It wasn’t too long ago that the name “M. Night Shyamalan” did little but elicit a derisive laugh or a roll of the eye. I recall seeing the theatrical trailer for the film Devil in a packed cinema and when the words “From writer-producer M. Night Shyamalan” came up, people in the audience made audible groaning noises. But he’s worked his way back out of the trenches to a degree with last year’s surprisingly pleasing The Visit and the very compelling TV series Wayward Pines. Now, Shyamalan is returning to weird-ass thrillers with his new film, Split. Watch above!
The film stars James McAvoy as a psychopath–good utilization of his Professor X bald head–who has 23 different personalities living in his body, including a kindly yet sinister matron, a 9-year-old boy named Hedwig, and a guy who kidnaps and murders young girls. The latter brings in a trio of teens, led by Anya Taylor-Joy, who established herself as a great actress with The Witch and is soon to be a weird-scary person herself in the upcoming Morgan.
In a lot of ways, the trailer makes the movie look like a traditional thriller, with McAvoy likely turning in some great/possibly over-the-top performances as the various personalities, but it has the Shyamalan twist of there possibly being an actual monster living inside of him and it changing his physical chemistry when it surfaces. So maybe he’s a schizophrenic werewolf? Maybe he’s like an alien being? Maybe it’s all in his head? We really can’t say for sure, but we’re intrigued regardless.
Let us know what you think of Split in the comments below. It’s being released January 20, which is usually a bad sign for a studio’s confidence in a project, but more and more, good movies that might just not have the draw of a blockbuster are being released early in the year, so it’s anyone’s guess.
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Image: Blumhouse Pictures