“Split” Leaves You Wanting To Split The Theater—Not In The Good Way

Shyamalan’s Latest Offering Is A Complete Dud

Look, making movies isn’t easy. There are millions of dollars and hours that go into a production but let’s not pretend that there isn’t some formula for success. Which is why it’s still puzzling that M. Night Shyamalan can’t seem to get it together when it comes to the genre of psychological horror.

That’s all I could think of with Shyamalan’s latest offering in Split. Split is supposed to be about how a man named Kevin (James McAvoy) has 23 different personalities living inside of him after experiencing some sort of abuse. The plot goes pretty simple and it doesn’t take long to get involved. One of Kevin’s personalities decides to abduct three young girls and hold them hostage all the while it’s left to the audience’s imagination on what is going to happen next to them. Eventually, the girls try to escape and all the while, they encounter Kevin’s many different personalities.

This image released by Universal Pictures shows Betty Buckley in a scene from, “Split.” (Universal Pictures via AP)

It’s a straightforward plot and it’s important to give credit where it is due. McAvoy did a fantastic job going through the 23 personalities seen in the film. They were believable and engaging. As for the young girls, they were just there and the main character played by Anya Taylor Joy did a good job of interacting with McAvoy.

Here’s the problem though. This movie isn’t scary. Not one bit of it was scary, including the ending—which I won’t spoil for you. The “psychological” thriller aspect of Split didn’t seem to be there and it had nothing to do with McAvoy’s performance. There were times when the audience was laughing when instead they should have been “creeped” out.

Another issue I had with McAvoy’s character really revolved around how stable he seemed, as he was each of these personalities. Split’s plot didn’t allow him to go to different highs or present an unstable environment, which could have heightened the sense of danger. At times, McAvoy’s personalities were a little too comical to deal with and as mentioned before weren’t scary.

What this boils down to is that M. Night Shymalan missed the mark yet again. Split’s premise of an unstable individual who may have DID (Dissociative Identity Disorder) capturing another human being and holding them hostage should be frightening. Instead Shymalan makes it come off as comical and bizarre more than anything. The sad part is that Psycho, of the all time classics when it comes to psychological thrillers, has a villain with DID and it’s actually creepy so it can be done but Shymalan doesn’t seem to pull it off at all. This movie had a lot of potential but isn’t even close to pulling it off.

It’s also not like this could be blamed on the acting either as I said before. McAvoy made all of those personalities come to life, it was just the source material he was given to work with it felt like wasn’t there. It didn’t cross a line or really try to creep an audience out. I’ve had episodes of CBS’s Criminal Minds do a better job of scaring me than this film did.

Thomas Fernandez is the managing editor for Sports Talk Florida and News Talk Florida. He started his career in media by covering the NHL and the Tampa Bay Lightning. After covering the NHL for two years, he hopped on board the news cycle and has been covering both sports and news for the last year. He has covered major sporting events as well as politics which affects the Florida audience. Thomas is a Tampa native and graduate of the University of South Florida with a bachelor of arts in Public Relations.