For the last ten years or so, every time a Shyamalan film is released there is much trepidation from fans and critics alike. Not all people root for him, but those who loved his early work (myself included,) always hold out hope for a return to his former greatness. Some people saw glimmers of that with The Visit, while others remained unconvinced. Now he has decided to follow up that horror comedy with another horror film called Split, this time letting his film rely almost completely upon a dynamic performance by the very talented James McAvoy.
Split is all about the abduction of three high school girls by James McAvoy's Kevin, a man who suffers from dissociative identity disorder (also known as multiple personality disorder.) Each of Kevin's 23 personalities are always fighting for control in the spotlight, and each has varying levels of dangerousness. The girls must use their intellect to outsmart the personalities if they have any hope of escape.
Unlike The Visit which took its time to get going, Split had my attention right away and kept it the whole way through. The biggest reason for that is the aforementioned performance by James McAvoy. You can tell he's having an absolute blast with the role and the movie is worth watching for his performance alone. Besides that, Shyamalan is having fun too. He's up to a lot of his same storytelling tricks, but they're mostly working pretty well. But if there's one thing Shyamalan knows it's how to create tension and he does so expertly here.
Another thing Shyamalan is known for is his endings, but I refuse to go into detail here. The only thing I will say is that somewhat more fantastical elements are brought in during the final third which I wasn't really okay with... that is, until the final seconds of the film made everything click on what Shyamalan actually was attempting with his film. While some may not like what Shyamalan is doing here with his ending, I have to say I really liked it and got pretty excited. Two steps in the right direction and I gotta say, the man is well on his way to being "back." I can't wait to see what he does next. EMILY RATING: 8/10