Review by Rohitavra Majumdar
M. Night Shyamalan has always been pretty erratic when it comes to his filmography. He has given us some good to great to terrible movies in the horror genre over the years but lately, he seemed kind of out of touch (although last year’s The Visit was an indication of a comeback). Well, not anymore, because with Split, Shyamalan has got back to what he does best. Because this is a spine-chilling horror tale with a very interesting premise and a cool twist in the end.
The major reason Split works, however, is its leading man. As a person with twenty-three distinctively different personalities staying in one body, James McAvoy has done a superlative job. This guy has always been a great actor and here, he has outshone all his previous performances. This is outstanding, award-worthy work which needs to be appreciated and applauded. Along with McAvoy, Anya Taylor-Joy (The Witch, Morgan) has delivered a wonderfully layered performance as this troubled young adult battling with her own demons as well as surviving against McAvoy’s character (s). The rest of the cast has done a good job to round things up as well.
Shyamalan has written it smartly, and his expertise in changing the pace and bringing major plot points to the fold can be clearly seen here. The film could have been edited a bit well though. And the final twist, no matter how cool it was, feels kind of forced; although it sets up an opportunity for a franchise all of a sudden (relating things with another Shyamalan movie, quite unexpectedly).
Split is a solid comeback for M. Night Shyamalan and definitely worth a watch if you are a fan of this director and the horror (fantasy) genre. It is your gift-wrapped horror movie to watch (and enjoy) with your girlfriend on a date night.
Review by Kalpit Tandon
While shifting focus on background arc of Casey, the lead protagonist, to give her character a little more gravitas, Split leaves the opportunities of exploring the deeper psyches of Kevin and only restricts itself to 4 dominant characters of its antagonist, all of them played with eccentric brilliance by James McAvoy.
Exposition heavy conversations, tense close-ups and fueled by a deranged atmospheric dread, Split is wickedly fun, trashily entertaining and ensures that Shyamalan will keep his little toe inside Hollywood A-listers. The trademark twist ending might feel slightly self-indulgent from the modern master of twists, but he had always been guilty of this crime. Shyamalan’s venture into controlled insanity is a brave attempt from a director who never shied away from the bold.