‘Split’ offers 24 identities, one big disappointment
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M. Night Shyamalan’s newest creation attempted to psychologically thrill viewers, but, like his last film, “The Visit,” it only made everyone in the room very, very, very uncomfortable.
The main character, Kevin Crumb portrayed by James McAvoy, suffers Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID), which gives him at least 23 different
identities all in one body. From Hedwig, an innocently playful nine year old, to Dennis, a pedophilic germaphobe, Patricia, the British mother figure, to Barry, the fashionista, all 23 character get their fifteen seconds of fame which made the movie seem like a McAvoy one man show.
A small pit began to form in my stomach as soon as the movie started. Kevin is menacing no matter which personality is in the
light. His therapist Dr. Fletcher, portrayed by Betty Buckley, seems to specialize in patients like Kevin with the aforementioned DID. She understands that Kevin forms these identities due to underlying childhood trauma as a means to defend himself from certain memories.
Barry is usually the personality to see Dr. Fletcher, although she quickly realizes that many identities can overthrow Barry and disguise themselves as him. In order to meet Barry and the rest of the identities, the abduction is required.
It starts off with the so- called “popular” girl who throws a birthday party. She invites everyone in her art class, including Casey, the shy class outcast, played by Anya Taylor-Joy. Claire, the birthday girl, and her best friend Marcia wait at the end of the party for Casey to leave safely. When Casey says she’ll just take the bus, Claire’s dad offers to take her home. If you’ve seen the trailers, you know what happens next. Boxes drop, Kevin enters
the car, poison is sprayed, and the girls are knocked unconscious. When the girls are situated in their small room, they quickly realize that Kevin is just one of the kidnappers. The two best friends, Claire and Marcia, try to devise quick plans to escape. Casey just sits on the bed. She is the only one that realizes that their hostage taker has thought this out for every possible situation.
Throughout the movie, Shyamalan provides flashbacks for both Casey and Kevin. Casey comes from a hunting loving father, but there is no explanation for the absence of the mother. She is taught at a young age to hunt and stay alive, which served her well in her kidnapped state. Disaster struck young Casey when her father died, and she was left with her sexually abusive uncle. To the film’s credit, while we get bits of backstory for both our lead villain and our lead heroine, but the film never tries to make us feel sorry for the villain.
Besides the fact that three girls have been kidnapped, the
secondary plot is that Kevin’s 24th identity is about to surface. This monster of an identity can break the boundaries of a normal human being. Not only is it capable of animal-like actions, but it’s hell bent on destroying the mere mortals who have not suffered.
I will say, by the end of the movie, I was scared and at the edge of my seat. For more than half of the movie I was so uncomfortable that I was ready to leave.
I think one of the main reasons that I was so disappointed was because I watched all of the trailers. I read theories and reviews before I even saw the movie. If you’re going to see “Split,” go in blind. It would’ve been a better movie if the trailers made it out to be something else. If it were advertised as more of a psychological creep-off, I would have been more impressed.
Shockingly, it dominated its competitor “xXx: Return of Xander Cage” in the opening weekend box offices by more than doubling the expected number.