Split is every bit as good as you can imagine. We loved The Visit and with Split everyone should finally be able to acknowledge that M. Night Shyamalan is – once again – giving us everything we want!

I have been looking forward to Split ever since I saw the first little teaser. I mean, really looking forward to it. I’ve always loved M. Night Shyamalan’s movies though (admittedly) some more than others.

For example, I was not crazy about The Happening. Then again, Shyamalan didn’t have final say on that particular movie, which may explain a lot. Also, one of the creepiest scenes – and the only truly great moment from that particular movie – was thanks to Betty Buckley.

She’s back with Shyamalan in Split, where she works almost as a narrator. Not literally, but she helps the audience understand what’s going on since we’re thrown head-first into the story. In a very good way, I might add.

Split is a thriller and horror movie, so prepare for intriguing storytelling and mystery as well as horror.

Split is an acting masterclass from James McAvoy

While the story in Split is both scary and fascinating, it was James McAvoy that completely took my breath away. He seems to be channeling some very diverse characters with an almost scary ease. You find yourself staring into the same face while seeing many different characters.

Oh yeah, and the truly amazing thing, is that you quickly recognize the different people before James McAvoy has spoken a word. When he’s “Patricia” you can tell by his entire statue and facial expression. The same goes for “Dennis”, “Barry”, “Hedwig”, etc. Not in a stereotypical or exaggerated manner. Simply with the slightest changes in demeanor.

Not in a stereotypical or exaggerated manner. Simply with the slightest changes in posture and demeanor. It seems the air just shifts around him when a new personality takes over.

It’s fascinating and scary. Both in the best of ways!

Split 2017 movie review - M Night Shyamalan - Anya Taylor-Joy

And while I’ve always liked him, it’s no small feat when he’s playing alongside the above mentioned Betty Buckley (whom I adore!). Also, we have Anya Taylor-Joy, who has been receiving praises for her performance in The Witch and Morgan.

Admittedly, both Betty Buckley and Anya Taylor-Joy become scene stealers many times in Split. At times, I was so engulfed in the story that I almost forgot to breathe.

There’s no Shyamalan twist, but…

We’ve gotten used to a “Shyamalan twist” in his movies. I’ve found myself trying to guess what it might be, but with Split, I didn’t really do this. And there is no real twist. If anything, the entire story is one big Shyamalan twist on what we think we know about mental illness.

So forget about the Shyamalan twist, but do prepare for a nice little surprise at the end.

Also: Watch a video recap of Unbreakable and Split >

Split 2017 movie review - M Night Shyamalan - James McAvoy

Split marks the second collaboration of M. Night Shyamalan and Jason Blum – the first was The Visit – and it seems like a winning combination. Blum – and Blumhouse Productions – have built their budding production empire on letting the creator have creative freedom. Clearly, this is what Shyalaman needs to get back to the amazing stories he started out with.

Oh yeah, and of course, he does a cameo. A wonderful scene with Betty Buckley that offers some comedic relief as well.

If you haven’t already guessed from all of the above musings, I definitely recommend you to watch Split. The runtime may be a bit too long, which is the only thing that I can mention as a negative. I know it’s important to really do the story justice, but it pulls out too much energy in places.

Still, this is an amazing Shyamalan movie with absolutely brilliant performances by everyone. In particular James McAvoy, who is both comforting and one of the scariest people ever. Well, he’s a lot of people rolled up into one (literally!) in this movie.

Split is out in US theaters from January 20, 2017. You do not want to miss this fantastic new horror thriller from M. Night Shyamalan.

Details

Director: M. Night Shyamalan
Writer: M. Night Shyamalan
Cast: James McAvoy, Anya Taylor-Joy, Betty Buckley, Haley Lu Richardson, Jessica Sula, Brad William Henke, Izzie Leigh Coffey

Plot

After three girls are kidnapped by a man with 24 distinct personalities they must find some of the different personalities that can help them while running away and staying alive from the others.

Karina "ScreamQueen" Adelgaard

I write reviews and recaps on Heaven of Horror. And yes, it does happen that I find myself screaming, when watching a good horror movie. I love psychological horror, survival horror and kick-ass women. Also, I have a huge soft spot for a good horror-comedy. Oh yeah, and I absolutely HATE when animals are harmed in movies, so I will immediately think less of any movie, where animals are harmed for entertainment (even if the animals are just really good actors). Fortunately, horror doesn't use this nearly as much as comedy. And people assume horror lovers are the messed up ones. Go figure!
Karina

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Review Date
Reviewed Item
Split (2017)
Rating
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