After a few badly received sci-fi blockbusters, M. Night Shyamalan returned to his earthier style of filmmaking with 2015's The Visit and now this edgy psychological horror romp. It's a genuinely freaky movie, packed with unsettling touches and wonderfully intense performances. And yet there's a nagging sense that the filmmaker is using a very real mental health issue for cheap thrills. Dissociative identity disorder, also known as split personality, is genuinely devastating, but here it's played for blackly comical chills.
The man suffering from this condition is Kevin (James McAvoy), and he has 23 identities battling for supremacy inside him. The ringleader is Dennis, a psychopath who is working in league with fellow alter-ego Patricia to kidnap three young women, the abused outcast Casey (Anya Taylor-Joy) and two classmates (Haley Lu Richardson and Jessica Sula). As these teens try to use his personalities against each other to escape, Kevin is also attending sessions with his psychiatrist Dr Fletcher (Betty Buckley), an expert on his condition. And she has no idea what he's actually up to. Or that all of his personalities are terrified of a menacing identity they call the Beast.
Shyamalan is an expert at dropping clues into each scene, packing the dialog with innuendo and encouraging the actors into giving performances that suggest at unexpected connections and histories. As the film progresses, both Kevin and Casey reveal the most telling details of their grim pasts, allowing Shyamalan to gleefully crank up the tension. And the result is enjoyably creepy, keeping the audience off-balance with a plot that's impossible to predict and plenty of shocking mayhem along the way. At the centre, the audience is able to identify with Taylor-Joy's thoughtful Casey, a girl who has survived a nasty childhood and is determined to get out of this situation before it turns even more horrific.
Continue reading: Split Review
When Casey and two of her friends go to the mall they're abducted by an unsuspecting and nervous looking man. When they awake the three girls find themselves locked away in a room, each with a camping mattress for a bed. The room is bare and they have no idea what's going on and they all fear for their lives.
Though they're free to roam in their room and bathroom, there's no windows and the only part of the world they can see from inside is through a small gap in the door which leads onto another room. As they peer through the small hole, they see a pair of high heeled shoes and immediately see the legs of a woman. Knowing that they were abducted by a man, the girls call out for help and what they find frightens and perplexes them all.
The person who comes to the room isn't a woman, it's their kidnapper and in a soft voice he tells the girls not to worry as 'he's not allowed to touch you' and goes on to say that the kidnapper 'listens' to her.
Continue: Split Trailer
Carrie is the tale of a high school senior named Carrie White, aptly played by Sissy Spacek, who spends her days at school as the center of nearly every cruel ridicule and her hours at home with a constricting, sadistic, fanatically religious mother (Piper Laurie). Let's just say the mother is like a female version of Sergeant Hartman in Kubrick's Full Metal Jacket, and Carrie is the distressed Private Pyle.
Continue reading: Carrie (1976) Review
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