splitUniversal Pictures

“I just had a hot dog.”

Though Kevin has evidenced 23 personalities to his trusted psychiatrist, Dr. Fletcher, there remains one still submerged who is set to materialize and dominate all of the others. Compelled to abduct three teenage girls led by the willful, observant Casey, Kevin reaches a war for survival among all of those contained within him–as the walls between his compartments shatter.

You know, I’ve bee racking my brain, trying to remember if there ever was a time when I willingly went to see a movie, horror or otherwise, in January. I’m sure there was, but I can’t for the life of me find the memory, if it does indeed exist. And if I did, maybe I blocked it out for a reason. I wouldn’t be surprised, as the general rule of movie releases is that January is the dumping ground for the movies that Hollywood couldn’t give a flying whatever about. Kind of like how a Star Destroyer always dumps its trash before it blasts off into hyperspace, the studios like to dump their mostly undesirables at the beginning of the year before they blast off to the Summer Blockbuster period.

Split is the first movie I’ve seen in the theaters for this year of 2017. It is a January movie. It is also an M. Night Shyamalan movie. Kind of a two-strike for me, as it’s been a while since I’ve seen a Shyamalan movie in the theaters as well, let alone had a reaction to watching one beyond “meh”. Of course, my first reaction was to skip it entirely, and maybe catch it when it came out on DVD or VOD or whatever format we The Future Is Now types will be utilizing when it does (I, for one, await the day when video content will be beamed directly into your heads). But then, I began to notice the various movie reviewers giving surprisingly positive reviews about Split, which caused me to rethink my position on not watching it when it was officially released into theaters.

And so I’ve watched Split. And here’s my official assessment of this movie: WOW, this movie was great. I’d use an exclamation point, but I happen to be one of those writers who abhor the over-usage of said punctuation mark, and hardly if ever use it. But, if I did, there would have been at least two of them after that statement. I’m totes super serial, guys.

Split is a slow-burning and effective psychological horror thriller that will get deep under your skin and offers no easy way out. The story involves three high school girls who are abducted one weekend afternoon by a man who has 23 different personalities percolating within his noggin. It seems that three of the 23 have taken over things, with aims to bring about a 24th personality they refer to only as “the Beast”. To expedite this, they/he’s kidnapped these three girls to use as an offering to The Beast to feed upon, to make stronger. Whether they’re talking metaphorically or literally, well…the girls don’t want to stick around to find out. The problem being, they have no idea where they’re at, there are no windows, and everything is locked. But, one of the girls there has a secret of her own that no one else knows about.

I gotta say, Split was a really, really good psychological thriller, in the same level as Silence Of The Lambs and Psycho. It’s tense, things build up slowly (but not so much that I got distracted), and the film is shot fantastically, giving a sense of claustrophobic anxiety throughout the movie’s run time. The main treat in this, though, is the performances from the main characters, specifically James McAvoy as the man with split personalities, and Anya Taylor-Joy as one of the three girls he abducts. McAvoy continues to prove himself above and beyond a capable actor in everything I’ve seen him in; here, he manages to act out several distinct personalities, at one point switching around several every other minute. Though, I have to admit, I was hoping some time a mention of one of his personalities to be a Faun in some snowy fictional land. Or a mutant with mind control powers. And Anya Taylor-Joy…well, what can I say? Having just recently watched The VVitch, and being massively impressed with her acting talent, here she continues to be able to go with intense emotional portrayal in a very believable manner. She’s a young talent to watch out for in future movies.

So, overall, I guess the joke would be the twist in this Shyamalan movie is that, as it turns out, Split is a January movie that doesn’t suck. It’s definitely unexpected in how good this was, and how effective it turned out. As I mentioned, this is a taut psychological horror thriller that’s slightly unconventional but well worth the time.