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Written by: David Patrick

split movie poster

The latest M. Night Shyamalan movie Split builds on the quality writing—and success—of his previous film The Visit. After a decade long dry spell, M. Night Shyamalan reinvented himself with more compelling narratives and plot twists comparable to his earlier work.

(In fact, audiences agree that Split is the spiritual successor to Unbreakable but more on that later) If you have not yet seen this new psychological thriller, then go see it now.

Check out my reasons below.

1. James McAvoy delivers an eery performance

I admittedly have only seen McAvoy in a couple of X-Men movies. (Not a huge Marvel fan—sorry!) Ask my wife about all his low budget Indy flicks and she’ll write a dissertation for you. But concerning his mainstream status, McAvoy has officially earned both my respect and proverbial vote for Best Actor at the Oscars. Twenty-three identities—how do you prepare yourself for essentially twenty-three different roles? Okay, so he only portrays about four or five characters through the bulk of the film with a dozen or so quickly splashed in between all of them. But still—how do you prepare for an assembly of roles and furthermore carry the whole film on your shoulders—and actually deliver? He nailed it.

No two snowflakes are alike, and McAvoy distinguished himself in each role, sometimes even switching characters in the same scene without a single camera cut. All the little behavioral changes—shifts in posture, raising his eyebrows a certain way, altering the pitch or tone in his voice—displayed such a uniqueness that I have not before seen in a performance with another actor.

james mcavoy in split

2. It is a Spiritual Successor—Even a Sequel—to Unbreakable

unbreakable movie poster

Have you seen Unbreakable yet? If you want to enjoy all the intricacies of Split and understand its full context, then go watch Unbreakable first.

Otherwise, you will still love Split but not fully grasp the depth of its message.

Also, the two films work as yin and yang. Unbreakable provides the emotional appeal and Split provides the psychological substance.

3. The Controversial Praise for DID (Dissociative Identity Disorder)

The medical community remains divided on its assessment of DID. We commonly demonize DID and consider people with multiple personalities a threat to society in some respects. However, part of the plot twist—do not worry, this is not a spoiler—within the narrative establishes not only a fascination with DID but praise for those who do not suffer from DID but instead are gifted with DID. The psychiatrist Dr. Fletcher reinforces this position on DID and how we should study these people to better understand the potential future of human evolution. And guess what. If you think that M. Night Shyamalan fictionalized DID with his choice of twenty three personalities, then check out this video on the woman with twenty personalities.

4. A Respectful Satire on Religious Zeal

M. Night Shyamalan, an Indian born Hindu, always incorporates religious themes into his films to convey an inherently religious message. He puts together a fine balance of religion and plot without riding his high horse or preaching jeremiads from his soapbox.

He takes a different angle with Split.

Rather than conveying a strong religious message, touching upon the common themes of forgiveness or perseverance of faith, he instead subliminally warns us of religious zeal.

Mind you, not religion but religious zeal, more precisely apocalyptic religious zeal. The kind of cultic thinking behind mass deaths, such as the Jim Jones tragedy.

The man who in one sense defends religion and religious concepts also warns us of the darker side of the alternative—a blind zeal that can lead one to self harm or harm to others. This is found in his personality known as The Beast. (How appropriately named with hints to the Book of Revelation)

James mcavoy in split

So go see Split and tell me what you think!


Read about a young man who hunts down bloodthirsty night creatures in the first installment to the Legend of the Vampires epic fantasy series.

A Storm Gathers

The Vampires regroup in their subterranean halls. A grieving Queen obsesses over her love for an exiled werewolf. An ancient cult worships a crystal artifact to summon a mystical storm. A royal advisor seeks the help of a wizard once revered as a god. And just one young vampire slayer named Nero prepares to shield the city from the forces of darkness. Then something rips the sky in half...

"You will learn to love me again." Then she kissed the beast.