** out of four
I freely admit that I am not a fan of the movies of M. Night Shyamalan. No, I don't even like his breakout hit The Sixth Sense (1999). However, Hell froze over in 2015 when I gave a positive review to The Visit, but I think that was just a fluke because I found his newest, Split, to be a real slog to sit through. At 117-minutes, this predictable psychological thriller feels a half hour too long.
Anyway, an introverted teenage girl, Casey (Anya Taylor-Joy from The Witch), and her two popular classmates (Haley Lu Richardson, Jessica Sula) are kidnapped and imprisoned by a crazed man (James McAvoy) with multiple personalities – 24 to be exact. Sometimes he's a fashion designer, a 9-year-old kid, or even a woman. All these personalities, however, warn the girls that the final and yet unseen personality known as “The Beast” is coming for them. The only hope for the girls is the man's psychiatrist (Betty Buckley), who is trying to tame these personalities.
Like most Shyamalan films, this is slow moving. Scenes of the man and his different facets talking to the girls and preventing their escape are constantly repetitive. It feels like padding. Then there is a back story about Casey's childhood shown through flashbacks, and it has an ick factor that could have been mentioned rather than shown.
There often appears to be madness in McAvoy's eyes, so he is scary, but sometimes his endless monologues in the different personalities seem like an actor's workshop. Taylor-Joy is good in a quiet, emotional performance. Again, it's the eyes, and you can see the pain in hers.
Maybe if Split had a tighter running time and wasn't so goofy in its psychology I might have like it.