Back to his roots: M. Night Shyamalan’s new thriller is cringe-worthy


The newly released thriller “Split” stars James McAvoy and Anya Taylor-Joy. (Photo Courtesy of IMP Awards).

“Split” is a newly released psychological thriller, written and directed by M. Night Shyamalan. Anya Taylor-Joy plays Casey, a girl kidnapped alongside two of her classmates by a man named Kevin, who is played by James McAvoy. Kevin is a psychopath who has dissociative identity disorder, and has 23 different identities living in his body. This is the essence of the plot, and going any further would certainly spoil the movie. 

Shyamalan returns to his roots in this movie by creating a chilling, low-budget and incredible thriller. It is creepy, skin crawling and claustrophobic. “Split” can be confusing at times, as Kevin switches between personalities. This confusion is not necessarily negative, because Shyamalan manages to keep audience members on their feet by holding back on different elements until later in the film, prolonging the mystery and fear.

At the center of “Split” is the character Kevin. James McAvoy delivers his best performance to date, and he manages to actually play multiple characters in this film, changing the way he acts in each of Kevin’s identities. Any actor can use a funny voice and go through a costume change, but McAvoy redefines himself continually and truly separates his identities. Shyamalan brought his A-game to the theaters with “Split.” Hopefully, the new thriller marks the beginning of his journey back to his roots.