A “Split” second: New horror movie goes from best to blah


Kat Shambaugh

Junior Jordan Hicks reflects the split personality of the main character in M. Night Shyamalan’s Split.

Denise Thomas, Reporter

Beware: Spoilers Ahead

The breakout horror movie Split, directed by the legendary twist-ending M. Night Shyamalan, hit theaters on January 20, 2017. The movie centers around a man who suffers with dissociative identity disorder that leads him to kidnap three girls.

The movie takes this disorder to a whole other level, and makes people with the disorder appear as supernatural with that ability to completely change the chemistry of the body with their mind.

One person containing multiple personalities serves as the center of this fascinating plot: the internal struggle of the main character, Kevin Wendell Crumb (James McAvoy), a victim of the disorder constantly battling against his powerful and corrupt personalities. The backstory of Kevin as a young child being abused by his mother, which then caused his multiple personalities to emerge to deal with the trauma, brought a relatable connection to the movie. It accurately portrayed the fact that many people with mental illnesses formed them as a result of horrible actions forced upon them. Furthermore, McAvoy’s acting shone and his ability to switch from one personality to the next while holding conversations between his identities classified him as an actor with immense skill.

However, the female actresses did not broadcast to the audience the true sense of confusement and horror that any person would feel when dealing with such a catastrophic event. While they did cry and appear scared, the emotional attachment to the audience never surfaced.

Betty Buckley, acting as the therapist Dr. Karen Fletcher, did a miraculous job portraying the inquisition and compassion required of therapists for patients with mental disorders. The film positively showed the close and trusting relationship many patients have with their therapists.

My main complaint of the movie pertains to the last portion of the movie. The transformation of Kevin from simply a person deterred by a disease to a “beast” as the movie refers to makes the assumption of a sense of evil power that people with dissociative identity disorder contain. This, of course, reflects no sense of truth; people with the disorder must deal with a mental illness they cannot control but they do not represent monsters.

The movie switches over from focusing on a man to focusing on a beast that wants to eat “impure young,” but the movie fails to explain in depth why he needs to eat people and the deeper meaning behind the consumption. The end of the movie did not leave the audience with any sense of closure, contentment, or any real emotion at all aside from confusion and further questions.

The movie could easily have ended on a better note, with an ending that pertained to people with mental disorders, as the audience was hoping for, rather than a supernatural creature.

The Chant’s grade: B-