Directed by M. Night Shyamalan [Other horror films: Signs (2002), The Village (2004), The Happening (2008), The Visit (2015), Old (2021)]
I didn’t really know what to expect going into this one, but I am happy to say that this movie did not disappoint at all.
The story is pretty simple, and the cast small (in a manner of speaking), but it was told in a very tense and heart-racing way. The three kidnapped girls (Anya Taylor-Joy, Haley Lu Richardson, and Jessica Sula) all did pretty well, and worked hard to get out of the situation they were in. Taylor-Joy’s character, though, was tragic, in that even if she happened to get away, her nightmare was far from over. And while I can’t begin to praise James McAvoy’s performance here enough, suffice it to say that it’s perhaps some of the best and most diverse acting I’ve ever seen.
My one issue with the movie is that the whole beast personality comes off as a bit ridiculous. Sure, some of the things that he can do are pretty creepy (that wall thing, for instance), but it really felt a bit much, especially toward the end. I also sort of wish we got looks into a few other personalities, though the few we did get nuggets of (such as the historian) were pretty interesting.
Split’s a movie done well. Taylor-Joy (who I’ve seen previously in The VVitch) did amazing with her role, and I think she has a lot to offer the genre. M. Night Shyamalan obviously has a sketchy history, though I will fully admit to enjoying both The Visit and The Village. He did an amazing job here, and really, this is a moderately easy contender for top horror film of the last five years. If only that last personality wasn’t as unrealistic as I felt it was. On a final note, while this is related to the 2000 film Unbreakable, but you definitely don’t need to see that film to enjoy this (as I certainly haven’t).