I saw Split this afternoon, and I think it’s the strangest movie I have seen in a very long time. I was expecting this movie to be a bit strange, since the main character (played by James McAvoy) had 24 different personalities and it is an M Night Shyamalan movie. But this movie out-stranged my expectations, and I’m not sure whether or not it was a good thing.

Split is a movie about a guy with 24 different personalities. He kidnaps three girls and the girls have to try to escape before one of his personalities kills them. James McAvoy is one of my favourite actors, and I was expecting quite a good performance from him in this movie because he is a consistently great actor. James McAvoy gave one of the best performances of his career in Split. He plays Kevin (a guy with 24 different personalities), and whilst we only see about 7 of his personalities in Split, each personality is very unique. James McAvoy brings a lot of depth to each of the personalities he portrays that it is believable that his character is suffering from multiple personality disorder. I think if another actor was cast in the main role, a few of the personalities portrayed may have not seemed so unique and would have blended into each other. I think McAvoy really shined in this movie as he didn’t just play one role, he played several roles (all of which were great). This movie could have been a pretty bad movie without James McAvoy’s excellent performance, as he steals the show in this movie and makes up for some of its shortcomings.

Anya Taylor-Joy was also very good in this movie. She played one of the three girls Kevin kidnapped (called Casey), and her role was the 2nd largest in the movie. Whilst I didn’t think much of the other two girls who had been kidnapped (they were not very well acted and were boring characters), I thought Casey was a very clever character who was likable and I was routing for towards the end of the movie. I was a little bit surprised with the subplot they chose for her character (involving her uncle), but I thought it served it’s purpose. I thought Anya Taylor-Joy played the role of Casey very well and I think she is a talent to be watching out for in the future.

Anya Taylor-Joy’s character reminded me of Mary Elizabeth Winstead’s performance in 10 Cloverfield Lane. Both performances were really good, and I think both characters are very similar. That wasn’t the only aspect of Split that reminded me of 10 Cloverfield Lane. Both movies take place in a very claustrophobic environment and involve the kidnapping of some brunette girl  by some mentally unhinged man (there were other little bits as well). Whilst I love 10 Cloverfield Lane, I thought it was a little bit strange. I didn’t expect Split to feel so similar to 10 Cloverfield Lane, but it did. I don’t think this was a problem for the movie, but I think it helped the movie either.

Whilst 10 Cloverfield Lane was full of lots of tension, Split struggled in that aspect. There was only a couple of real moment of tension throughout the movie, and that was a problem for this movie. To make this movie work, I think there should have been more tension throughout (two great performances can only carry a movie so far). Also I think the lack of tension could have been improved by better pacing. Also I thought the editing could have improved the tension in the scene. There were a lot of times in this movie where a scene would start getting to the meat of it and the tension was starting to build, but then it would cut away to a therapy session or a hunting scene with a younger Casey. It was a bit annoying, and made this movie a bit of a meh movie.

However , this wasn’t a bad movie for M Night Shyamalan. I haven’t seen a lot of his filmography (I’ve seen The Sixth Sense, The Visit, and Split) but  I know about the stinkers he has created before. Some of the writing and directing was a little bit messy but overall M Night Shyamalan did a competent job. This movie isn’t as good as The Visit but it isn’t a bad movie. I think there was stuff in this movie that didn’t need to be in the movie (or was so haphazard it would have been better staying out of the movie) and the film had a weird ending which made almost no sense to me. But Split had quite a few redeeming qualities to it. The main actors were really great in it, the story was interesting, and it was executed in a good way. However there were some weird choices in this movie that made me uncomfortable at times.

Overall I’d give this movie a 3 out of 5. It’s a bit of a weird movie overall but the performances by McAvoy and Taylor-Joy are really good.

Chelsea Baines covers Entertainment for MFST, you can follow her on Twitter @ChelseaBaines

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