Shyamalan pulls himself together for “Split”

After string of disappointments, director returns to form with new thriller

James+McAvoy+is+a+menacing+figure+in+M.+Night+Shyamalan%27s+%22Split%2C%22+starring+as+a+man+with+multiple+personality+disorder.
James McAvoy is a menacing figure in M. Night Shyamalan's

James McAvoy is a menacing figure in M. Night Shyamalan's "Split," starring as a man with multiple personality disorder.

Raider Times photo / Courtesy Universal Studios

Raider Times photo / Courtesy Universal Studios

James McAvoy is a menacing figure in M. Night Shyamalan's "Split," starring as a man with multiple personality disorder.

Elijah Levy, Raider Times staff

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    “Split” is the newest thriller from the once-proclaimed master himself, M. Night Shyamalan.

    Way before he was known as the guy with the outlandish twists, he was called the next Spielberg, a title he has yet to live up to. I say this because other than about 2-3 of his films, the rest have been complete and utter trash. Honestly some of the greatest cinematic offenses of all time, such as “The Village,” “Lady in the Water,” “The Last Airbender,” and the accidental comedy known as “The Happening.” “Split” is nothing like the previously mentioned films, it is a reminder of the talent that Shyamalan once brought to the table.

    “Split” is the story of a man with MPD (multiple personality disorder), who kidnaps three girls and they must find a way to escape before they are sacrificed to a beast.

    I found most of the acting to be impeccable, thanks to James McAvoy. He gives a menacing, sometimes comedic performance with his ability to treat each personality as its own character. Akin to a more serious version of Willem Dafoe’s performance in “Spider-Man,” a hard act that he flawlessly pulls off.

    This film is one that takes many cues from Hitchcock, the best example is the opening credits being similar to that of those in “Psycho,” among many more subtle comparisons. The camera work is phenomenal, with each placement and angle adding depth to each situation. I was infatuated with the minimal score, or lack thereof. It truly helped play into the insanity of the situation.

   I found the performances from the supporting actors to be bordering on Disney Channel Original Movie levels of awful, with little to no emotions ever being portrayed. I felt as if some of the flashback scenes in this movie were not done very well, that they could have been more subtle and been on par with the rest of the movie.

    Also expect Shyamalan’s patented sense of false profundity that seems to be a staple in everything he touches.

    I absolutely loathed the very last scene of this film, something that I know is going to be very subjective. Now I will not get into what the very last scene is, but it will do one of three things: confuse, elate, or irritate you to your core.

    In all honesty I really enjoyed this movie. A lot. It is not for children or the faint-hearted as there are some truly gruesome scenes. As a PG-13 film, I would strictly follow this rating. As someone who is obsessed with gory body horror, I recoiled in disgust a few times, so use your discretion.

   This movie had me anxious every 10 seconds and clutching onto the arm of my chair, making it a spectacular thriller. I guess it is safe to say that Shyamalan is officially back in business.

–Jan. 20, 2017–

 

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