The latest movie from the writer and director behind The Sixth Sense – M. Night Shyamalan – indicates that his return to form continues beyond The Visit and Wayward Pines, as Split prepares to wreak a terrifying – and controversial – multiple personality tale upon cinema audiences.
James McAvoy stars as Kevin, a man who holds some 23 distinct personalities within him. One of them (or, at least one, who knows) has succeeded in kidnapping three young women for whatever reason and it's up to them to escape before it's too late.
McAvoy comes in from the Chronicles Of Narnia and X-Men franchises, as well as award-winning performances in The Last King Of Scotland, Filth and Atonement.
Co-starring opposite is Anya Taylor-Joy as Casey, having broken through in 2016 with appearances in another supernatural thriller The Witch, sci-fi horror Morgan and presidential biopic Barry.
Haley Lu Richardson (The Edge Of Seventeen) and Jessica Sula (Recovery Road, Skins) also feature as Casey's kidnapped friends. Tony award winner Betty Buckley is on hand as Kevin's psychiatrist, Dr Fletcher.
M. Night Shyamalan was a revelation when he wrote and directed 1999 hit The Sixth Sense. Subsequent films were received less and less well (despite usually making good box office) but 2015's The Visit and TV series Wayward Pines proved to be a turning point, with a smaller cast and claustrophobic location working to his strengths.
Here he directs and, as he has done with all his feature films since 2000's Unbreakable, writes and produces as well, but the way that Split stigmatises mental health disorders has come in for criticism from advocacy groups.
Preview screenings at Fantastic Fest and the AFI Fest towards the tail end of 2016 have contributed to a career high aggregated Metacritic review score of 71/100 and a Sixth Sense-era Rotten Tomatoes approval rating of 82%.
A touch over 900 user reviews on IMDb have resulted in a 7.5/10 weighted average a week ahead of international release. – AFP Relaxnews