Multiple Personality Disorder is a strange and frightening phenomenon that has afflicted deeply troubled individuals for centuries. The Psychiatric profession has long researched this affliction and it often stems from a childhood filled with abuse and terror. Because it is fascinating and bizarre, film makers have used it as a theme in many movies. The most notable of which, in my mind, is Sybil, with Sally Field.
M. Knight Shyamalan has used this phenomenon as the inspiration for his latest Psychological Thriller, Split. Known for his use of the shock factor in his movies, he has used it very effectively in this movie, which seriously puts the PHYCO in Psychological and the THRILL in thriller. I wouldn’t really call it a horror movie, in the true sense of horror, although there is a slight element of the super natural, or rather super human, particularly towards the end.
I bit all two of my expensive acrylic nails off, during this movie! There just isn’t a moment that doesn’t have you on the brink of heart failure.
Kevin, the central character in the movie kidnaps three teenage friends in broad daylight and takes them to his “lair”, a labyrinth of tunnels and windowless rooms, located underground in a suburb of Philadelphia. Kevin, however, is not responsible for this act. It is the work of Dennis, one of Kevin’s 23 personalities. Whilst some of Kevin’s characters are harmless and childlike, Dennis is from the dark side of Kevin’s twisted brain. The girls are terrorised by a Hedwig, a warped 9 year old boy, Patricia and Dennis, and we are also introduced to Barry and finally the dreaded 24th personality, a supernatural psychotic killer who feeds off human flesh and has super human strength, stealth and agility.
Out of the three girls, Claire and Marcia are just normal pretty, sexy party girl types, but Casey is different. She’s aloof and distant, and it becomes apparent from flash backs that she is carrying around some pretty hefty baggage of her own, which has taught her survival skills that the other two do not possess.
Add to the mix, an elderly Psychiatrist (Played by Betty Buckley), who has been treating Kevin for years, and the movie becomes even more compelling.
James McAvoy gives a sterling performance in a difficult role, which he master’s with ease, and the girls, played by Anya Taylor Joy, Hailey Lu Richardson and Jessica Sula are all skilled young actresses.
Another Universal winner that will definitely blow the teen and young adult horror/thriller followers away.
The movie releases on Friday, 20 January at cinemas countrywide and is classified 13 V.