Somehow, someway, I watched this movie and didn’t review, which is crazy because it’s one of the main films I wanted to review this year. Why? Because we’re dealing with the most love him or hate him director out there – M. Night Shyamalan. Starting off with a hugely popular and promising career, he’s done more movies that felt disappointing to his early fan base and became more for a smaller target audience. You may think a majority of people hate him, but I personally don’t, nor does a few other folks that I know. His stuff is still unique and most importantly, still feel like they were made my Shyamalan. He has an incredibly unique vision for his films, no matter how good or bad they are. Split was a film I wasn’t sure I’d like, but it so happens this is one of my higher rated films of his in general. I’ll try to explain why, but this is one of M. Night’s spoil-able films…so I’ll try to stay away from that as much as possible, even though most people know what it is by now.
What’s the film about? It’s about this guy that kidnaps some young girls to await a “monster” that he claims is coming to eat them. While they are held captive, the girls end up meeting quite a few variations of the man, as he has multiple personalities disorder. Meanwhile, the man’s psychiatrist is currently investigating how the brain works for patients with this condition. One personality might be allergic to milk and show signs of allergies, while another may drink it without problems. That leads to even deeper reasonings, that maybe this monster is just another personality, but how much can your brain realistically modify your body?
While a lot of people might say M. Night returned to his roots for this movie, I wouldn’t necessarily consider that true. I feel as if a part of this film felt forced, and according to the thing you already know about the movie and I won’t tell you – that would make sense. It was missing tale tell signs of M. Night’s involvement, like returning to a specific color, or item (like a glass of water) or other things like that. Yes, he had a cameo in the film, which was great, but it was missing that overall gloomy and spooky atmosphere you could usually sense in his films.
His roots, however, aren’t exactly the most important things to look for in his films. Most people who don’t see them automatically consider these movies bad, and the forget to watch the movies as they are – a movie. Anyway, this is something I would consider partly back to his roots, mostly original though.
Now, my main problem with this film is it came out a little too late. When M. Night gained his popularity, the idea of multiple personalities was more of a topic that people really enjoyed. As time has passed, we now have a different outlook on multiple personalities…we don’t take it as seriously anymore…so when they take it so seriously in this movie, it’s not quite as believable as it hopes to be, and hence, not as spooky or creepy. I still like the movie just fine, but I do believe it could have been better at the same time.
PEOPLE SCORE – 8/10
Acting – 2|Characters – 2|Casting – 2|Importance – 1|Chemistry – 1
First up is the people category. The acting, characters, and casting are all pretty good. You’ll basically remember this movie for the characters – mostly being James McAvoy. However, there isn’t too much importance placed on anyone but James McAvoy’s character(s) and the doctor. The kidnapped girls don’t hold much importance other than being bait. The chemistry is also mostly okay, but with plenty of room for improvement there.
WRITING SCORE – 8/10
Dialogue – 2|Balanced – 2|Story – 1|Originality – 1|Interesting – 2
Next, we’ll talk about the writing. I feel like it had some pretty good dialogue, it was a very balanced story in general, and as with any Shyamalan film (in my opinion), the concept was pretty interesting. Where it lacked, on the other hand, is the importance of the story and originality. How many times have you seen multiple personalities like this displayed on TV and in movies? Too many to count, right? And what is this story even about? It’s mostly about a mystery regarding a monster, but as interesting as it was for them to explain the brain, it was just a bit too over-the-top of a concept.
BTS SCORE – 9/10
Visuals – 2|Directing – 2|Editing – 2|Advertisement – 1|Music – 2
The visuals were pretty good. They made a lot of effort to try to make everything look as realistic as possible, and in general, sort of creepy. The directing was obviously pretty well done, as it was M. Night Shyamalan, who not only directs but writes it and produces it. The editing was also pretty decent for certain scenes. I also really like the music choices throughout the film. Everything complimented the movie rather well there. That being said, this wasn’t really what I was expecting from the film as far as advertisement is considered. The trailers don’t really lie, but they sometimes give off a different idea.
NARRATIVE ARC SCORE – 8/10
Introduction – 0|Inciting Incident – 2|Obstacles – 2|Climax – 2|Falling Action – 2
The story arc takes a little bit of an opposite turn than what you’re used to seeing from films. Typically, the story arc has everything but a falling action, because it has some explosive climax and then rolls the credits. This time, it really didn’t have an introduction. The inciting incident WAS the introduction. That’s when the girls get kidnapped by McAvoy. The obstacles mostly had to do with escape plans and such. I won’t tell you what the climax or falling action is, especially since this is M. Night Shyamalan, but it’s probably the strongest part of the film.
ENTERTAINMENT SCORE – 8/10
Rewatchability – 2|Fun – 2|Impulse/Buy – 1|Impulse/Talk – 2|Sucks Audience IN – 1
Next up, how entertaining is this movie? I would say it’s ultimately rewatchable, as are most of M. Night’s movies. I had fun watching it, and I’d even consider buying it…if the price was right. It’s definitely a movie I need to talk to someone about. In fact, my brother said he wasn’t ever going to watch it, even with my insistence, so I spoiled the ending for him. Finally, does it suck the audience in? Absolutely, just not all the time. There are moments in here that are sort of boring, too.
SPECIALTY QUESTIONS – 40/50
M. Night – 5|Horror – 5|Thriller – 10|Multiple Personality – 10|Halfway Decent – 10
Now, onto the five specialty questions that I wrote before seeing Split. The first one being…does this feel like M. Night Shyamalan? Yes and no, I believe there are tell tale signs of M. Night’s work. Things like strange focuses on trivial objects that play a major part later focus on colors, and that overall gloomy and creepy feeling that something major is going to happen – and of course, a twist ending. This movie had some things that matched, other things don’t. Is it horror? It’s creepy, not scary, more thriller than anything. How does this do multiple personalities versus other films? Pretty decent, pretty memorable. Finally, it IS halfway decent. Definitely, an M. Night Shyamalan movie that shouldn’t be missed for a variety of reasons.
RATING – 81/100