I’ve always had problems with indecision. I can’t decide which restaurant to eat at, whether to run the yellow light or wait, or which fictional character to have a crush on. But at least I don’t have to make every decision with twenty-two other people.
Split tells the story of three girls and the man who kidnaps them–a man with 23 different personalities living in his head. Is it the work of a beautiful mind or does it need serious help? Well, let’s take a look at the trailer and find out.
So who stars in this movie? James McAvoy of the X-Men franchise plays Kevin Wendell and all his other personalities. Anya Taylor-Joy of The Witch, Haley Lu Richardson of The Edge of Seventeen, and Jessica Sula of Honeytrap play his victims Casey, Claire, and Marcia respectively.
The director is M. Night Shyamalan, who has made a name for himself with movies like The Sixth Sense and Signs … and a less desirable name with The Last Airbender and After Earth. Lately, though, his movies have been getting back to their smaller-budget, less grandiose roots, so hopefully this will be a return to form for Shyamalan.
The trailer begins with a dad and the three girls getting into a car in the parking lot. But Casey makes a horrible discovery: her dad is a litterbug! Oh, and also a stranger has gotten into their car to kidnap them. You’d think they could have escaped while he was putting on that mask or something. They’re taken to an underground bunker, where we keep seeing lots of wires and pipes and a hamster for some reason, and Kevin tells them he was sent to get them for a reason. Oh really? I just thought you kidnapped random people for kicks and giggles.
Kevin screws the door shut on the girls, while Casey notices flowers on the pillows and in the bathroom. “Like we’re important,” she says, revealing deep-seated insecurity and self esteem issues. “The only chance we have is if all three of us go crazy on this guy,” Claire says, which isn’t a bad plan, except he’s already gone crazy on them. They realize this fully when they call to a woman for help and realize it’s Kevin in drag. “He’s not allowed to touch you,” Female Kevin says. “He knows what you’re here for. He listens to me.” You’re sure he doesn’t just nod and say “mm-hm” at appropriate intervals, Female Kevin?
Casey runs into another of Kevin’s personalities, a nine-year old named Hedwig, and clearly the child of someone who grew up on Harry Potter. Kevin’s psychiatrist tells us she’s never seen a case like his before, with 23 different personalities in one body. She asks him who he is, and he answers with a random jump cut. Yeah, if he’s exhibiting jump cut powers, he may have something more serious than dissociative identity disorder.
“Help me get out of here, Hedwig,” Casey asks Kevin, only to have another personality pick her up and carry her away. In her defense, they do all look alike. “If you try to trick me, I’ll tell on you,” says Hedwig Kevin, which is odd when you realize he’ll be telling himself. Casey tries to escape through the vents, because if 10 Cloverfield Lane has taught me anything, it’s that when a crazy person traps you in a bunker, you escape through the vents.
We see Kevin’s body going through weird changes, and his psychiatrist tell us that he can change his body chemistry just by thinking it. I’ll be honest, the science of that sounds about as dubious as the time everything on Earth evolved specifically to kill humans (looking at you, After Earth and your killer okapi). “Someone’s coming for you,” says Hedwig Kevin, and we all hope it’s someone coming to rescue them. But no, a Kevin who looks like a priest says it’s The Beast, most likely the creature in black crayon from Hedwig Kevin’s drawings.
One of the Kevins finds Claire in a locker, Casey punches another of the Kevins, and she uses a walkie talkie to call for help. “There’s a man here, he abducted us, and he’s going to kill me,” she says. What do you want to bet it’s Count Olaf on the other end? “We’re meant for something horrible,” she adds as a Kevin walks her down the corridor as though they’re in some bizarre ritual, and Beast Kevin runs around like the monster he is, sprinting faster than normal and leaping around subway trains. Looks like he traded in his psychic powers for very different mutant abilities.
We see another picture of The Beast, one of the girls is dragged offscreen, and police bring out dogs to search for the girls. “The world will understand now,” says Kevin as we get a picture of a dead deer for no apparent reason. “The Beast is real.” And we’re not talking about the Disney version, which is a shame because those eyes … ahem. The girls push on a door trying to keep the Kevins out, Casey fires a gun, and then she slowly turns around to see … the film’s title, I guess. And the trailer ends with Hedwig Kevin saying, “He’s done awful things to people and he’ll do awful things to you.” Which is an awful thing to say, but I love how excited he is to say it.
So based on the trailer, do I recommend the movie? I guess so. Shyamalan’s work can be a bit of a hit or miss, but this does have the feel of some of his older work. McAvoy is a good actor, and the chance to see his range in this movie isn’t something to pass up lightly. Plus I’m always a sucker for characters with multiple personalities. If you’re into suspense, horror, or thrillers, this looks like a fairly solid choice.
Though maybe slightly less solid since it’s … split. *ducks to avoid rotten produce*
Split is owned by Universal Studios.