Split movie poster
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Split
Split movie poster

Split Movie Review

Available on Blu-ray and DVD on April 18, 2017 (Buy on Amazon)

We liked Split. No, we loved Split. No, Split is stupid. Split is another bullshit film from M. Night Shyamalan. Shut up. No it’s not. It’s a return to form, a technically proficient horror-thriller that keeps you guessing. Yeah, but the ending sort of sucks. Yeah, but that other ending is like so amazeballs. Shut up, Tiffany, we agree. That we disagree? Split is almost really good but Shyamalan never manages to bring all its disparate parts together, as if it’s drawn in 23--no, 24--sorry, 24--directions.

We like Split because it’s about a creepy version of James McAvoy who has multiple personality disorder, and one of those personalities is a little more psychotic than the rest. Uh, the correct term is dissociative identity disorder. How do you not even know what we have is called? You guys are like so disruptive here, people are trying to read a coherent movie review and this movie review is like totally not coherent. Shut up, Tiffany!

McAvoy delivers a strong performance as a variety of individuals trapped within the traumatized body of Kevin Crumb, one of whom has kidnapped a trio of pretty little things (Anya Taylor-Joy, Haley Lu Richardson and Jessica Sula) to do something bad to. Stop giving away spoilers! That wasn’t a spoiler, all of that is in the trailers. Anyway, yes, McAvoy is pretty damn good, even if the rest of the movie is just okay.

Bob, why is the movie just okay?

I’m getting to that, Simon.

Que?

Rodrigues, no hablé inglés. Silencio.

After The Visit restored some respect for the largely discredited director, Split adds more credibility as the movie, with its careful and patience cinematography and strong use of sound and music, makes it clear that Shyamalan has rebounded from the shoddiness that nearly destroyed his career a decade ago.

Ugh, boring, get to the good stuff. Yeah, none of this critic mumbo jumbo--cinematography blah blah blah let’s move on.

Jesus Christ!

Yes, child?

It was a figure of speech, Jesus. Back to the movie. The best part about Split is that Shyamalan keeps you guessing. You know that bad things are going to happen, but you don’t know what his end game is.

That’s not the best part. The best part is Anya Taylor-Joy. Dammmmmmn, girl.

Yes, she’s quite good, too. But Split works because it keeps you on the edge of your seat, not necessarily because it’s all that exciting or scary--I wasn’t scared at all--I was, I wet myself--you wet ourselves while watching Brady Bunch reruns, Nelson. Sorry, Bob, go ahead.

Split isn’t especially scary, and it isn’t overtly thrilling, but the mystery that surrounds what’s going on, what’s going to happen, and what exactly this 24th identity may or may not be keeps the film alive.

It felt sort of long. Nearly two hours!

It does feel a bit long. And the ending is a bit ho-hum. I enjoyed the ending. No you didn’t. None of us did. Shyamalan makes people like us out to be freaks and goes all batshit crazy at the end, but not in a good way. It did feel like the movie, as interesting as it is, doesn’t amount to a sum of its parts.  It never brings everything together in a satisfying way.

Sum? I like hate math.

We know you do, Tiffany.

What was the point of those flashbacks?

Those flashbacks were largely useless. Could have saved us 10 minutes there.

But the flashbacks helps set up why--shhh, don’t reveal anything. I wasn’t going to reveal anything major.  Yes, you were.

Que?

Silencio, Rodrigues. Silencio.

But what about the extra scene during the credits? That was hella awesome, yo!  Nah, it was kind of cheesy.  That was hella cheesy awesome, yo!  No, just cheesy.  It was pretty awesome, I will say.  I’m excited.  Me, too.  

Wait, so what did we decide on Split? Are there still people reading this? Holy hell, there is. Hello, there. We apologize for the chaos… we tend to be that way.  Let’s let the reader know where we stand on Split. Bob? Bob?

Bob had to go to the dark place.

Poor Bob. Who will wrap things up? What about Erik? That guy knows something about movies. He’s literally smarter and has better opinions than anyone else in the movie industry. Agreed. Agreed. We all agree on that.

Aw, shucks, you guys. Fine, I’ll step in. Split was decent. It could have been scarier and more exciting. More importantly, Shyamalan could have kept things more grounded and delivered a more satisfying, enjoyable ending. I don’t know if I’d watch it again, but it’s a unique film in many ways, and for that, it should be commended.

Que?

Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.

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