Divided Opinions On ‘Split’



Three teenage girls are kidnapped and locked away in a basement, and things only get worse when they realize their captor, Kevin (James McAvoy), has 23 different personalities. The girls have to figure out a way to escape while avoiding the 24th personality — which Kevin has dubbed The Beast — that is set to be released. We have mixed feelings on this one. While some of us think it seems like a tense thriller, others can’t get past the seemingly sloppy way that mental illness is presented. Split opens in wide release Jan. 20.

PAIGE: I thought multiple-personality movies went out of vogue back when Sybil came out, like, 40 years ago. So that already plants a seed of doubt (seriously? We need to wear different outfits to “mark” when a new personality comes out? Is that how mental illness conveniently works?), and then the trailer (a little too proudly) busts out that this is a M. Night Shyamalan film, so then an entire forest of doubts sprouts up. So what’s going to be the twist? That there is no Beast, or that Hedwig (his 9-year-old personality) is the Beast? Or that his real mom is the Beast?

CHRISTINA: It’s an M. Night Shyamalan movie, so assuming that there is a twist probably is a safe bet. I actually think this looks pretty good; I want to see it. Although it does seem like they are basically just making up rules about how multiple personality disorders work. Granted, I don’t know much about the condition, but 23 personalities? Really? But it looks pretty tense and there seems to be an underlying mystery, so it definitely piqued my interest. I have not seen Shyamalan’s biggest flops (and I happen to be in the minority of people who enjoyed The Village), but I think he seems to be making a comeback. The Visit, which came out last year, was received pretty favorably.

PAIGE: Once you watch The Last Airbender, there’s no going back.

NICOLE: I think multiple personalities can range all the way up to the dozens. I like storylines that revolve around split personalities, or dissociative identity disorder. I hope the movie dives into why this disorder manifests in him. It must have been some messed up stuff.

JAIMIE: As someone who thoroughly enjoyed Sybil and sitting through psychology class, I am interested in watching this film. Mostly, I just want to know how it ends — like, really, where is this film even going?

PAIGE: The trailer makes it a little too obvious that we’re down to one heroine by the time the endgame kicks in, so, all in all, this looks exactly like the kind of movie you release in January.

CHRISTINA: There does seem to be something a little suspicious about the final girl, though. I wonder if she has something to do with the twist.

JAIMIE: It’s so obvious that there’s only one girl who makes it through the end of the movie. Unless, of course, part of the twist is that the two girls also make it out alive — or maybe no one will make it out alive. But still.

NICOLE: I’m sad it’s James McAvoy who is portraying this character. This is not how I want to see him, and it’s even worse that he seems to fit the character really well.

PAIGE: Obviously this is a … “showcase” film for James McAvoy, which is too bad because I love him and this movie just looks like it’s crazy, more than a real demonstration of his ranged acting skills. He must be hoping there’s a prestige film hidden in these tawdry depths, but I just don’t know.