Split: "I've Never Seen A Case Like This Before"

Director: M. Night Shyamalan
Writer:    M. Night Shyamalan
Starring: James McAvoy
                Anya Taylor-Joy
                Betty Buckley
                Hayley Lu Richardson
                Jessica Sula
                Brad William Henke
                Bruce Willis
Rating:    ****

Release Date: Out Now 

M. Night Shyamalan was once moving his way up to becoming the king of intense thrillers. The Sixth Sense especially was gripping, haunting and packed a punch with its still shocking twist in the films final moments, However things soon went south when films like Signs and The Village failed to live up to high bar Shyamalan had set himself.

James McAvoy
Soon when a film was announced that was to be directed by him, eyes rolled and people were dubious to get excited; me being one of those people. Then 2016 comes along, and buzz begins to build over a new psychological thriller called Split, a film written and directed by none other that M. Night Shyamalan.

Focusing on a man with Dissociative Identity Disorder, who is known to have 23 different personalities, ranging from small children to older women. However he is rumoured to have a 24th personality referred to as The Beast, and this personality is a superhuman monster with a disturbing appetite for human flesh. The Beast needs feeding, so the man kidnaps three women and keeps them trapped until he is ready. The girls must use their wits to stay alive and take advantage of the ever changing personalities to find a way to safety.

James McAvoy stars as the man of many faces, and his performance is disturbingly brilliant. He truly embodies each and every one of the personalities we meet, from the nervous child 'Hedwig', calm and collected 'Patricia' and cunningly twisted 'Dennis'. McAvoy transforms his voice, stance and mannerisms in a way that completely separates one character from the next, a performance that is clever, detailed and genuinely terrifying to watch.

Anya Taylor-Joy
Of the three girls that are taken the true heroine is Anya Taylor-Joy's Casey, she is a girl with a damaged background much like the man's, something that connects them despite their vast differences. Taylor-Joy is strong, powerful and also vulnerable in her demeanour, turning Casey into the ultimate 'Final Girl' and ensuring you root for her from start to finish.

Acting as a moral compass and a insight into the mind of the man is psychiatrist, Dr. Karen Fletcher; played by Betty Buckley. I completely understand her ole in the movie, and the purpose of her being there. My issue is that her scenes instantly diminished the feeling of dread and terror that is being built up in the other scenes. This is nothing to do with Buckley but more the direction, writing and pacing. I may be the only one to feel this, but it often felt jarring and at times out of place.

Despite that slight problem with the flow of the film, Split is a true return to form for M. Night Shyamalan. A thriller packed with twists, tension and terror; it has been a long time coming, but thank the lord it has. Not relying on jump scares and cheap trick is what has saved him, but rather building tension and creating multi-dimensional characters. I truly hope that this is the beginning of a new era of horror/thriller films, one that can be spear-headed by Shyamalan himself. 

Split - Trailer