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A “Split” Film

Bella Gallo, Staff Writer


Director M. Night Shyamalan has once again grabbed the public’s attention with another mind boggling film.

His newest movie, “Split”, has brought major attention to the big screen, with some critics praising it for its intricate twists and witty conflicts and others shaming it for its confusing plot and possible immorality. The movie has earned $278.3 million in the box office. The film is classified into the horror/thriller genre and is rated PG-13. Ignatiy Vishnevetsky claims, “It twists the themes of fate and trauma that have been his stock-in-trade since ‘The Sixth Sense‘ into a very entertaining genre exercise—some of his strongest work since ‘The Village’ and ‘Signs.’” Others who compared Split to  Shyamalan’s previous films all say he truly outdid himself.

Split centers around a middle aged man named Kevin Wendell Crumb, who has dissociative identity disorder leading him to have twenty-three different personalities. Each personality has different characteristics and qualities, making his life very difficult. After years of being relatively stable and working as an attendant at a zoo, one of Kevin’s personalities, Dennis, kidnaps three teenage girls, two of whom he feels have wronged him through a petty prank they pulled weeks ago at the zoo. He kidnaps them as sacrifices for Kevin’s twenty-fourth personality, The Beast, while the third girl, Casey played by Anya Taylor-Joy, is taken even though she is considered innocent and pure.  

The two rebels, Claire and Marcia, are put in a bunker space underneath the zoo along with Casey. Shortly after being locked in the bunker, the girls’ cries for help garner sympathy from two more of Kevin’s personalities. One of those personalities, Patricia, is British, strict and dresses as a woman. Patricia is much more kind than some of the other personalities and tells the girls not to worry and that they won’t be harmed by Dennis because they have a greater purpose.

Moments later, yet another personality, Hedwig, is introduced to the girls. Casey tries to befriend him as he claims to be an energetic nine-year-old boy. Hedwig introduces the idea of this twenty-fourth personality, The Beast, to the girls. Simultaneously, yet another one of Kevin’s personalities, Barry, is subconsciously emailing his psychiatrist, Dr. Fletcher played by Betty Buckley.

When Kevin shows up to these sessions he shows up as Dennis but to assure Dr.Fletcher that all is well Dennis claims to be the more calm personality Barry.

As the movie escalates, Dennis becomes rather aggressive with the girls. He then removes Claire from the others to make any type of escape plan painstakingly difficult to concoct. Tension builds and the wrath of the twenty-fourth personality, The Beast is unleashed. To discover the fate of the three girls, readers will have to head to the big screens themselves. The end of the movie is intriguing, featuring a conversation between Kevin and the girls reminiscent of another Shyamalan movie, “Unbreakable.”

IMDb gave the film 7.5/10 stars and the film earned a 74% from Rotten Tomatoes. Many applaud James McAvoy for starring in the film as Kevin and essentially playing nine different characters in the film. When asked about the difficulty of his role, MacAvoy answers through laughter, “It was like playing nine different roles but only getting paid for one!”. Sandy Shaefer from Screen Rant oozes Split is the best M. Night Shyamalan creation in recent memory, as anchored by a great performance (or, rather, performances) by James McAvoy.” Those who thought negatively of the movie mostly either thought the movie was too traumatic, with the teenage girls being held hostage underneath the Philadelphia Zoo, or thought that the movie was morally wrong because it gave people with dissociative identity disorder a bad reputation because of how Kevin was portrayed as a Beast.

Overall, Shyamalan’s movie is getting a lot of attention from the media. “Split” may have made viewers question the capabilities of the human mind or maybe just left them wondering whether or not there are bunkers underneath the Philadelphia Zoo. All opinions aside,  most can agree McAvoy deserves consideration for at least award for playing nine different people in one movie.