‘Split’ : A Return To Form For Shyamalan’s Storytelling Acumen

7.8 Overall Score
Characters: 7/10
Storyline : 8/10

With psychological movies, you have to find a way to get the audience engaged in a way that they are fully immersed in the story. In the era of short attention spans, a gripping story is key to encapsulate the audience. Split sees a enjoyable return to the story line psyche of M. Night Shyamalan. This movie is a balance of creeping malevolence and a challenge to a belief system of conventional thought of disability. In movies like 2000’s Unbreakable and 2002’s Signs, Shyamalan laid a foundation within a fictional story that really had you question if the themes of the plot were really feasible.

James McAvoy‘s performance as Kevin Wendell Crumb is the main key of the movie. Crumb’s battle with dissociative identity disorder sets the main foundation of the story, but there’s a little more to it than that. The promotion leading up to the movie did a good job in misdirecting the viewer into thinking that this would be a bare bones, horror film. It’s the psyche that the movie exhibits that takes the plot deeper. Crumb’s abduction of three girls, Casey (Anya Taylor-Joy), Claire (Haley Lu Richardson), and Marcia (Jessica Sula) definitely has it’s insidious nature to it, but it adds a platform for McAvoy moving effortlessly through Crumb’s personalities. Each of “The Horde” has their own tinge of personal touch that distinguishes them from the other.

There’s something that Shyamalan does in each of his movies. It’s to incorporate flashbacks to further explain or intertwine with the main narrative. The way that these play out with Casey’s character helps explain the conclusion of the story. If you really look hard enough, it may show that there’s more than meets the eye with the kidnapped girls as well. Additionally, Dr. Karen Fletcher (Betty Buckley) is a totem for how we question disabilities. Could it really be that who we consider to be broken might actually be the best of us? Perhaps, we should think of super heroes in a different way.

Some enjoyable nuances are in play as well. The main score and distortions once you really listen to it almost gives you an “A HA” moment once you realize the ending. No, I won’t ruin it here, but we all anticipate the “Shyamalan twist,” but this one was very different and welcomed. At the conclusion of seeing 2008’s The Happening, I felt that Shyamalan needed to get back to being a story teller that made us think about the unconventional in a manner that made us feel empathetic. Split has it’s moments of horror, Hitchcock-like thrills, and psychological plays that linger well beyond walking out of the movie theater.

Main Photo Credit: Universal Pictures.


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Author: Murjani Rawls View all posts by
Journalist, Self-published author of five books, podcast host, and photographer since 2014, Murjani Rawls has been stretching the capabilities of his creativity and passions, Rawls has as a portfolio spanning through many mediums including music, television, movies, and more. Operating out of the New York area, Rawls has photographed over 200+ artists spanning many genres, written over 700 articles ranging displaying his passionate aspirations to keep evolving as his years in media continue.

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