Poor Kevin Wendell Crumb (James McAvoy). His mother (Rosemary Howard) abused him when he was a child, and he developed split personalities to deal with it. Now, he’s got a thing for watching underage girls dance naked. Dennis, the sternest of Kevin’s personalities, has asserted control and drives him to kidnap three teenage girls (Anya Taylor-Joy, Jessica Sula, and Haley Lu Richardson) leaving a birthday party at a lame Chuck E. Cheese place. He locks them up in a dungeon in his underground industrial hideout. Kevin is undergoing psychiatric care, but his doctor (Betty Buckley from Eight is Enough) senses something horribly amiss when she receives email from each of his 23 personalities seeking an urgent appointment. Kevin’s personalities prepare the girls for the arrival of “the Beast,” the last and most powerful personality. Only one of them is poised to survive.
WARNING: Potential spoilers ahead!
M. Night Shyamalan’s Split is, in a word, stupid. The story has potential, but it suffers a major breakdown pretty quickly. It’s more silly than scary. I found myself tracking horror movie clichés like a checklist and asking how many more can fit into the plot. I saw the so-called twists coming before they turned the corner. The reference to another movie at the end is mildly amusing, I guess, but not what I’d call clever. The parallel to one kidnapped girl’s childhood, shown in flashbacks, warrants a great big ‘whatever.’ The only thing Split has going for it is McAvoy, who emulates Jude Law doing an impression of Eminem impersonating Justin Timberlake. His characters are fun, particularly severe schoolmarm type Patricia (for whom McAvoy wears heels) and little boy Hedwig. However, even they get tiresome, coming off as a mishmosh of standup routines after awhile, like sticking all of the characters from Little Britain into one body.
I could make a lame comment about replacing “pl” with “h” in the title and getting a far more accurate name for this film, but I’ll just say I wasn’t impressed and leave it at that.
With Izzie Coffey, Sebastian Arcelus, Brad William Henke, Neal Huff, Bruce Willis
Production: Blinding Edge Pictures and Blumhouse Productions
Distribution: Universal Pictures