Disclaimer: I actually had to google how to spell M. Night Shyamalan when writing the title of this post. It should be made into a question in Trivial Pursuit, if it isn’t already.
“How do you spell the name of the director of The 6th Sense?
A. M. Night Shamalayn
B. M. Night Shaymalan
C. M. Night Shyamalan
D. M. Night Shyamalayn”
You’re welcome, Trivial Pursuit!
So, I went to see Split yesterday. I had recently expressed the sentiment that it seems impossible to find a good scary movie nowadays, since my suspension of disbelief can’t handle the modern takes on what consitutes “scary”, so everything I watch is either boring, not scary, or stupid, or all of the above. And I have to say that Split was refreshing; it was well-written and well-executed, and it really made you think, and filled you with the kind of gut-wrenching existensial angst that you really can’t do without on a Saturday night. It had just one minor itsy-bitsy flaw. I don’t know if you could even call it a flaw. It was the small matter of it not living up to one tiny criteria (I am not sure if it is the movie’s fault, or IMDB’s fault): namely, that it could in no way, shape or form be categorized as a horror movie. IMDB said genre was “Horror, Thriller”. It was definitely a thriller, but it was no horror. That was my main beef with the movie.
The plot revolves around a mentally-deranged man in his thirties (James McAvoy). People who read the synopsis prior going to the cinema to see the movie (a.k.a. 99,4% of the people*) know that he has multiple personalities (23 to be precise). 23 would have been a better title, but there is already a movie called that, and there is also a movie called “The number 23”, and there are only so many iterations you could make. Although, I suppose they could have called it 7×3+2.
The movie starts out with him kidnapping three high-school students with the help of some chloroform and carjacking their… car… He takes them to some abandoned Fight Club style-looking building where he keeps them in a room all the while dropping hints about some person called “The Beast” that is supposed to show up later and kill them all. For some unfathomable reason, the three girls don’t just fly on him and kick the living crap out of him, even though they are not tied up or anything, and even though one of the girls suggests it. But the main character is too chicken or maybe she has a death wish, so she refuses to help, telling the girls that he can knock them out in one punch. So what, glass-chin?? Doesn’t mean they shouldn’t try. One shot to the balls, then thai-clinch and knee him in the orbital. That’ll shatter it and it also is the kind of move that will make you forget about your horrible childhood, and maybe would have made him drop like 5 or 6 personalities. I know women are not as physically strong as men, but there’s three of you! God damn it… Still makes me mad… Ok breathe… Anyway where was I.. Oh yeah, knee to the orbital, then you tie him up, lock him in a room, and take your sweet time to find the way out or a phone so you can call the police and they can triangulate the call, or whatever it is they do. But of course that doesn’t happen.
I am not going to give away anything else, just wanted to say that the main character is your typical damsel in distress, and the movie is not scary in the horror sense. But overall it was still pretty entertaining and James McAvoy is a rather good actor. Good on him that he didn’t let that god awful “Wanted” ruin his career!
So, if you absolutely must see James McAvoys pecks on the big screen, go see Split in the cinema. But if you expect it to be scary, sorry to let you down, it is not scary, and there will be no people screaming in the theater or walking out, or doing any of the other good stuff that makes you want to watch horror flicks in the cinema. So just wait for the DVD.
And here are a few honorable mentions: M. Night Shyamalan makes an appearance and talks about Hooters being a good place.