Split (2017)

M Night Shyamalan’s Split is a remarkable film. A psychological horror – thriller, darkly comic at times and frighteningly intense at others. 

The story of three girls taken captive by a man with multiple personalities, this could have been a torture porn or exploitation film in other hands, but M Night Shymalan raises the tone and crafts something special. Layering flashbacks, subplots and different characters perfectly, Split never loses track of its multiple strands, each one getting it’s time in the light. 

The unsettling opening scene sets the tone for what follows, as we see Dennis, Kevin’s bespectacled, intense personality, systemically take town three girls, whilst remaining so stoic and calm. It’s a frightening statement of intent from a writer director at the top of his game. 

Anya Taylor-Joy, star of 2016’s horror masterpiece The Witch, plays Casey, a withdrawn, damaged girl, who’s deeply upsetting backstory is revealed slowly throughout the film. One of the three girls taken by Kevin, Casey is held prisoner along with Jessica Sula as Marcia and Hayley Lu as Claire, in an unknown location. Taylor-Joy is carving out a career as a modern day horror icon, next appearing in 2018’s X Men horror film The New Mutants as Magik. 



James McAvoy, also formerly an X Man, gives the performances of his career so far here. He plays a man with 23 different identities, each one that were shown is completely distinct. I feel if this wasn’t a horror/thriller, we would be looking at an Oscar nomination for him. From Barry the fashion designer, Hedwig the dopey 9 yer old to Patricia, a stern British woman, McAvoy is unbelievable. Every single personality inside Kevin is fully realised and an individual character in it’s own right. McAvoy really gives a virtuoso performance here, showcasing his talents and proving himself as a top tier talent. What’s more, nothing ever comes across as silly. Even when he’s dressed as a woman, McAvoy commands your attention with his intensity, never appearing anything less than a fully developed character. It’s a stunning achievement. 

The rest of the cast is great too , especially Brad William Henke’s creepy uncle in the flashback scenes and veteran actress Betty Buckley as Dr Fletcher is particularly great. Dr Fletcher’s character drops lots of the information about Kevin’s disorder. Other movies would use her character for exposition dumps and not much else, but Shymalan makes her so compelling and Buckley herself has such a warmth and heart that you can’t help but feel the fear and the compassion yourself.

This being an M Night Shymalan movie, there are two things you’d always expect. One is his gratuitous cameo, and the other is a plot full of twists and turns. Both are present here. Shyamalan’s career renaissance has been impressive thus far, Split only proving his ability to shock and thrill even more. The Sixth Sense was a huge bar to set for himself, so seeing him returning to that level is nice.  It’s difficult to go into detail without spoiling a lot of what makes the movie great. I do feel that while Split’s twists are why it works, that multiple viewings would only improve the film. 

Leaving spoilers out of it, both the ending and credits scene made my jaw drop. A huge talking point for sure and the recently announced sequel sounds very interesting indeed!

Split is a rare thing, a hybrid of genres and influences, ending up as strong as the sum of its parts. Rather like it’s main character. 

9/10

For Fans Of: 

Silence of the Lambs

Unbreakable 

Raising Cain 

10 Cloverfield Lane 

Rupture (2016)

Directed by: Steven Shainberg

Written By: Brian Nelson and Steven Shainberg 

Starring: Noomi Rapace,  Michael Chiklis, Peter Stormare, Kerry Bishe 

Rupture is a tense thriller that sees the star of Prometheus and former Dragon Tattooed girl, Noomi Rapace as Renee Morgan, a regular woman trying to raise her son as a single parent with an asshole ex-husband. 

While on her way to do a skydive, Renee is taken hostage by a mysterious organisation, seemingly for no real reason. Trapped in their facility, undergoing horrific treatments from creepy doctors played by the always entertaining Michael Chiklis and Peter Stormare, Renee has to figure out why she’s there and how she will survive.  I’m not going to go into too much detail as it would give away more of the plot than I need to and this is a film that relies on its slow burn and reveals. 

Some films are uncomfortable to watch. That’s not always a positive, but in the case of Rupture it is. A dark, tightly wound thriller, Rupture evokes memories of films that they don’t make any more. In a lot of ways, it feels like a European movie. The tension is built as the story progresses,  keeping the audience both guessing and feeling uneasy as we are ratcheted along toward the inevitable reveal. People with a fear of spiders should also be warned going in!

Remember about 10 or so years ago, we had all those sensational French and Spanish horror/thrillers? The biggest compliment I can pay this movie is that it sits right alongside films like Martyrs, REC, Haute Tension, Frontiers and so many others. Claustrophobic scenes in air vents and tight camera shots on Rapace strapped to a gurney show director Steven Shainberg means business. 

The cast, as I’ve mentioned already, is superb. Noomi Rapace gives a good performance, really conveying the terror she’s put through. I feel like Rapace is a hugely underrated actress, for me she’s a highlight in everything she’s in. Since first seeing the original Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, I’ve been a fan. 

Former member of the Fantastic Four, Michael Chiklis shows up to offer mystery and weird experiments, while Peter Stormare pops up to deliver a dose of European weirdness only he can deliver. Argo’s Kerry Bishé plays a sinister nurse or doctor or something, it’s never quite clear what any of these bad guys do. Other than that their motives are sinister. Not that that’s a bad thing. Not everything needs to be spoon-fed to audiences. 

Rupture is a taut, tense thriller , that keeps you guessing until the very end. I enjoyed it a lot more than I expected and I would definitely recommend it if you’re into horror, thriller or Sci fi. 

4/5

Available on Amazon by clicking here 



For Fans Of :

Martyrs 

They Live

Hard Candy