23 Going on 24


19 January 2017| No Comments on Split     by Sean Chavel


M. Night Shyamalan (“The Sixth Sense,” “Unbreakable”) proves he can still be a skillful filmmaker with precision camerawork and editing, but his incomplete story needed work. With Split, I went from not being sure if I cared, to caring with certainty, to I guess I don’t care after all. James McAvoy plays a twenty-three multiple personality disorder maniac who abducts three girls and locks them in an underground cavernous basement with the threat of slaying and eating them. Despite that summary, this isn’t much of a gory and grotesque thriller as it is a creepy and psychological one. Two separate flashbacks – one for the killer during his sessions with a psychiatrist and one for one of the girls and her past with another realistic monster within her own family – lure our interest and yet they never come full circle with a satisfying payoff.

It’s hard to keep your eyes off McAvoy, who does wonders with the role as he goes in and out of multiple personalities within a single scene. Some of his personalities are benign, which lend us hope these girls can escape. Haley Lu Richardson and Jessica Sula as two of the girls have more to do, and say, early on. But our attention shifts to Anya Taylor-Joy as Casey who does best with negotiating with their captor (of the three, she has the patience needed to unlock his psychosis). Logistically, there are so many multiple locked doors, the girls nearly drop the idea of fighting him for gently reasoning with him because they are not entirely certain they can find their way out of this seeming labyrinth.

Instead of sticking to its inherently grabbing scenario and keeping it plausible, “Split” descends into some supernatural mumbo jumbo that frankly lost it for me. Shyamalan has us captivated if he sticks to a straight-forward story, so why belabor it with connections to one of his earlier films? I thought for a second it was going to be a Samuel L. Jackson cameo, however, we get somebody else (a former A-list star).

Anyway, I’m sorry, but I don’t care if the twenty-fourth emerging personality is a supernatural entity that’s a Beast. I wish Shyamalan knew when to keep it real. Note: I consider Shyamalan’s last picture, the lesser seen “The Visit” (2015), to be his comeback into respectability. “Split” didn’t satisfy me, but there’s still reason to think that the once interesting filmmaker could get back on track.

117 Minutes. Rated R.


Film Cousins: “Sisters” (1973); “Kiss the Girls” (1997); “Unbreakable” (2000); “Identity” (2003).

Split_ Positive-Review

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Sean Chavel

About The Author / Sean Chavel

Sean Chavel is a Hollywood based author and movie reviewer. He is the Executive Director of flickminute.com, a new website that has adapted the movie review site genre by introducing moodbased and movie experience based reviews.


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