thoughts on split (2016)

I started writing reviews because I have a lot of feelings about movies and wanted a place where I could collect them and look back on them and see if my opinions have changed. I will be reviewing movies I love and movies I didn’t love. Split doesn’t fall into either of these. Split is beyond me not loving a movie, Split is one of these most poorly directed, acted, and insulting movies I have ever seen. If it wasn’t for the 2 people who wanted me to write this review kinda, I would have watched and written about Moonlight much sooner. I thought I didn’t mind the movie until it really sunk under my skin and I wanted it a second time.                                                                                                                                             Split follows the events that take place after three girls are kidnapped but Kevin Wendell Crumb who has DID. (Dissociative Identity Disorder)  The girls must escape his prison before his 24th and “final” identity is revealed.

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This movie struck me as very fascinating because other than a few indie films, I’ve never seen a movie tackle this subject in a genuine light. And then I saw it was directed by M Night himself, and I got a little hopeless. I wasn’t going to see it at all until I thought, “oh I could write a short review for this movie so maybe it’ll be beneficial. Was it worth it? No. Am I still going to write this review? Ugh… I guess. As someone who suffers from a variety of mental illness issues I know I don’t speak for everyone when I say the most annoying thing is when a mental illness is portrayed with the utmost ignorance. I think this is the most butchered. This movie not only demonizes people with DID, it generalizes them to a whole other level. If someone walks into the theatre or watches this movie at home and has never been exposed to people with mental illnesses and they see this portrayal of a very serious illness they are going to be afraid, they are going to buy into the stigma, and they are not going to want to help. The fact that M Night had the audacity to introduce this character with DID and then turn him into an almost supernatural super villain was beyond insulting and I’m amazed he stooped so low. Using mental illness has a prop isn’t and will never be a great idea, especially if it’s directed by M Night Shyamalan.

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The acting in Split didn’t even make up for the bad plot devices. James McAvoy was only subtly impressive to me. He made subtle movements here and there when his character was shifting in and out of identities. I feel like he soften the blows for a lot of things that could have been even more insulting, I don’t know I’m trying to be positive. The two girls along side Anya Taylor-Joy were a nightmare to watch. I’m not sure how or why they got casted but here we are, talking about them. Their performances were over dramatic in the wrong places and dry in others. The way they were written makes me believe that M Night’s only interaction with teenaged girls is when he sits in the malls and stares at a group of them from a distance, trying to read their lips and interpret what they say. The only character I could get behind was Casey and it’s because she was portrayed by Anya. I’ve loved everything I’ve seen her in so far and this was no exceptions which is good because if it had been anyone else I would have walked out of the theatre. And the only black man in the film was cut during post production and replaced with an old clueless lady thanks, M Night.

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Speaking of the young ladies in this movie, I found it creepy that M Night wrote Claire and Marcia in their underwear for half of the film. That made me uncomfortable and not in a good Black Mirror kind of way. He also wrote Anya’s unnecessary back story of her being sexually abused by her uncle which makes no sense when you see Casey’s character in the basement. I found these subtle hints of misogyny very unnecessary and weird on M Night’s end. Just makes me theory about the mall even more feasible.

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As a person who had never seen an M night movie before this I was obviously one of the people who didn’t understand the ending. I was aware that Bruce Willis is in a couple of M Night movies so I knew there was a reason he was there, but I didn’t understand why. I had to go home and youtube “Split ending explained” to really get it. And after rewatching the movie since then I can confirm, I hate the ending. Split as a stand alone movie would have made it almost forgiving, but the fact that the DID trope was confirmed as supernatural at the end infuriated me.

In conclusion I think that this movie is a joke and shouldn’t be watched, like at all. The people who say this movie is a masterpiece don’t know the feeling of having your own mind play tricks on you, they don’t know their own mind trying to kill you. They don’t know what it’s like to be demonized by your own mind. M Night Shyamalan is one of these people who just don’t know. Also Avatar the Last Airbender is my favourite show of all time and he messed that up to so it’s safe to say I won’t see another one of his films, thank you. I give this movie 0/124

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