SPLIT (2016) Reviews and overview

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Split is a 2016 American psychological horror thriller film directed and written by M. Night Shyamalan (The VisitSigns; The Sixth Sense), who co-produced with Marc Bienstock and Jason Blum.

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Main cast:

James McAvoy (X-Men: Apocalypse; Victor Frankenstein), Anya Taylor-Joy (MorganThe Witch), Jessica Sula, Haley Lu Richardson, and Betty Buckley.

Plot:

Kevin (James McAvoy), has evidenced 23 different personalities to his trusted psychiatrist Dr Fletcher (Betty Buckley), there remains one still submerged that is set to emerge and dominate all the others.

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Compelled to abduct three teenage girls led by the willful, observant Casey (Anya Taylor-Joy).

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As they are held captive, haunted by their predicament and their unpredictable efforts to escape this madman, the 24th and final personality – “The Beast” – begins to emerge…

Reviews:

” …Split is a highly effective, nerve-shredding horror movie that makes the most of its claustrophobic setting, familiar setup and psychological gimmicks. James McAvoy is an arresting menace as a man suffering from 23 — or is it 24? — distinct personalities, and the performance is both a feast of unsettling intensity and good-old-fashioned hammy theatrics.” Tim Grierson, Screen Daily

“A welcome return to form from The Sixth Sense director M. Night Shyamalan, whose unhinged new mind-bender is a worthy extension of his early work.” Peter DeBruge, Variety

Split looks great thanks to the participation of It Follows cinematographer Mike Gioulakis, under whose lens the fluorescent lights in Kevin’s basement look extra sickly, and the dark shadows extra dark. Shyamalan also continues his creative renaissance, adding resonant details like a bathroom cabinet stuffed with 24 toothbrushes, one for each of Kevin’s personalities. But this is overwhelmingly McAvoy’s film, and he clamps down hard on a very meaty role…” Katie Rife, A.V. Club

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” …at 116 minutes in length, it’s not nearly as “lean and mean,” so to speak, as The Visit. While I completely understand that it’s a much more complex story than The Visit, it does get a bit convoluted in the film’s second act … James McAvoy’s Kevin certainly won’t be the last character with multiple personalities, but it may be one of the most ambitious performances in this milieu to date.” Brian Gallagher, Movieweb

“It’s important to say that Split doesn’t hinge on a twist ending. It is a full and satisfying film that, if you stopped watching 18 seconds before the conclusion, would still suit as a juicy bit of smart horror. It nicely rides the line between exploitation and serious commentary about the strength gained from overcoming adversity.” Jordan Hoffman, The Guardian

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“This psycho-thriller showcases an awards-worthy performance from James McAvoy. Shyamalan papers over plot-holes with dry black humour and well-judged suspense, and — as always — holds back some surprises.” Kim Newman, Empire

Cast and characters:

James McAvoy … Dennis / Patricia / Hedwig / The Beast / Kevin Wendell Crumb / Barry / Orwell / Jade
Anya Taylor-Joy … Casey Cooke
Betty Buckley … Doctor Karen Fletcher
Haley Lu Richardson … Claire Benoit
Jessica Sula … Marcia
Izzie Coffey … Five-Year-Old Casey (as Izzie Leigh Coffey)
Brad William Henke … Uncle John
Sebastian Arcelus … Casey’s Father
Neal Huff … Mr Benoit
Ukee Washington … News Anchor
Ann Wood … Game Show Enthusiast
Robert Michael Kelly … Joe
M. Night Shyamalan … Jai / Hooters Lover
Rosemary Howard … Kevin’s Mother
Jerome Gallman … Vince, Security Guard

Filming locations:

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Release:

Split was released on January 20, 2017, by Universal Pictures.

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