By Michelle Reynolds, Staff Writer
Sean Rolwing, Staff Writer
With his most recent box office flops “After Earth” and “The Last Airbender” now firmly behind him, it seems M. Night Shyamalan has once again found his groove with his latest movie, “Split.”
Released January 20 and already raking in a whopping $101.1 million, this PG-13 movie is about three high school girls (actresses’ names??) who are kidnapped by a man (James McAvoy) diagnosed with 23 different personalities and an emerging 24th personality.
This 117-minute-long horror movie is receiving high praise, topping box offices at No. 1 for two weeks straight and perhaps even a third by the time you read this paper.
Below are two different reviews for the 2017 movie “Split.” You could say that opinions were rather split.
The acting, cinematography, and storytelling of the movie are superb. McAvoy really embraces his role, making each of his personalities diverse with their own accents, body gestures, facial expressions and outfits. Within the movie, he was able to flesh out numerous characters, from nine-year-old Hedwig to Jade, a teenage girl with diabetes—each of whom felt as real as the next. Only an actor with a serious attention to detail and passion for his craft could have accomplished such a feat, and McAvoy earned a larger spot in the credits because of it.
This movie seemed to seamlessly weave three stories into one: McAvoy’s personalities and their current lives outside of the kidnapping, his interactions with the girls he had kidnapped, and a separate story explaining the traumatic past of one of the kidnapped girls.
Upon witnessing the initial kidnapping, you are immediately drawn into the story and the broken mind of McAvoy’s character, Kevin Wendell Crumb. The movie continued to flow extremely well from scene to scene and successfully wove together these three seemingly random stories into one cohesive whole.
Overall, this was a good movie, with a strong beginning but a weak ending. So far, it’s doing extremely well, so it looks like a sequel could be on the horizon. However, before we think about sequels, we must focus on this current movie. While “Split” should not make you run to the theaters, “Split” would be a good candidate to consider the next time you find yourself at Redbox searching for a movie to watch.
Classified as a horror, this movie falls a little flat for the genre. It is neither scary nor would it be considered a psychological thriller. Despite a strong beginning, the movie slowly begins to lose direction as it progresses. It was as if the movie itself were split in its own intentions, unsure of whether it was a horror movie or a psychological thriller. It left one feeling unsatisfied by its conclusion, and even Shyamalan’s signature twist ending was weaker than ever.
I had high hopes for this movie, but with high hopes comes easy disappointment. Although I still found myself yearning to know the conclusion, there was nothing shocking about it, and the ending left you with an almost anticlimactic feeling. There are rumors circulating on the internet of a surprise twist at the end of this movie that was supposed to knock my socks off. But when the twist came, I just sat there in my seat, confused and with both socks still on. If you are not familiar with Shyamalan’s previous works, then the twist might make you feel a little left out. I left feeling confused instead of surprised.
In fact, the only intriguing part of the ending was that “Split” connects to a previous film he made, in an apparent attempt to create a “Shyamalan Extended Universe.” But instead of opening the door for more stories, I feel that this ending only cheapened the rest of the movie, giving the impression that you have only watched a very long trailer for its sequel.
Although it would be difficult to call this film a masterpiece when placed side-by-side with his previous works, if you clear your head of unrealistic expectations, then “Split” really does work as a good movie. However, it is difficult to do so because of the connected ending. Regardless, this may mark the end of Shyamalan’s “Flop Phase” and mark the beginning of a new chapter in his filmmaking career.