Split was released in 2017 and was written and directed by M. Night Shymalalan. It stars James McAvoy, Anya Taylor-Joy, Betty Buckley, Hayley Lu Richardson, and Jessica Sula. The plot revolves around a man with 23 different personalities kidnapping 3 teenage girls to feed the mysterious 24th personality known as The Beast.
Fun fact, the character of Kevin Crumb was originally going to appear in Unbreakable. He was gonna take the place of the man who takes over the family’s house at the end. Throughout the film we would have cut back to Kevin and his various personalities tormenting the family. This subplot was ultimately dropped to improve the pacing and keep the focus on David and Elijah.
It’s a good thing Shyamalan decided that Kevin Crumb AKA The Horde deserved his own standalone narrative. This film is a really excellent horror movie, a lot of people say Split is Shyamalan’s big come back and I completely agree. The premise alone of a man with so many personalities adds such a great layer of tension because while some personalities may be harmless you’re never sure when he’ll switch and turn on the victims. This tension wouldn’t work however if it weren’t for how great of a performance James McAvoy gives. He has so much to do and pulls it off so well, each personality is distinct and recognizable, even when personalities are pretending to be different ones. Anya Taylor-Joy’s performance isn’t talked about as much but it should be, her character has so much melancholy under the surface and she conveys that perfectly. For a movie who’s budget was only 9 million it makes excellent use of its budget. This movie feels like it was made for 20 million thanks to M. Night Shyamalan’s great direction.
This movie allowed Shyamalan to prove that he is still a talented writer/director. An excellent premise is brought so brilliantly to life by an extremely talented cast. A great middle to an underrated superhero trilogy.