Not so long ago, I found myself writing an article about M. Night Shyamalan, discussing his filmography, and whether or not some of them had been overlooked, or unfairly judged. While I know a lot of people still consider his name to be a joke, I personally think there’s always been something there, although The Happening and The Last Airbender are very difficult to defend.

Not long before that, I wrote another article about prolific horror producer Jason Blum, which discussed his film making model, and how he was basically able to get a monopoly on the horror genre. It seems a natural fit that Shyamalan, a man who doesn’t strictly speaking make horror films, but definitely makes films with creepy and tense vibes, and Jason Blum, a man who’s mastered the low budget to high success ratio should work together. This is actually their second collaboration after 2015’s The Visit, and if this is anything to go by, it’s a partnership I’m getting very excited about.

Split Review

After attending a birthday party, three girls are kidnapped, and quickly find that their captor has multiple personalities. Whilst trying find a way to escape, the various personalities come and speak to them, and while some are friendly, and even helpful, others are not, and hint at what horrible things might be coming their way.

The first thing I have to talk about is James McAvoy. This is not only one good performance, this is five or six fully rounded characters that McAvoy has brought to life. Yes, while we’re told he has 23 personalities, we only spend any real time with a few of them, but they each have distinct vocal and physical attributes.

Split Review

You always know exactly which character you’re looking at, and I have to give him plaudits for what will probably be my favourite performance of 2017, although there is some way to go. To put it simply, this is some of the best character work I’ve ever seen an actor do.

Almost as good as McAvoy’s performance is the script and direction by Shyamalan. This is clearly one man’s vision, and he clearly knew exactly how he wanted this film to turn out. Split is not only tense, with information, character development, and plot details all being delivered at the perfect pace, but this film is funny too. I saw this is a crowded cinema, and there were both moments of dead silence, and raucous laughter, and all at the intended moments.

Split Review

The rest of the cast all deliver as well, particularly Anya Taylor-Joy, who, from the moment the film starts lets you know there’s more going on with her character than with your traditional teenage horror lead. Again, I have to praise Shyamalan’s work here, as he’s gotten a lot out of these actors, something he’s been criticised for in the past.

People wanting a horror film with jump scares and graphic violence will be disappointed, but people wanting a tense thriller, with rounded characters, a well thought out story, and something to think about afterwards should see Split as soon as possible.