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Movie Review

Split also known as “Fragmentado,” “Múltiple,” “Skilimas,” “Széttörve”

MPAA Rating: PG-13 for disturbing thematic content and behavior, violence and some language.

Reviewed by: Alexander Malsan
CONTRIBUTOR

Very Offensive
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Moviemaking Quality:

Primary Audience:
Adults Teens
Genre:
Psychological Horror Thriller
Length:
1 hr. 57 min.
Year of Release:
2016
USA Release:
September 26, 2016 (festival)
January 20, 2017 (wide—3,037 theaters)
DVD: April 18, 2017
Copyright, Universal Pictures click photos to ENLARGE Copyright, Universal Pictures Copyright, Universal Pictures Copyright, Universal Pictures Copyright, Universal Pictures Copyright, Universal Pictures Copyright, Universal Pictures Copyright, Universal Pictures Copyright, Universal Pictures Copyright, Universal Pictures
Relevant Issues
Copyright, Universal Pictures

severe mental illness and violence

multiple personality disorder / dissociative identity disorder

obsessive-compulsive disorder

abduction of young women / kidnapping

child sexual abuse / molestation

sin/evil and the fall of man

Is Satan a real person that influences our world today? Is he affecting you? Answer

Satan, devil and demons in the Bible

SATAN’S STRATEGY—What is one of Satan’s most successful strategies in dealing with followers of Christ? Answer


FEAR, Anxiety and Worry—What does the Bible say? Answer


modern secular psychiatry based on evolutionism, atheism and secular humanism

Featuring: James McAvoyKevin “Wendell” Crumb—and “The Horde”: Dennis, Patricia, Hedwig, The Beast, etc.
Anya Taylor-Joy … Casey Cook
Haley Lu Richardson … Claire Benoit
Kim Director … Hannah
Jessica Sula … Marcia
Brad William Henke … Uncle John
Neal Huff … Mr. Benoit, Claire's father
Sebastian Arcelus … Mr. Cook, Casey’s father
Betty Buckley … Dr. Karen Fletcher
Lyne Renee … Academic Moderator
Maria Breyman … High-School Student
more »
Director: M. Night Shyamalan—“The Sixth Sense” (1999), “Signs” (2002), “Unbreakable” (2000)
Producer: Blinding Edge Pictures
Blumhouse Productions more »
Distributor: Universal Pictures

abduction of young women, child abuse, a depraved mind with multiple personalities called “The Horde”… and cannabilism

This story begins at a teenage birthday party for young Hannah (Kim Director). She, along with her friend Claire, is asked, when her dad arrives, to offer Casey a ride back to her home. Reluctantly, Hannah extends the offer and, reluctantly, Casey takes the offer. As the three girls get in the car, they notice a strange man (Kevin) pop into the driver’s seat. Without warning, the girls are sprayed with knockout spray and are abducted.

When the girls wake up, they realize the danger they’re in and try to call for help. The strange man (James McAvoy) appears in their room. He says his name is Dennis (Dennis IS Kevin). Dennis tries to take one of the girls, but with no success. At a second attempt to scream for help, they notice a woman outside their door. They’re saved right? Wrong. She introduces herself as Patricia. The girls come to realize that Kevin is Dennis, Patricia and, later on, a young boy named Hedwick. In other words, they are dealing with someone who with multiple-personality disorder (he, in fact, has 23 separate personalities, trying to take control over the real Kevin).

The girls must make their escape and soon, before they meet Kevin’s final personality…… “the Beast.”

Director M. Night Shyamalan is a master of thrillers. For a while, it seemed that Shyamalan had lost his touch in the film industry, with box office disasters such as “Lady in the Water” and “The Village.” Most recently, Shyamalan has once again acquired the title of master of thriller with films such as “Devil” and most recently “The Visit.”

Like James Wan, Shyamalan’s technique in producing successful films is to scare at a deeper level than the traditional “who’s-behind-the-corner” act. Rather, Shyamalan often tries to scare the viewer through anticipation and sometimes through means of disturbing the viewer on a psychological level (rarely graphic).

Which leads me to “Split.” Knowing Shyamalan’s previous works, I would have to say this film is his darkest and most DISTURBING to date. I would even go as far as saying this film went too far in the latter category (more about that in the Content section, which I suggest you read with caution). I walked out scratching my head, wondering “Why did he have to take the film THAT far in that direction?” In my opinion, there are some areas that directors should consider off limits.

Sexual Content: One female character is shown having previously “pee-ed herself” to avoid being taken by “Dennis.” We don’t see her do it, but we see her wet skirt after she returns. Hannah and Claire, and later Casey, are forced by “Patricia” to remove their clothing and are seen in nothing but their bras and panties (and even when Casey is wearing a shirt, we can see through it). The psychiatrist who treats Kevin mentions one of his personalities likes watching young naked girls dance. There are some mating references, as well as another graphic discussion the psychiatrist tells Kevin about an event where girls pulled his hands and made him touch their breasts and then ran away as a joke. The most disturbing of all of this, however, is that during Casey’s flashbacks, it is shown that Casey was molested by her uncle (often), when she was a little girl. We see her scars, and we find out later that her Uncle is now her legal guardian. Another disturbing scene includes Hedwick (aka Kevin) waking up in bed next to Casey (on their sides). Other content includes a nude water painting.

Violence: Kevin gets hit in the head by a chair and also wacked in the face. ***SPOILER*** The Beast squeezes and crushes a character’s ribs, killing her. Two characters are seen being eaten by the Beast (we see their internals organs briefly). ***END SPOILER*** A character is shot in the chest a few times. Casey, as a young girl, is shown aiming a shotgun at her uncle; she does not fire. There are scenes involving blood and someone is stabbed, unsuccessfully.

Language: Vulgarities include one instance of the phrase “mother-f*cker, ” “a**” (including the term “dumb-a**”) (3), and “sh*t” (2). Profanities included “h*ll” (2), “d*mn” (1), “Jesus” (1) and “God” (1).

There is a scene where Kevin’s psychiatrist is giving a lecture to a workshop at a college, by means of Skype. She references the idea that perhaps people with multiple personality disorder should not be viewed as “inferior” or “lower” than people who don’t have it, but rather as having (I’m paraphrasing here) “evolved their minds, where they are able to use every part of their brain at the same time; they are, in fact, gifted people.”

Walking out of the theater tonight, I stated to someone that “Split” left a bitter taste in my mouth. While there are some terrific performances by James McAvoy and the girls and the filmmaking quality is fairly good, this film is FAR too disturbing, at times, for a recommendation. It’s DEFINITELY NOT for children, and I even heard some adults in the theater tonight gasp at certain moments. This film could have easily earned a solid R-rating. I urge you to avoid this one.

Violence: Moderate to Extreme / Profanity: Moderate to Heavy / Sex/Nudity: Heavy to Extreme

In a world full of darkness and depravity, seek the Light. “Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth” (Colossians 3:2). “…whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things” (Philipians 4:8).

“VOTING” FOR BAD MOVIES—Every time you buy a movie ticket or rent a video you are casting a vote telling Hollywood “That’s what I want.” Are YOU part of the problem? Answer

See list of Relevant Issues—questions-and-answers.


Viewer CommentsSend your comments
Neutral
Neutral—Just finished watching movie “Split.” Watching this reminded me of the man in the Bible (Mark chapter 5) who had a legion of demons cast out of him by Jesus into swine which then ran off a cliff into water and drowned. I really have liked this director’s movies and, for all other aspects of the film, it is a most excellent movie. Was a huge fan of “The Village” among others! However, this just reminds me that we live in a sinful, broken, fallen world in which the enemy uses movies such as these to confuse uninformed non believers into inviting demons and oppressive evil spirits into their minds, without even being aware of it. I would caution all Christians who view this to pray before—to view through the lens of Christ!!!
My Ratings: Moral rating: Extremely Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 5
—Misty, age 32 (USA)

PLEASE share your observations and insights to be posted here.

Movie Critics

…A welcome return to form from “The Sixth Sense” director M. Night Shyamalan, whose unhinged new mind-bender is a worthy extension of his early work. …Shyamalan’s goal is to keep us guessing, and in that respect, “Split” is a resounding success…
—Peter Debruge, Variety

…It is a full and satisfying film… James McAvoy is 23 shades of creepy… [4/5]
—Jordan Hoffman, The Guardian (UK)

…arguably the director's most satisfying picture since “The Sixth Sense”…
—John DeFore, The Hollywood Reporter

…a genuinely good film with a truly shocking twist…
—Germain Lussier, Gizmodo Australia

…Shyamalan the director is in fine form… delivering a relatively conventional yet contradictory thriller… The finale is more “meh” than you’d expect and the twists and turns invalidate much of our investment. …
—Scott Mendelson, Forbes

…“Split” is as disconnected and disjointed as its lead’s multiple personalities… at just under two hours the whole production overstays its welcome, and isn’t really as clever as the director would have us believe… [2/4]
—Chris Knight, National Post [Canada]

…deeply unpleasant until the surprising, exciting finish. It’s hard to call a movie centered on the endangerment of young women a crowd-pleaser. …
—Ted Baehr, Movieguide

…the increasingly grim story of a demented, mentally tortured maniac who abducts and strips teen girls with the ultimate goal of—spoiler warning—eating them.
—Bob Hoose, Plugged In

Comments from non-viewers
Neutral—Thank you for the review. It does sound quite dark for M. Night Shymalan, and I appreciate the heads up. Given that it was PG-13, one of my kids asked to go, and I said no, not until I saw it. PG-13 has such a wide range of objectionable content. I’m glad I didn’t take her. One thing about the review… by giving details about the Beast specifically, it gives away some of the movie. A heads up that there are spoilers would be great. I feel as if I know the ending already. Hopefully M. Night returns to his older styling of captivating without needing to gross one out.
—Andrea, age 44 (USA)