MOVIE REVIEW: Split (2017)

There is much to rediscover with the return of director M. Night Shyamalan who has gained such attention with supernatural horror-thriller The Sixth Sense. Long before his latest film Split began its production, the anticipation is high enough to increase hype over the movie—how much more with the introduction of versatile actor James McAvoy as its lead star.

Split revolves around the story of a mentally-ill man with 23 personalities and his everyday life in between his creepy kidnapping of three teenager girls in a custom-built dungeon and his frequent visit to a psychologist, played by the ever-reliable Betty Buckley. On another hand, Anya Taylor-Joy as one of the victims tells much of a thinking role: useful and relatable.

The overall atmosphere of this psychological thriller adds up to the vibrant portrayal of McAvoy, who owns his character, one at a time, until it unleashes the 24th—something equally suprising and satisfying. While it could have been moreso interesting to see him literally play 24 characters (as how the film is marketed), minimal exposures of McAvoy’s dissimilar personas give proper highlight, individually, instead of moving into complex storytelling with all of them suited up for the story’s timeline.

Split showcases a terrifying James McAvoy in a role perfect for an M. Night Shyamalan comeback tale. The stylish visuals alone provide a classic atmosphere hinged on the director’s early works: the result as shocking as what audience could expect.

 

Comparable among its league under the same genre, Split exudes Shyamalan’s psyche—however torn it could be—and successfully transforms it into something terrifying thanks to McAvoy’s dependability. The outcome complements with the eerie sound design, determined editing and claustrauphobic . It would not be any surprise if this happens to be an origin story and a sequel is yet to come to explain all of it and provide answers to the film’s inescapable riddles.

 

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Hitmaker Jason Blum produces new suspense thriller ‘Split’

Following last year’s breakout hit The Visit, producer Jason Blum (The Purge and Insidious series) reunites with filmmaker M. Night Shyamalan for the critically acclaimed suspense thriller Split from Universal Pictures.

Starring James McAvoy and Anya Taylor-Joy (The Witch), Split is an original film that delves into the mysterious recesses of one man’s fractured, gifted mind.

In Split, though Kevin (McAvoy) has evidenced 23 personalities—each with unique physical attributes—to his trusted psychiatrist, Dr. Fletcher (Buckley), there remains one still submerged who is set to materialize and dominate all the others. Compelled to abduct three teenage girls led by the willful, observant Casey (Taylor-Joy), Kevin reaches a war for survival among all of those contained within him—as well as everyone around him—as the walls between his compartments shatter apart.

Blum, known for his industry innovation in helping to shepherd small-budget films into worldwide blockbusters, discusses the partnership with Shyamalan: “Night can tell these extraordinarily character-driven stories against a backdrop of a larger subject matter. Split isn’t a typical small-budget film; it’s a large vision on a limited budget. It is not CGI or hundreds of millions of dollars that makes Split feel so epic—it’s Night’s incredibly provocative story.”

Jason Blum is an Academy Award®-nominated and two-time Primetime Emmy Award- and Peabody Award-winning producer. His multi-media company, Blumhouse Productions, pioneered a new model of studio filmmaking: producing high-quality, micro-budget films.

Blumhouse, which is in the midst of a 10-year first-look deal with Universal Pictures, has produced the highly profitable The Purge, Insidious, Ouija and Paranormal Activity franchises, which have grossed more than $2 billion worldwide. Blumhouse’s model began with the original Paranormal Activity, which was made for $15,000 and was released by Paramount Pictures, grossing approximately $200 million worldwide, making it the most profitable film in the history of Hollywood.

Blum, who was nominated for an Academy Award® for producing Whiplash, was added to Vanity Fair’s “New Establishment List 2015” and received the Producer of the Year Award at 2016’s CinemaCon.

Now playing across the Philippines, Split is distributed by United International Pictures through Columbia Pictures.

‘Split’ brings M. Night Shyamalan back to fine form: critics

With a 78 percent Fresh rating at reviews-aggregator site Rotten Tomatoes, Universal Pictures’ new suspense thriller Split starring James McAvoy has undeniably marked the official comeback story of filmmaker M. Night Shyamalan.

As critic John DeFore writes in The Hollywood Reporter, “genre fans should embrace what is arguably the director’s most satisfying picture since The Sixth Sense. In some quarters, it will generate talk of a comeback for a filmmaker who has suffered both critical drubbing and box-office humiliation over the past decade.”

Peter Debruge agrees in his review in Variety. He shares, Spit is “A welcome return to form from Shyamalan whose unhinged new mind-bender is a worthy extension of his early work.

“Rest assured, there are plenty of proper twists to follow, none more unexpected than the fact that Shyamalan himself has managed to get his groove back after a slew of increasingly atrocious misfires,” Debruge continues. “To be fair, it’s hard to imagine any writer/director sustaining a career based almost entirely on surprising audiences. And though he lost us for a while there, by trading on ingenuity rather than big-budget special effects, Shyamalan has created a tense, frequently outrageous companion piece to one of his earliest and best movies.

“Ultimately, Split belongs to McAvoy, who has ample scenery to chew, but doesn’t stop there — he practically swallows the camera with his tiger-like teeth. With his head shaved, the actor conveys his transformations through body language, facial expression, and accent…While Shyamalan is basically making up rules for dissociative identity disorder as he goes along, the condition has afforded McAvoy the role of his career.”

Film reviewer Jordan Hoffman of The Guardian, assures, “It’s important to say that Split doesn’t hinge on a twist ending. It is a full and satisfying film that, if you stopped watching 18 seconds before the conclusion, would still suit as a juicy bit of smart horror.”

Finally, Haley Foutch of Collider, declares, “Ladies and gentlemen, M. Night Shyamalan has officially caught his second wind. Last year’s The Visit surprised audiences with a delightfully twisted spin and with Split, Shyamalan has reaffirmed his status as B-Movie extraordinaire.”

In Split, though Kevin (James McAvoy) has evidenced 23 personalities to his trusted psychiatrist, Dr. Fletcher (Betty Buckley), there remains one still submerged who is set to materialize and dominate all the others. Compelled to abduct three teenage girls led by the willful, observant Casey (Anya Taylor-Joy), Kevin reaches a war for survival among all of those contained within him—as well as everyone around him—as the walls between his compartments shatter apart.

Split reunites Shyamalan with producer Jason Blum, who produced the filmmaker’s latest commercial and critical success, The Visit.

Opening across the Philippines on January 18, 2017, Split is distributed by United International Pictures through Columbia Pictures.

James McAvoy amazes as man with multiple personalities in ‘Split’

Golden Globe Award-nominated actor James McAvoy won over global audiences with his critically acclaimed performances in Atonement, Wanted, X-Men: First Class and X-Men: Days of Future Past.

Now, he stars in Universal Pictures’ new suspense thriller Split, an original film that delves into the mysterious recesses of one man’s fractured, gifted mind.

McAvoy stars as Kevin who has evidenced 23 personalities—each with unique physical attributes—to his trusted psychiatrist, Dr. Fletcher (Betty Buckley), but there remains one still submerged who is set to materialize and dominate all the others. Compelled to abduct three teenage girls led by the willful, observant Casey (Taylor-Joy), Kevin reaches a war for survival among all of those contained within him—as well as everyone around him—as the walls between his compartments shatter apart.

Writer-director M. Night Shyamalan felt there were only a handful of actors who could play the demanding role of a man with 23 personalities in Split. It was paramount for Shyamalan that Kevin’s personalities not be viewed as caricatures but as fleshed out personas that audiences would embrace with sympathy.

Shyamalan saw McAvoy as absolutely up for the challenge. “This is the most complex character I’ve ever written. I was thinking, ‘Does he understand what I’m asking him to do in this piece?’ And he did; I’ve never worked with an actor so fearless.”

McAvoy was immediately intrigued with the story’s many twists and turns. “I read the first 10 pages and thought, ‘Wow, what is this?’ Then I read the next 10 pages and thought, ‘What is that?’” he says. “It felt like I was being continually confronted with something completely different. That’s the joy of what Night does so well. He keeps an audience on their toes trying to figure out what the film is: Are we watching a thriller, a psychological drama, horror, sci-fi or something supernatural? And this film is all of those genres.”

Shyamalan and McAvoy worked closely to ensure the actor’s performance remained incredibly singular as he transformed into each role with authenticity. “Night’s demanding and almost forensic in what he wants you to do,” McAvoy says. “He has a very specific idea of what he wants in his mind, yet he’s extremely collaborative and giving.”

Changing colors and characters—sometimes within the same shot—was particularly demanding. “You hope the audience will buy you as one character,” McAvoy explains. “Then you need them to buy you as this next persona and make that transition interesting without alienating viewers.”

Still, the role presented the seasoned stage and screen actor with an extraordinary opportunity. “To be honest, I quite enjoy playing each character, because as an actor you rarely get the chance at this type of performance,” he says. “It’s quite exciting to radically change what you’re thinking, who you are and what makes you in a moment.”

“When you think about what James had to do in this film, it’s astonishing,” raves producer Jason Blum. “Not only was he seemingly effortless as he switching between alters on certain shooting days, he switched between them during certain scenes. You’re seeing an actor at the top of his game, and we were all awe-struck by what he managed to do as an extraordinarily disciplined actor. I’ve never seen anything like it, and I hope his performance receives the critical acclaim it deserves at the hands of Night’s deft direction.”

Opening across the Philippines on January 18, 2017, Split is distributed by United International Pictures through Columbia Pictures.

‘Split,’ hailed as M. Night Shyamalan’s most terrifying film

Writer/director/producer M. Night Shyamalan returns to the captivating grip of The Sixth Sense, Unbreakable and Signs with Universal Pictures’ Split, an original film that delves into the mysterious recesses of one man’s fractured, gifted mind.

For the film The Guardian calls “a masterful blend of Hitchcock and horror,” Shyamalan’s has assembled a strong cast led by James McAvoy (X-Men: First Class, X-Men: Days of Future of Past), Anya Taylor-Joy (The Witch), Betty Buckley (The Happening), Haley Lu Richardson (The Edge of Seventeen) and Jessica Sula (Recovery Road).

In Split, though Kevin (McAvoy) has evidenced 23 personalities—each with unique physical attributes—to his trusted psychiatrist, Dr. Fletcher (Buckley), there remains one still submerged who is set to materialize and dominate all the others. Compelled to abduct three teenage girls led by the willful, observant Casey (Taylor-Joy), Kevin reaches a war for survival among all of those contained within him—as well as everyone around him—as the walls between his compartments shatter apart.

Moviegoers were first introduced to the mysterious and intricate universe of M. Night Shyamalan in 1999 with the worldwide phenomenon The Sixth Sense, which was followed by such blockbusters as Unbreakable and Signs.
The filmmaker began a new chapter in 2015 with his terrifying The Visit, which grossed almost $100 million worldwide. Following the same model as that movie’s production—and to allow for complete creative freedom—Shyamalan made the decision to return to his independent roots by self-financing Split.

“I want to make something new with every single film by doing something that nobody’s ever done,” Shyamalan says. “That’s exciting for me, and it’s also dangerous and problematic, especially when selling it to the world.”

With a more intimate setup, Shyamalan was able to primarily focus his energies on the story and character development by eliminating some of the noise and variables that come with a larger film. “It’s easy to knock me out of my comfort zone, which is a reason why I make smaller movies,” Shyamalan says. “That way I can turn down certain factors so I can hear that creative voice telling me if something we’re doing is off track.”

Shyamalan’s filmmaking style also goes beyond a single genre. “Each film is uniquely his own,” says executive producer Steven Schneider. “He weaves together folktales, legends and other narratives, and blends them with his background and experience. All of his films cover complex themes and characters, and I was amazed by the depth of Split.”

Schneider believes audiences will not only be entertained by Split, but they will be challenged by it. “My hopes are as ambitious as Night’s that the film’s strength in storytelling will spark debate about the complexities of human identity,” he says.

Split is distributed by United International Pictures through Columbia Pictures.

WATCH: James McAvoy is a disturbed man with ‘Split’ personalities in new trailer

Universal Pictures has just revealed the main trailer for its creepy, pyschological thriller Split – the latest film from writer/director M. Night Shyamalan (The Visit).

Check out the new trailer below and watch the film when it opens in Philippines cinemas on January 18, 2017.

Split stars James McAvoy (X-Men: First Class, X-Men: Days of Future of Past) as Kevin, a man who abducts three teenage girls who suddenly realize that Kevin is one of 23 personalities.

split movie

While the mental divisions of those with dissociative identity disorder have long fascinated and eluded science, it is believed that some can also manifest unique physical attributes for each personality, a cognitive and physiological prism within a single being.

Though Kevin (McAvoy) has evidenced 23 personalities to his trusted psychiatrist, Dr. Fletcher (Betty Buckley), there remains one still submerged who is set to materialize and dominate all the others. Compelled to abduct three teenage girls led by the willful, observant Casey (Anya Taylor-Joy), Kevin reaches a war for survival among all of those contained within him—as well as everyone around him—as the walls between his compartments shatter apart.

Split reunites Shyamalan with producer Jason Blum, who produced the filmmaker’s latest commercial and critical success, The Visit.

Split is distributed by United International Pictures through Columbia Pictures.

James McAvoy behind shattered glass in new poster of ‘Split’

“Kevin has 23 distinct personalities. The 24th is about to be unleashed.”

A new one-sheet art for Universal Pictures’ pyschological thriller “Split” – the latest film from writer/director M. Night Shyamalan – has just been unveiled. The poster shows cracks in the extreme close-up image of James McAvoy’s character suffering from split personality disorder.

Check out the poster below and watch the film when it opens across the Philippines on January 17, 2017.

The film stars James McAvoy (“X-Men: First Class,” “X-Men: Days of Future of Past”) as Kevin, a man who abducts three teenage girls who suddenly realize that Kevin is one of 23 personalities.

Synopsis: While the mental divisions of those with dissociative identity disorder have long fascinated and eluded science, it is believed that some can also manifest unique physical attributes for each personality, a cognitive and physiological prism within a single being.

Though Kevin (McAvoy) has evidenced 23 personalities to his trusted psychiatrist, Dr. Fletcher (Betty Buckley), there remains one still submerged who is set to materialize and dominate all the others. Compelled to abduct three teenage girls led by the willful, observant Casey (Anya Taylor-Joy), Kevin reaches a war for survival among all of those contained within him—as well as everyone around him—as the walls between his compartments shatter apart.

“Split” reunites Shyamalan with producer Jason Blum, who produced the filmmaker’s latest commercial and critical success, “The Visit.”

“Split” is distributed by United International Pictures through Columbia Pictures.