance. He is genuinely good and convincing as he weaves in and out of vastly different personalities, sometimes in the same scene.

2. Anya Taylor-Joy is a joy to watch as well. Her character has quite a bit of depth than the trailer suggests.

3. Rejoice for Betty Buckley! Those who thought she was awful in THE HAPPENING will find her lovely in this film.

4. As for the other two girls in the film - Haley Lu Richardson (who was wonderful in THE EDGE OF SEVENTEEN) and Jessica Sula - are serviceable but not entirely memorable.

5. Special shoutout to Izzie Coffey. Shyamalan always has a knack for finding talented young actors.

6. My favorite personality? Hedwig. He is a delight every time he's on screen. Etcetera.

7. Barry comes a close second. Seeing McAvoy play a homosexual character is as wonderful as it sounds.

8. I would have liked to see more of Kevin himself.

9. And in that line of thought, I would have liked to see more of the other personalities as well.

10. The cinematography is absolutely gorgeous. Not a surprise since Mike Gioulakis shot IT FOLLOWS.

11. So is the score. This is Shyamalan's first parting from his go-to collaborator, James Newton Howard (unless you count Paul Cantelon's small contribution in THE VISIT). While a shame, West Dylan Thordson more than makes up for Newton Howard's absence, providing an atmospheric and surprisingly empathetic score in certain scenes.

12. Most inventive opening/closing credits ever? I think so.

**13. Don't let anyone spoil this movie for you. Just don't.**

14. I've already seen the film twice within 5 days of each other. I liked it more the second time.

15. But I still prefer THE VISIT. Some reasons:

16. The climax is really underwhelming. It works thematically/symbolically, but the payoff falls short.

17. On top of that, the third act itself could have been crazier.

18. The structure gets repetitive.

19. The runtime is a bit long as well.

20. As a matter of fact, the film has many problems.

21. But there are risks taken here, and SPLIT is admirable for that.

22. In fact, the film goes to some truly dark territory, especially for its PG-13 rating.

23. Overall thoughts? SPLIT is a really good January movie.

24. But I don't doubt that audiences will be split on the film.

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13 out of 20 people found the following review useful:

"Split" is an outstanding return to form for Shyamalan and one of the best horror-thrillers in years.

9/10
Author: Dave McClain (dave-mcclain@hotmail.com) from United States
20 January 2017

Dissociative Identity Disorder (known as DID, and previously called Multiple Personality Disorder) is a psychological disorder in which a single person displays multiple distinct personalities, often as a defense mechanism to help the original personality deal with some sort of emotional trauma, like that suffered as a result of child abuse. These personalities each have a distinct name and distinct personality traits. As you can imagine, this condition is shrouded in mystery, is especially difficult to diagnose and treat and can be very dangerous for the sufferer – and for those around him/her/them. Fascination with DID has been fodder for a number of movies over the years, most notably in 1976 when Sally Field played (and won an Emmy for) a made-for-TV version of the true story of a woman who had 16 different personalities. ("Sybil" was remade, again for TV, in 2007, then starring Tammy Blanchard and Jessica Lange.) 2017 offers a fictional DID story in the form of the horror-thriller "Split" (PG-13, 1:57), written and directed by M. Night Shyamalan who also co-produces for the second time with Jason Blum and Marc Bienstock of Blumhouse Productions, which gave us horror franchises like "Paranormal Activity".

James McAvoy is Kevin Wendell Crumb, a man with 23 different personalities inside his head, but who is still able to function in society. He lives on his own, has held a good job for ten years, and regularly sees his psychologist, Dr. Karen Fletcher (Betty Buckley). She finds it difficult to treat Kevin, but she cares a great deal about his mental health and she makes herself available to him 24/7. She also finds it difficult to gain professional acceptance for the things she is learning about DID by working with Kevin. And it can be especially difficult for Dr. Fletcher to know which of Kevin's personalities with whom she is speaking. For a while now, she's been dealing primarily with Kevin's artistic personality, known as Barry, but something has changed in her recent sessions with Kevin. She senses it, but isn't sure what it means.

However, three young women are experiencing firsthand what has changed in Kevin. High school friends Claire and Marcia (Haley Lu Richardson and Jessica Sula) are giving a ride to strange loner Casey (Anya Taylor-Joy) when Kevin suddenly gets into their car, incapacitates the three of them and takes them to some sort of underground facility in which he lives and has built a room to hold the girls. Actually, it was Dennis, Kevin's most forceful personality, who abducted the three, but they don't understand what is going on, why they've been taken or what they should do about it. Disagreements over how to work together to escape and the emergence of Dennis' fellow "alters" keep them off balance, but when they do take action, their attempts to resist just make matters worse for them. With the obvious exception of their captive state, the girls are unharmed, but it becomes clear that something bad is about to happen.

"Split" is an outstanding return to form for Shyamalan and one of the best horror-thrillers in years. Looking at audience and critics' ratings reveals that there was a slow, but steady decline in the popularity of his films after he burst into the public consciousness with his Best Picture Oscar-nominated 1999 drama-mystery-thriller "The Sixth Sense". That decline bottomed out with 2010's "The Last Airbender", but rebounded slightly with 2013's "After Earth". The reception for his films improved further with his 2015 horror-thriller "The Visit", his first film with Blumhouse Productions, who gave Shyamalan more artistic freedom than he had enjoyed in many years. Although "Split" doesn't feature one of his trademark mind-bending twists, it's his best film in 10-15 years.

Here, he has made a movie with an original concept, a compelling narrative and genuine tension which gradually builds. It helps that this is an especially well-acted horror film. McAvoy transforms himself (physically, emotionally and regarding audience perceptions of him), Buckley turns in her most powerful performance since the original "Carrie" in 1976 and Taylor-Joy follows up her under-appreciated work in 2016's "The Witch" and "Morgan" showing that she's one of the most talented young actresses of the mid-late 2010s. And, almost as much as this film showing that Shyamalan is very much back as a director, his fans will appreciate seeing two actors from his earlier films in the cast and one killer reference to one of those films in the closing credits. "Split" is not to be missed. "A"

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8 out of 11 people found the following review useful:

Total Nonsense

3/10
Author: brankovranjkovic from stevenage
22 January 2017

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

This disappointing film stars James McAvoy, who I must admit is excellent in 23 contrasting roles, he has a personality disorder and these are the main characters that live in him. He kidnaps 3 girls and holds them hostage in a strange and strong underground maintenance area. He intends to feed the girls to the "The Beast", his 24th personality.

His characters regularly visit a psychologist and depending on who is speaking they are said to be 'taking the light'.

The plot is total nonsense, if you want to see young girls in their underwear with jiggly boobs then this film is definitely for you.

I can't believe James McAvoy decided to get involved with this rubbish. Though I've given a low mark, all my marks are for JM's acting contribution which creates the tension, where there is any.

Best = James McAvoy. Worst = Everything else. Conclusion = Don't waste your time or money.

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5 out of 6 people found the following review useful:

No Hannibal Lecter, but Not for the Squeamish

5/10
Author: Carl Schultz from United States
23 January 2017

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Fairly early in the filmmaking career of the Philadelphia-based writer and director, Shyamalan suffered a terrible professional misfortune—three consecutive films he wrote, produced, and directed became enormous critical and commercial successes.

The Sixth Sense in 1999, Unbreakable in 2000, and Signs in 2002—and to a lesser extent The Village in 2004—were mostly lauded by critics for their innovation and imagination, and were embraced an adopted by audiences, many of whom returned for repeat viewings. The Sixth Sense additionally spawned a catchphrase—"I see dead people"—still quoted as among the most familiar in motion picture history.

After those remarkable feats of box office legerdemain, critics began mentioning Shyamalan's name in the same exulted breath as Steven Spielberg—and worse, Alfred Hitchcock. Like Hitchcock, Shyamalan often included an unexpected, surprise twist in the plot at the end of his pictures, and also usually either played a small role or made a quick cameo appearance in his pictures.

Unfortunately for Shyamalan, after reaching such a rarefied cinematic stratosphere there was precisely one way to go. And from Lady in the Water in 2006 through the almost unwatchable After Earth in 2013, and 2015's The Visit, the filmmaker has been mostly descending into a maelstrom of pedestrian filmmaking.

But Shyamalan is trying to reverse his recent misfortunes: In his new picture, Split, released Friday by Universal Pictures, three teenage girls are kidnapped together by a man who reveals himself to be a disturbed individual indeed. The girls' abductor transports the girls to an undisclosed location and tosses them into what appears to be a damp medieval dungeon with cots and a spotless and well-appointed full bathroom.

Quickly revealed is that the kidnapper suffers from dissociative identity disorder, multiple personalities. And while each of the man's twenty-three separate personalities seem vaguely aware of each other, only one or two appear to be in charge. Those couple of personalities are prepared to give profane birth to an entirely new manifestation, one which promises unspeakably bad news for the three involuntary guests.

Split itself swiftly develops multiple personalities in the form of separate plots: It turns out the kidnapper, played by Scottish actor James McAvoy, has been in the psychiatric care of a renowned and well-heeled psychiatrist played by Betty Buckley, almost unrecognizable from her days as the mom on television's Eight is Enough.

The good doc has apparently been earning a pretty penny from papers and lectures about her star patient's multiple maladies. And while the patient has of late appeared fairly benign, the psychiatrist—unknowing of the kidnapping—senses something unsettling enough to begin sniffing around to learn what's cooking.

Meanwhile, back in the dungeon, the three kidnapped girls continue to plot, mostly unsuccessfully, to escape their confinement. And eventually it's learned that one of the three girls—the quiet, unpopular high school outcast Casey—has been raised in the footsteps of her loving outdoors-man father, and knows a thing or two about hunting, stalking, and killing prey.

Mostly, Split is McAvoy's show, a real tour de force for the actor. It's sometimes forgotten that prior to the actor's recent steady gig as the young Professor Charles Xavier in the popular Marvel Comics X-Men series of pictures—three appearances and counting—as well as in plainly execrable garbage like 2015's Victor Frankenstein, McAvoy was once considered to be a talent of some promise, with performances in such acclaimed pictures as 2006's The Last King of Scotland in 2006 and Atonement in 2007.

Possibly the challenge of playing and individual with twenty-three distinct and different personalities was McAvoy's means of groping his way back to his original promise. Unfortunately, the actor seems to perform each individual manifestation with a knowing little smirk, an implied wink at the audience, which keeps the viewer constantly aware that this is a performance, a stunt, and is not believable or credible so much as it is mildly impressive as an acting school exercise.

The flip side of McAvoy's multiple characters is Anya Taylor-Joy as Casey, the kidnapped girl whose survivalist background—and whose own troubled childhood—might provide a key to escaping her confinement. Recently appearing in 2015's controversial and disturbing The Witch, Taylor-Joy contributes a performance which is competent but not particularly evocative—the audience is anxious for the character's situation more than for the character herself. Taylor-Joy with her wide-eyed, emotionless stare seems to be in a hypnotic trance most of the way through the picture's 117 minutes.

There's nothing really wrong with Split—the picture delivers enough suspense, chills, jumps, starts and surprises to justify the cost of admission, although it's also sometimes tough to comprehend how the picture escaped the MPAA's clutches with a PG-13 rating when the menace and the subject matter alone should've earned at least an R. One genuinely unsettling early scene in which the kidnapper terrorizes his hostages even strays briefly into NC-17 territory.

But thrills aside, the biggest casualty of Split is M. Night Shyamalan's reputation as an innovative filmmaker. Three plots running simultaneously is at least one plot too many. Subtract the survivalist plot and Split becomes a Classics Illustrated version of The Silence of the Lambs, a movie Split references endlessly anyway. Take away the psychiatrist's sleuthing and Split becomes last year's Don't Breathe, Ten Cloverfield Lane, or any of a number of the dozen or so other ubiquitous horror opuses which seem to open almost weekly Mostly, Split references Shyamalan's earlier successes—almost literally, thanks to a significant cameo and line of dialogue at the very end of the picture.

But Thomas Wolfe could've told Shyamalan—you can't go home again. Instead, Split suffers from the very mediocrity the director seems to want to emulate from lesser films but exceed in quality and surpass in effectiveness, a feat Hitchcock accomplished in 1960 with Psycho. Possibly Split would've been more successful in its ambition had it been guided by the steady hand of a Steven Spielberg…

…or an Alfred Hitchcock.

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14 out of 24 people found the following review useful:

A return to form for Shyamalan

7/10
Author: Michael Kong from Sydney, Australia
16 January 2017

It's been a rough few years, but M Night Shyamalan's latest film Split proved that this director still has it.

Firstly, James McAvoy's performance is the best part of this movie, his performance carried this film for me and kept me invested. McAvoy charms the audience with his brilliant (at times comedic) portray of the Hedwig personality, and does a good job making other personalities like Dennis, Ms Patricia and the beast frightening and creepy in their own ways. McAvoy does a good job separating the personalities from one another, making each seem like individual characters.

The other performances in this movie are also good, Anya Taylor-Joy played her character fairly well, especially during the more dramatic scenes, and i hope to see more dramatic work from her in the future. The other two girls did decent jobs but nothing really special about their performances. Betty Buckley's character was fairly well done as well.

Although this is a fairly well made film, i did have a few errors with pacing, the flashback scenes felt very shoehorned in and confusing at first. Shyamalan's camera-work and writing also seemed to be a bit messy at times, mainly during the first act of the movie, but was fine for the majority of the movie.

However, although this isn't a perfect film, it's definitely worth a watch, and it's a good sign for Mr Shyamalan's career. Fans of his earlier work will hopefully appreciate this film like i did, especially the obligatory plot twist. :)

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4 out of 5 people found the following review useful:

Director Shyamalan receiving generally nods of approval

Author: Harry T. Yung (harry_tk_yung@yahoo.com) from Hong Kong
22 January 2017

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

A psychopath (term used in a very general and imprecise sense) kidnapping a bunch of girls is a not a novel plot. Morgan Freeman's "Kiss the girls" (1997) is one that comes to mind right away. But while in that movie there is only one kidnapper, here in "Split", there are 23, as if you still haven't heard, occupying the same body. But obviously, we will not be shown all of them. In addition to the original personality that had suffered certain childhood tremor, we see a woman, a 9-year old child, an assertive schemer, an artistic homosexual and "the beast", among others.

Ever since "Sixth sense" (1999) Night M. Night Shyamalan has made numerous attempts but has not been able to repeat that feat. "Unbreakable", "Signs" and "The Village" all had something to offer in the department of finale twist, although a far cry from "Sixth sense". "Lady in the water" is a let-down. Personally, I like "The happening" although I am quite aware that this view is not generally shared. "The Last Airbender" appeared to be his final abandonment of his signature genre and hence a total disappointment. I am therefore delighted to see that there is a certain degree of his return to form in "Split", in masterful handling of thrill and suspense, even if not in devising clever twists.

"Split" is not a convoluted contrivance. The narrative is orderly, told essentially through omniscient narration granted the audience via the POV of a number of characters.

The motive for the kidnapping is not entirely clear. Two have been offered. On a simpler plain, one of the 23 personalities enjoys watching sexy girls dancing. On a subtler plain, everything is under the ultimate control of "the beast" who wants to collect innocent girls who have never seen any vicissitudes for some ominous, dark purposes. The three kidnapped is just a start.

After Anthony Perkins, James McAvoy is arguably among the best actors in this generation to play this multi-split-personality protagonist. This he has demonstrated convincingly, switching seamlessly from one personality to another right under the unforgiving scrutiny of the close-up camera. Anya Taylor-Joy, in what is closest to the lead female role here, shows her worth acting opposite McAvoy. Playing the kidnapped girl who had a childhood tremor just as bad as the protagonist's, Taylor-Joy captures the audience's imagination in a scene with a devious attempt to trick the 9-year-old personality into helping them escape. Also excellent is Betty Buckley as the protagonist's doctor who is, among other things, a sort of surrogate VO explaining the details of his case. "Split" to-date has earned an average 7.7 score from IMDb users, as well as generally favourable critic reviews.

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