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Split: Confessions of a Thriller Hater

Given that M. Night Shyamalan has swung and missed quite often in his career – more than he’s swung and hit to be honest – the question is, is Split deserving of your time? This self-diagnosed “thriller hater” weighs in.

If I was being abducted I would hope that I would scream and run. Without hesitation. Just bolt. But in my nightmares I can’t move, I can’t scream. I’m paralyzed by fear. There’s no way to know unless it happens to you.

Three teenage girls sit in a car waiting for one of their dads to take them home, doors unlocked and chatting distractedly. James McAvoy is in the car before they barely notice and what frightens me is how realistically this could happen.

There’s a fraction of time for one of them to escape, but she freezes and I can only imagine that I would do the same. Let’s face it, I don’t even know any emergency numbers.

He kidnaps the girls -two of which are popular, and one of which is the class weirdo- and take them to his lair where they’re all put in a little room together, with no idea who he is or why they’re there.

Kevin (James McAvoy) has an exaggerated form of Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID) -a multi-personality disorder- and the movie becomes more interesting as the layers are peeled back and his many different personalities are revealed. They range from a 9 yr old boy, to a middle aged woman, to a psychopath who likes to see young girls dance.

Kevin has a psychiatrist to help him keep all of his personalities in check and she plays a large role in his life as she’s the only person who truly understands him. And others like him.

DID does exist in real life, mostly caused by a trauma or abuse and the patient can have a separate set of memories for each personality, as if the brain is categorizing the pain away and perhaps a stronger personality can protect the wounded one. But what makes it particularly intriguing in movie life is the premise that each of Kevin’s personalities also have specific physical changes such as their biochemistry: one of his personalities has type one diabetes.

The idea is fascinating, yes. But is Split scary?

I am the epitome of a scaredy-cat; I can’t watch Pretty Little Liars alone unless it’s during the day and yet Split (which I went to see during the day), didn’t scare me. M. Night Shyamalan described it in an interview as ‘a drama in thriller clothing’.

I was more interested in the scenes with the psychologist and the actual disorder than the plot. But James McAvoy deserves an Oscar over Affleck for playing the personalities flawlessly!

Other than McAvoy, honestly, I would watch Split on a day when I’m dedicating time to replying to emails or watching it in the background while I meal prep (I really am going to try). I wouldn’t spend my money on it (again).

With that said -and walking the line of not saying too much: there’s a special cameo at the end which raises a few questions and adds a dimension to the movie that I wasn’t expecting.

Overall impression: watch Split in your spare time on those days when there’s nothing new to watch on tv.


Jeslyn is a perpetual sloth, but more importantly, a chocolate and wine aficionado. She likes to write sometimes, read most of the time and watch TV all of the time.