My Favorite Movies #92 – Split

Split

2016

Directed by M. Night Shyamalan

Netflix says… Though Kevin (James McAvoy) has revealed 23 personalities to his psychiatrist, there remains one still submerged who is set to materialize and dominate all the others. Compelled to abduct three teenage girls, Kevin reaches a war for survival among all of those contained within him — as well as everyone around him — as the walls between his compartments shatter apart.

  • This one is pretty creepy from the start.
  • I remember seeing previews for this one and thinking it looked pretty scary.
  • It’s actually not all that scary. I mean, it has its suspenseful moments, sure.
  • The way Kevin is portrayed is fascinating.
  • And it’s a crime that McAvoy wasn’t at least nominated for an Oscar here.
  • Just so you’re caught up, one of Kevin’s personalities abducts three teenage girls (Casey, Claire, and Marcia) from a parking lot.
  • Casey is our main protagonist. And she’s what the cool kids consider “not normal.”
  • The only reason she’s a part of this is because she was given a pity invite to Claire’s birthday party.
  • Throughout the film we get flashbacks to Casey as a young girl.
  • We’re also treated to Kevin’s unannounced visits to his psychiatrist. Only he visits her as Barry, one of Kevin’s 23 personalities.
  • Dr. Fletcher notices a seemingly small action that indicates she may not actually be talking to Barry.
  • The personality that abducted the girls, Dennis, has exhibited signs of OCD, which he can’t always control.
  • The next personality he reveals to the girls is Patricia, who reassures them that Dennis is not allowed to touch them. They’re there for a special purpose.
  • They’re “sacred food.”
  • Casey seems to understand the importance of playing along.
  • A third personality, Hedwig, reveals himself to the girls. He spills that someone terrible is coming for them.
  • Casey manages to trick Hedwig into giving something else away. The room they’re being kept in was only recently finished.
  • That means there might be a way out.
  • As they try to break through the ceiling, Hedwig comes back.
  • Claire tries to climb through a vent while the girls work to keep Hedwig from getting in the door.
  • But then Dennis comes back. And he’s more than strong enough to bust open the door.
  • And he knows where Claire will end up after going through the vent.
  • Dennis fusses at Claire for tricking Hedwig. She shouldn’t trick children.
  • Claire is then put in a separate room.
  • The girls each have to remove an article of clothing because they got dirty from the dust from tearing apart the ceiling.
  • “Barry” goes to visit Dr. Fletcher again. She doesn’t by that it’s Barry. He’s been emailing her to set up unscheduled appointments.
  • She’s figured out that he’s actually Dennis. Barry has banned Dennis from “the light” because he’s a known pedophile.
  • Patricia was banned from the light, too. Because she and Dennis have certain “religious” beliefs that Barry (the dominant personality) feels are inappropriate and dangerous.
  • Dennis insists that he’s Barry.
  • Dr. Fletcher believes that Dennis and Patricia have taken over Kevin’s body for sinister reasons.
  • How right she is.
  • Soon after, Patricia arrives and takes Casey and Marcia out of their room for a “proper” dinner.
  • While they’re in the kitchen, Marcia hits Patricia with a chair and makes a run for it.
  • She doesn’t get far. And now Marcia is kept somewhere else, too.
  • And Dennis makes Casey take off a second shirt because she got a crumb on it from dinner.
  • Good thing Casey’s wearing layers.
  • Later, Casey and Hedwig are talking. He tells Casey about the Beast, another personality that has not yet emerged that Dennis and Patricia basically worship.
  • That’s who the girls are meant for.
  • Hedwig also reveals that it’s because of him that Barry has lost his dominance. And that when he sleeps, someone (probably Barry) keeps emailing Dr. Fletcher for help.
  • Casey reveals that she gets in trouble at school on purpose. So she can get sent to detention. So she can get away.
  • What does she need to get away from?
  • Her flashbacks are leading to something disturbing in her past. One can infer what the flashbacks are leading to, but it’ll be clearly revealed later.
  • Dr. Fletcher meets with “Barry” again. She knows she’s talking to Dennis and reveals that Kevin was abused as a child, which is what caused all of his distinct personalities to develop.
  • Finally he admits who he is. And he says the other personalities refer to him and Patricia as “The Horde.”
  • Fletcher tries to convince Dennis that the Beast is not another personality. It’s a fantasy.
  • Hedwig comes back and takes Casey to his room. She wanted to see it because he said he has a window.
  • It’s a drawing of a window. No way to escape that way.
  • But Hedwig does show her a real walkie-talkie. She tries to call for help, but whoever’s on the other end doesn’t believe she’s been abducted.
  • And while she’s talking, Patricia comes back.
  • In a flashback, it’s made clear that Casey experienced sexual abuse at the hands of her uncle. He tells her if she doesn’t go along with what he says, he’ll tell her dad that she’s not being nice.
  • Young Casey nearly shoots him, but isn’t able to pull the trigger.

I’ve done it again. This is getting too long. And I don’t want to spoil the ending for those of you who haven’t seen it. After all, it’s only been around for the last year and a half. It’s worth watching if you haven’t yet. If you haven’t, don’t read this next part because it will have a slight spoiler.

The whole time I was watching this (the first time), I thought I’d figured out Shyamalan’s twist. I thought for sure that Casey was also suffering from dissociate identity disorder. I thought that’s what everything was pointing to with her flashbacks to her abusive past and with what Fletcher had been saying about Kevin’s history of abuse at the hands of his mother. And I thought that the other girls were just Casey’s other personalities. Because each time one was removed from her presence, she had to remove one of her shirts. I thought it was symbolic. I was wrong.

Anyway, next week the thrills continue with something a little less fantastic when we get to number 91: The Fugitive. Feel free to watch along with me.

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