Guess what? I liked The Visit. It creeped me out a bit, had some humor, but overall was a good balance and a decent story. It had a twist, but didn’t really make or break the movie on the twist, so it didn’t get hated for it either.
And that is what M. Night needed to do. He needed to take the twists focus away from his film, because they lived and died by how good the twist became. He can still do twists, but he had to make sure he had a great film regardless of twist.
I was looking forward to see Split. I didn’t see any trailer, any synopsis, just a director and the main actor in a poster. I was excited because I wanted to believe.
I was excited to see M. Night finally kick some ass again.
I was basically as giddy as a school girl, like this little boy here!
Casey Cooke (Anya Taylor-Joy) is your regular, average, teenage girl. Well, except she has black hair, so that makes her moody. She goes to detention a lot, has unreliable parenting, has run away before and is a person who likes to keep to herself. But she was invited to a classmate’s party, because it would be weird to invite everyone BUT her. After everyone else had left, Casey’s ride isn’t there, so she gets a ride home with the birthday girl, (Haley Lu Richardson), her other friend (Jessica Sula), and the dad.
But the dad doesn’t get in the driver’s seat. Next thing the girls know, they wake up in a locked room underground, and this creepy guy, Dennis (James McAvoy) is talking strangely and threatening them. There is talk about…a beast?
Long story short, turns out that Dennis is more than Dennis. He is Patricia. He is Hedwig. He has 23 different personalities. He has been mostly non threatening, sees a shrink (Betty Buckley) and everything, but it looks like some of his personalities have taken over and have other plans. The girls are going to have to work with their kidnapper if they hope to escape their kidnapper.
Also featuring some flashbacks with young Casey (Izzie Coffey) and her dad (Sebastian Arcelus) and uncle (Brad William Henke) out hunting.
Dennis is super cereal all the time, and also enjoys young girls dancing for him. Your average joe.
I ended up really enjoying Split. Like, like liking Split. It just shocked the hell out of me.
First of all, it is a very strange movie. I am not going to say that it is accurate scientifically or anything, but based on the universe M. Night created, it totally fits and is plausible. But it is still very weird, while keeping the aura of mystery and thrills, all wrapped up in a psychotic bow.
A lot of cool things happen along the way thanks to the story, but in all honesty it is just McAvoy and Taylor-Joy carrying it. The other two girls are forgettable characters because they are to the side. The psychiatrist is interesting, but not the best. The flashbacks serve a purpose, but don’t end too shockingly. But McAvoy playing the many different roles pulls it off flawlessly. He saw what Tom Hardy did in Legend and thought he would try and 22 up it.
I have now seen Taylor-Joy in only two films, The Witch being the other one, and it amazes me how well she plays a struggling but capable female victim lead. Her roles have not been screaming girl who somehow survives, they have depth to them, fears, and presence.
Split delivered something I hope to see in every movie I watch. It gave me something unique. It gave me a film full of its own mythos. It gave me performances I want to see again and again. And it gave me hope. Not hope for mankind or anything. But just hope in films, because when the credits rolled, I found myself even giddier than when I originally walked to my seat.
4 out of 4.