M. Night Shyamalan’s newest hyped blockbuster, Split hit theaters on Jan. 20 and has already stirred plenty of mixed reactions from viewers.
While this unnerving plot has many twists and turns, the most basic premise of the movie follows three unfortunate teenage girls who get kidnapped by a man living with Dissociative Identity Disorder. This means he is living with two or more personalities, where in his case he has been diagnosed with 23 distinct personalities.
What makes this movie so intriguing is the multi-layered plot format that unfolds between multiple different characters, not just the 23 personalities living inside the main antagonist’s mind.
Viewers follow the story of one of the kidnapped teenagers, Casey, on an emotional flashback journey to why she is such a troubled and traumatized teen, as well as sub-plots involving the antagonist’s doctor and the emergence of a terrifying and new 24th personality within the antagonist.
James McAvoy, the star actor of Split, performed marvelously in creating believable, distinct and attention grabbing personalities for all of the individual personalities he had to portray.
The most memorable of personalities, an equally innocent and hilarious little 9-year-old boy named Hedwig, will instantly melt your heart and almost cause you to completely forget that you are watching a movie about a man who kidnapped a few teenage girls.
This movie causes so many emotional twists and turns that one minute you will feel sympathetic towards the antagonist, and seconds later you’ll want to tear into him with all your might due to blinding rage.
Just be careful not to actually rip the movie screen if you decide to pursue this action!
There has been a trend in recent horror and thriller movie genres to explore different types of disabilities, such as deaf culture in Hush, blind culture in Don’t Breathe, Alzheimer’s disease in The Taking of Deborah Logan, Dissociative Identity Disorder in Split and many more.
Not everyone has been happy with this recent trend and are criticizing creators of these movies on the portrayal of their disabled characters.
Some say that it is refreshing seeing mental illness being explored in a horror and thriller flick, while others argue that it depicts people diagnosed with these illnesses in a negative light, such as Shyamalan’s antagonist.
Many argue argue that these are just simple works of fiction. They are not meant to be picking on, or degrading people with disabilities, but are just using these disabilities to formulate an interesting fictionalized story.
No matter what side of the argument you decide to be on, Split is definitely still a worthwhile see, racking up a score of 75 percent on Rotten Tomatoes, and will keep you on the edge of your seat trying to figure out the depth and predicaments these characters find themselves knee deep in.
So grab a friend, check your local theater’s movie listings, and enjoy the thrilling ride that is Split.
Arts and Entertainment Editor