M. Night Shyamalan is a man I have extremely conflicting feelings for. On one hand, he made one of my favorite movies as a kid (Signs), but he has also made one of the most infuriating movies I have ever experienced, The Last Airbender (a horrible adaptation of one of the only kid shows I can still stomach).
So of course, everyone knows that Shyamalan is capable of greatness, but he is also capable of the exact opposite.
Now in my opinion, Split is one of the best Shyamalan films I’ve ever experienced. I would have to watch all of his old stuff again to be sure, but this might be my favorite of his movies.
The strongest force of exceptionality is James McAvoy. His ability to masterfully control his facial expressions and body positions really helps sell the fact that his character has multiple personalities. All of his personalities are not only clearly definable from the others, but they are all individually creepy and horrifying in their own way. On top of that, the man is just extremely entertaining to watch.
But McAvoy is not the only great actor in this film; Anya Taylor-Joy also does fantastic in her role. It’s not that big of a surprise considering she was fantastic in The Witch (despite the fact that I think that movie is overrated), but like Shyamalan, she’s been a part of films that were not the best idea. Needless to say, however, I’ll be looking forward to any other movie that she’s a part of from now on.
Now the other two girls that also get kidnapped were not nearly as good in their performance. They were decent at best and distractingly bad at worst. All of the best scenes in the movie just so happen to not involve either of them. It wouldn’t be that big of a deal if they were always average, but there were scenes where I was completely unconvinced by their reactions to things. If the movie chose three great actresses instead of just one, then the movie would have been nearly flawless.
Aside from the two girls’ performances, the only other bit of the movie that I had an issue with was literally the first five minutes of the film. The dialogue was so weak that my first impressions of the movie was that it was going to be bad. Take a guess at which actors speak the most in the first five minutes?
The camera shots are of exceptional quality, and they really emphasized the terrible feeling the movie tries to give you. The soundtrack was great as well, and the lighting also greatly complimented the fantastic camera work.
All of these elements together made this movie absolutely stick with me. I still cannot shake off the feeling of dread that I got from this movie. It is certainly not a happy movie, and I was actually surprised at how dark it was willing to go. I don’t want to go too in depth because I refuse to spoil this film, but if you’re someone who doesn’t like really dark subject material, I wouldn’t recommend Split.
Split is of an exceptional caliber. James McAvoy commands every single scene that he’s in, and I loved his performance. The plot was unique and had some good reasonings for why certain things were happening, and the movie truly sticks with you as you leave the theatre.
If you feel like Shyamalan shouldn’t be bothered with anymore like I use to think, then you will completely miss out on a fantastic film. Go see this film as soon as you can, especially if you’re into horror movies, because I have a feeling that there won’t be one out that’s as exceptional as this one is for a very long time, and I’m giving this movie an 8 out of 10.