More To Say #36: Split

Split is a 2016 American psychological horror-thriller film written and directed by M. Night Shyamalan. The film, a supervillain origin story, stars James McAvoy, Anya Taylor-Joy, and Betty Buckley, and follows a man with 23 different personalities who kidnaps and imprisons three teenage girls in an isolated underground facility.

Principal photography began on November 11, 2015, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The film premiered at Fantastic Fest on September 26, 2016, and was released in the United States on January 20, 2017, by Universal Pictures. The film received generally positive reviews, with some critics labeling it a welcoming return for Shyamalan, although some criticized the film for its perceived stigmatization of mental illness. The film was also massive financial success, grossing $276 million worldwide on a budget of $9 million.

The film is a standalone sequel to the 2000 movie Unbreakable which was also written, produced and directed by M. Night Shaymalan. The film was not marketed as a sequel, and the connections with Unbreakable are not revealed until the final scene of the film, in which Bruce Willis reprises his role as David Dunn. A third film titled Glass with a 2019 release date has been confirmed, combining the casts of both previous films.

M. Night Shymalan has certainly made one hell of a comeback now hasn’t he. After starting off his career so strong with The Sixth Sense and Unbreakable and then faltering off with Signs, The Village, Lady In The Water, The Happening and The Last Airbender came back big time in 2015 with The Visit, a surprisingly effective thriller that featured a lot of good tension and thrills, some surprisingly funny moments, and a lot of what made M. Night Shymalan such a great filmmaker in the first place.

And a lot of that is in Split as well, it was really damn good. James McAvoy is fantastic in this creating all of these unique personalities and really stealing the movie on these various performances he has in this, not to say the rest of the cast isn’t great, Anya Taylor-Joy, the girl from The Witch and Morgan, is very good in this, Betty Buckley is really good playing the psychiatrist to McAvoy’s character, the rest of the cast is really good here.

I also love the way the movie is able to connect Unbreakable in the ending of the film setting up the long overdue Unbreakable sequel they’ve been talking about for a number of years and it makes me all the more curious to see what can be done with these two world colliding.

Overall, Split is a really great movie and a return to form for M. Night Shymalan and if Jason Blum, of all people, can be the one that bring Shymalan back to the spotlight and make him a credible filmmaker again, then we might be experiencing. M. Night’s best years as a filmmaker.

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