Horrorfest 2018 Presents: Split (2017, M. Night Shyamalan)

Even though I agree with those who feel that Split is not a realistic potrait of someone with mental illness, as a horror film it works a lot. Shyamalan goes back to what made him an effective director, and I have heard good things about The Visit, as well. James McAvoy is really terrifying in this movie, and Anya Taylor-Joy is a perfect foil for him, particularly for reasons that I cannot spoil in this review. Kevin turns out to be a rather complex and interesting case study, especially since he has multiple personalities living inside his mind.

Due to the film’s run time not all of them are shown, and the ones featured range from harmless to disturbed. Both Kevin’s doctor and Casey, the film’s protagonist, have the misfortune to discover the last hidden identity Kevin has stored away: The Beast. Which leads to a pretty frightening last act and McAvoy doing some excellent acting. He was really perfect for the main role. Taylor-Joy gives a strong, haunted and understated performance in a film that rests on the audience believing this could happen. With Split M. Night reaffirms that he is back to making quality films worth seeing, and I eagerly await Glass, which comes out next year.

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