Is Shyamalan back? Well, he technically never left, he’s been making movies pretty consistently. I mean, is he back in terms of actually making good movies again? He might be, hopefully this review of yours can clear up if he is or not. I guess.
Ladies and gentlemen… “Split”.
During a day like any other, three girls (Anya Taylor-Joy, Haley Lu Richardson, Jessica Sula) get kidnapped. The person who did it is Kevin (James McAvoy), a man with 23 different personalities residing in his head. And we follow the girls as they try to figure out what’s going on, if there’s some way out of there, and who the hell this strange man is. And I thought the plot here was really good. It was interesting, it was suspenseful, and it was fairly unpredictable. I do have to mention that this movie demands patience out of the viewer, it’s not some fast-paced horror movie that gives you everything immediately on a silver platter. A lot of things might not make sense at first, but if you give it some time you’ll get details of why everything is as it is and everything will make more sense. But yeah, overall I thought the plot here was really good.
The characters, though fairly few, are for the most part pretty interesting. LEt’s start with Kevin, the man with all the personalities. He’s played by Jame McAvoy who I have to give major cred to because he has to portray a fair amount of the various personalities bouncing around in Kevin’s head. Doing something like that is very brave and can also go horrifically wrong and just turn out to be shit. But McAvoy nailed it. Every personality felt really different and I really got a sense that they were all very different characters, all portrayed by this one man. So yeah, McAvoy was amazing in this. Anya Taylor-Joy played Casey, the main one of the three girls that were kidnapped. The character was interesting as she was clever and pretty tough. But we also got a look into her backstory and it really helped flesh out her a bit more. And Taylor-Joy was great in the role. Betty Buckley played Kevin’s psychiatrist, and she was an interesting and entertaining character, and Buckley was great in the role. The other two girls that were kidnapped were played by Haley Lu Richardson and Jessica Sula. And the only reason I’m lumping them together is that none of them were as interesting as Anya Taylor-Joy’s character, and none of them stuck out in my mind, so I just put ’em together like that. Their performances were fine, nothing to really complain about. Overall it’s a well acted movie.
The score for the movie was composed by West Dylan Thordson and it was quite good. It was dark, eerie, haunting, and really helped build a lot of suspense. The score really fit the scenes that it was used in. Because it’s not present in every scene, there’s a fair mount of silence throughout the movie which I appreciated. But whenever the score was used… good stuff.
As you probably understood from the opening of this review, “Split” was directed by M. Night Shyamalan, a man whose name has been attached to some shitty movies. But compared to those, he really did a great job here. His direction is tight and claustrophobic, perfectly building tension throughout the movie. I would also say that Mike Gioulakis’ cinematography helped out a lot, because this movie looks great. As for scares, I never felt like “Oh my god, this shit is scary”. But there were a lot of scenes that were creepy and eerie and got a little bit under my skin. There’s also a surprising amount of humor throughout the movie, and none of it feels forced or out of place, it really worked and it did make me laugh.
This movie has been pretyt well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 75% positive rating and a “Fresh” certification. On Metacritic it has a score of 62/100. And on imdb.com it has a score of 7,3/10.
“Split” is a real return to form for Shyamalan. It features a great plot, good characters, great performances, really good music, great directing, and great cinematography. Time for my final score. Come on, man… spill it. My final score for “Split” is a 9,67/10. Which means that it gets the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.
My review of “Split” is now completed.
So, would you say that Shyamalan is back? Yeah… I think he might be.