The Movie: Split (The Visit, Unbreakable)
The Director: M. Night Shyamalan
The Cast: James McAvoy, Anya Taylor-Joy, Haley Lu Richardson, Jessica Sula, Sebastian Arcelus, Brad William Henke, and Betty Buckley.
The Story: "Three girls are kidnapped by a man with a diagnosed 23 distinct personalities, and must try and escape before the apparent emergence of a frightful new 24th." - IMDB.com
M. Night Shyamalan has had a very interesting career filled with some big time successes and some major duds and you never quite know what you're going to get when he releases a film. I always hope for the best because, when he's on, his movies are very, very good and are some of the most original genre fare you will find. Split should go down as one of his better efforts and is really going to freak some people out. The mood of the film is very dark and very creepy and Shyamalan slowly builds the tension to a huge crescendo which features one of his patented twists at the very end.
At the very center of all the creepiness and tension is James McAvoy who plays the antagonist, a man who has 23 (maybe 24?) distinct personalities, including a few who are working together on a very evil plan. McAvoy, who is best known for playing Professor X in the X-Men movies, is pretty amazing as he weaves in and out of each personality making each one completely distinct from the others while, at the same time, maintaining a singular core and focus to who the character is. It's rare that we get to see this kind of work and he handles every moment of it brilliantly while creating a truly frightening experience.
At face value, this movie looks like it could be a pretty basic kidnapping thriller with sub par plot lines and wooden characters galore but you will soon discover that this is not that movie. Split is full of twists, turns, scares, and tension, all of which is wrapped around some pretty heavy subject matter and that ending I mentioned earlier just takes it all to another level.