Friday, 31 March 2017

Split (2016)

"Split" (2016, M. Night Shyamalan, Blinding Edge Pictures, Blumhouse Productions, Universal Pictures) is a psychological horror. Not to be confused with either the bowling movie, or the short horror film from 2014 of the same name.

Three teenage girls are kidnapped by a man called Kevin (James McAvoy) who has been diagnosed with dissociative identity disorder, or split personalities. He has 23 personalities in total. Whilst only some of his personalities actively want to harm the girls, none of them are inclined to help them, fearing rebuke from Dennis; the dominant personality and head kidnapper.

McAvoy delivers such a wealth of talent in this film. Although he is not given opportunity to show all 23 personalities, the ones he does portray on-screen are expertly delivered, very different and so very sinister. It's enough on its own simply to watch him switch between characters and costumes with ease.

The acting from all characters is pretty solid, the main failing for me of this film was the story telling itself. M. Night Shyamalan films can be hit or miss for me. In the main his ideas are excellent concepts, but his twists and turns often feel a little forced and last minute. For me, Split also suffered from this aspect. An excellently quiet, sinister build up suddenly spiralled into a bit of a mess in the pursuit of a twist.

However, overall the film was intriguing enough to engage my attention and the superb acting from McAvoy really keeps you guessing.

[Image: Blumhouse Productions, et al]