Split: Is M. Night Shyamalan returning to his early promise?

by Ste Wood

M. Knight Shyamalan looks to trick and misguide audiences once again in 2017 with his fourteenth cinematic release, Split. The trailer, which surfaced on YouTube, looks about as mind-bending as you’d expect from the writer/director behind The Sixth Sense and Signs. Three girls, kidnapped by a bald-headed James McAvoy, find themselves trapped in a macabre basement/prison complete with all the charm of a serial killers interior design.

The selling point that saves the trailer from coming off as a 10 Cloverfield Lane rip-off is the twist (surprise, surprise) that McAvoy’s sinister character suffers from a staggering 28-way split personality disorder. The only thing made obvious by the 3 minute trailer is that not all 28 personalities are hostile, and some might even have the potential to be reasoned with.

The other, slightly more worrying reference made throughout is to ‘the beast’, a monster that the deranged antagonist insists is real. While that alone is no cause for concern, the accompanying snarling sound effects left me feeling slightly deflated. I really hope Shyamalan isn’t going to build up a fantastic premise and backdrop, then spoil it all with a disappointing third act that will completely undo the fantastic work that preceded it (kind of like Cloverfield Lane, actually).

Whether or not you’re a fan of his previous work, Split looks to be a strong return to the screen for Shyamalan, following his surprisingly impressive 2015 found-footage horror, The Visit. The idea of a split personality hasn’t been explored much in film since the original Psycho film first released in 1960. This, coupled with the brief moments of insane genius seen in McAvoy’s performance as the various personalities trapped inside his head, suggest that Spilt is definitely one to keep an eye out for in the future.

While you’re watching the trailer, try to remember more of Unbreakable and Devil, and less of The Village and The Last Airbender.

What do you think of the Split trailer? Thanks for reading and comment below!

Follow me on Twitter @TheRealSteWood

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