Kevin the cleanliness maniac? Hedwig the energetic nine-year-old with a lisp? Wait, no – Barry the flamboyant fashionista? As actor James McAvoy appears on the AMC movie theatre screen, my head does a double-take as I try to keep track of which his 23 personalities he switches into during the opening scene.
The movie “Split,” directed by M. Night Shyamalan, stars McAvoy along with Anya Taylor-Joy, Jessica Sula and Suki Waterhouse, who play the three teenage girls that are abducted by Kevin, who takes them back to his home. He then moves them into a dead-bolted room with stone walls and a bathroom with a single yellow flower sitting in a vase – not my perfect idea of a place to be held captive.
Thirty seconds into the movie I was hooked; paying close attention to every new personality that appeared on the screen and preparing to cover my ears while creepy, murder music began to play.
McAvoy who plays Kevin, along with his 23 other personalities, suffers from Dissociative Identity Disorder. This creates the an edge-of-your-seat experience during the two hour long movie, unaware of what is coming next from this psychomaniac.
DID is a condition in which two or more identities, or personality states, are present and take control over an individual. There is no definite understanding of the causes of DID, but it can develop due to severe physical or emotional abuse, usually during childhood, according to Psychology Today.
Kevin meets with his therapist, played by Betty Buckley, who he sees weekly to discuss his personality for that day. Buckley, who portrays Dr. Karen Fletcher in the movie, appeals to the audience asa calming mechanism during all of the trauma going on. Once Dr. Fletcher starts to lose hope in the genuineness of Kevin, all hope is lost for a somewhat peaceful ending.
Although this utterly insane character of Kevin kept me awake for nights on end, his role created an intriguing and captivating performance overall, perfect for an out-of-the-box thriller.
As Dr. Fletcher begins to ponder the true identity of Kevin, she begins to see through him and wonder if he possesses a deeper, more dangerous 24th personality. Shyamalan is known for his plot twists and “what-just-happened” type of endings during his horror movies, and “Split” didn’t fall short to this theory whatsoever.
“Turn the car around. Turn the car around and get the hell out of here.” As soon as these words came out of Johnny Depp’s mouth, I was ready for an enjoyable, thrilling movie.
Johnny Depp plays Morton Rainey in a psychological thriller made in 2004, focusing on the complications of plagiarism.
After driving up to a motel only to find his wife in bed with another man, Depp’s character Rainey takes being single to a whole new level. Rainey acts as a slothful writer who takes five naps per day to cancel out all complications and responsibilities arising around him.
Awoken by an unexpected sharp thud on the door, Rainey is approached by a man wearing a wide-brimmed top hat and suit named John Shooter. Shooter claims that Rainey has stolen his story, which creates a sequence of complications throughout the movie.
Throughout the film, Rainey is seen to be a character with another mind of his own, which provides a second voice to clash against the thoughts and feelings of himself. The second mind or identity usually tells Rainey to do the opposite of what he ends up doing, similar to an angel versus a devil.
Rainey also suffers from Dissociative Identity Disorder, (DID), which allows him to possess a first or dominant personality, along with a second or third personality which appears near the end of the movie. Similar to the movie “Split,” both of the lead roles experience this disorder, although Rainey’s character only has two personalities, comparing to James McAvoy’s character who possesses 23.
As Shooter continues to torment Rainey and hide when he least expects it, Rainey begins to stray further away from his true identity and starts to take on a new personality, a personality controlled by Shooter, emphasizing his unstable emotional state. Once this new personality arose in Depp’s body, I had to work that much harder to keep track of what was going on.
As the movie ends in a completely different direction than most would expect the typical horror film would, I realized this chilling horror movie did not live up to its strong beginning due to the confusing plot, making me work too hard to follow.