Plot twist! The biggest surprise is that M. (Manoj) Night Shyamalan finally gets his Hitchcockian groove back. Split (2016), Shyamalan’s deviously playful horror thriller, is completely bonkers and satisfies as a companion piece to his earlier, more successful works.
James McAvoy is both frightening and magnetic in his split personality role. He demonstrates his crazy-good acting skills as the devious kidnapper who imprisons three girls in an underground bunker. He tells them they are being kept as “sacred food.”
To make matters worse, he suffers from dissociative identity disorder (DID), meaning his victims (one being the resourcefully enigmatic Anya Taylor-Joy from The Witch (2015)) are never sure which of his 23 tortured souls will steal the limelight next.
A radical psychiatrist played by charismatic Betty Buckley (Abby from Eight is Enough) believes DID patients can access supernatural abilities.
It’s this convincing concept that grips the audience through every suspenseful turn. I was tickled by this film even though it transcends the boundaries of common sense and good taste.