Split on "Split"

Courtesy of Universal Pictures

Have you wondered if having a split personality is a gateway to the supernatural? In the movie “Split,” director M. Night Shyamalan takes us back to the movie universe of one of his prior films, “Unbreakable,” which starred Bruce Willis and Samuel L. Jackson, to show us how sometimes even the most impossible things can be possible. The movie is based around three girls, Claire (Haley Lu Richardson) Marcia (Jessica Sula), and the outsider Casey (Anya Taylor-Joy), as they struggle to escape from the clutches of Dennis, Patricia, and Hedwig who are three of Kevin Wendell Crumbs 23 personalities (all played by James McAvoy). Trailers marketed the film as horrific and thrilling.

After viewing the film, I was left wondering if I was just watching a long trailer. One purpose of the movie was to create the backstory for “The Beast,” the villain for Shyamalan’s next movie, “Unbreakable 2.” One might be able to enjoy the movie without knowing anything about the first “Unbreakable” movie, but the real issue for me was that “Split” was marketed as an intense, horror/thriller genre movie that was going to keep you on the edge of your seat until it was over.

Now this movie did have suspense that leads to an anticlimactic yet somewhat thought-provoking ending. Being able to make an almost two hour film completely focus on backstory while still keeping it interesting is noteworthy, but since the promos showed us the hulking form of ”The Beast” chasing our three heroines to a grisly demise, some viewers might be disappointed to find out the horror element was not present for even 50 percent of the film. If you want a movie of action, horror, and the occasional gory deaths, then this movie is not what you are looking for. If you want nothing but suspense right up to a climactic end, then this is not the film for you, but if you enjoyed the first “Unbreakable” and want to get a glimpse at David Dunn’s (Bruce Willis) next big baddy that he will have to face in Shyamalan’s next film, than this is for you.

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