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Split (2016/17) Review

Published by: Anthony Wallace


split_red-692x1024From the director who brought us ‘The Sixth Sense‘, ‘Signs‘, and 2015’s ‘The Visit‘, M. Night Shymalan returns with a suspense thriller that stars James McAvoy and Anya Taylor-Joy. When Casey Cooke and her friends are captured by somebody with multiple personalities, they must race to find answers as to whom they’re dealing with and whether or not escape will even be possible. After coming off of a mediocre effort in Shymalan’s last movie, are we continuing to seeing a revival of the director’s career? Let’s find out.

**For the purposes of the film, I will be referring to McAvoy’s character as Kevin.**

This was definitely an unsettling movie and not in the way of violence but more so in how great of a performance we get from James McAvoy. His characters suffers from a condition called Disassociative Identity Disorder (DID) and portrays over 23 personalities that all came to be over a dark past. With this in mind, it takes us to the plot which is evident in the trailers as Casey and her friends are captured by Kevin and are then placed in an undisclosed location. We then see the different personalities come to light and in which Casey tries hard to piece together a way out. But a repetitive reference to “The Beast” raises alarms as to whether or not a deeper more menacing figure looms in the shadows.

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Having said everything thus so far and with what little is known, it’s best not to give any more details without possibly spoiling the film. All that will be said is that James McAvoy puts on a challenging performance; especially when you’re encompassing 23 characters in one body. There were moments when you felt fear for Casey, who’s played by Anya Taylor-Joy, who comes face to face with him and you never know who you would be talking to next. What also caught my attention was to the story behind Casey and how her upbringing was met with a dark past herself that I thought would later play out in the movie. But it didn’t go the way I expected.

We’re also introduced to Dr. Karen Fletcher, played by Betty Buckley, who is the psychiatrist that Kevin goes to visit. She was very good and I liked her role as this person who truly cares about him. You could sense it from the start and it wasn’t like she was meant to be written off very quick. We’re able to get a bit of exposition as to why Kevin is the way he is when the two characters are together. Their chemistry was awesome; although later on I will get into issues that I had when certain things would happen. Overall, Buckley did a great job.

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If you’re getting the hint that things didn’t pan out as I had expected while watching the movie then most likely it’s because of the direction of the script. The movie started strong but by the third act that’s when the wheels on train begins to fall apart. As seen in the trailer when McAvoy begins to climb on the walls and is running around like a demon in distress, it left me still trying to piece together how this entity breaks through the sound barrier. Because everything that involved the DID made it seem believable that a person could be this way. There was a believability factor that existed and that was one of the reasons that made everything else that was happening that more terrifying. But once “The Beast” as they say appears it sort of ruined it for me because it felt like we entered into another dimension. It could’ve been handled better.

Now let’s get to the elephant in the room which is in regards to the twist. Every M. Night Shymalan has some element of a twist in his movies and for ‘Split’ it is no different. I will not however go into detail about what that twist may entail because it is something for the audience to stumble upon for themselves. As far as my reaction to the twist I thought it was an interesting decision by the director and that’s all I will say to that.

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Where does ‘Split‘ stand against Shymalans’ other projects is that it’s a hit or miss but is definitely one of his better efforts. It’s directed with care and has good performances by the actors. Again, it goes back to the script and the direction the movie is trying to head towards can sometimes get lost in translation. The movie reminds me a lot of ‘Identity‘ (2003), where from a psychological point of view you’re not sure who’s character is really screwed up. For a January release, the movie is surprisingly fresh and forgoes the dump machine that many studios rely on.

Rating: 7/10

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Are you planning on watching ‘Split‘? Which M. Night Shymalan movie is your favorite? Comment below and share your thoughts.

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The Witch (2016) Review

Published by: Anthony Wallace


The_Witch_posterSet in the 1660’s is the story about a family who after leaving their plantation goes out to live in the outskirts of New England. When their baby, Sam, is taken from their parish an unruly force takes over the family that begins to slowly tear them apart. The film is directed by Robert Eggers and stars Kate Dickie, Anya-Taylor Joy, and Ralph Ineson.

It’s been a long while since watching a film that is genuinely unsettling but to also find it refreshing at the same time. This time around we’re talking about ‘The Witch‘ and having viewed the trailer this past month I was eagerly looking forward to seeing it. To describe this movie is nothing but unsettling and the credit goes out to the director who was able to hone in the suspense not knowing where the movie would go next. Now I have to warn everyone in saying that this isn’t your typical horror film with big budget effects and cheap jump scares forced down your throats. Instead you are treated to a time piece that sets the tone with events that took place in old folklore and a time where witchcraft was believed to exist. So for some viewers this may not rub off so well and could turn them away if your not knowing what to expect. With that said, this is not one to be overlooked.

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I thoroughly enjoyed this film not only because it went away from the typical tropes of a horror film but the background and history that was put into the making of the film. There were scenes in ‘The Witch‘ that were genuinely terrifying; especially with the background music to go along with it. One could even look at the film as a piece of art where dialogue isn’t totally necessary as the events and images are what drives the movie. There are a couple of scenes that stood out to me and one of them had to do with the taking of the baby. It’s what happens after the baby is taken that we are introduced to the witch herself. We’ll just leave it at that and everyone will have to see it for themselves. The other scene happens towards the middle of the movie where it involves a sick child that you truly sense that the evil is present.

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We get to see Kate Dickie play the role of the Katherine who reels from the loss of her baby. She does an exceptional job along with her co-stars who battle to stay united as evil lurks the grounds they live on. Anya-Taylor Joy, who plays the adopted daughter Thomasin, does an amazing job as she is the one character who everyone suspects is a witch. She does everything she can to prove everyone wrong but in the end takes a turn for the worse. The very last scene we see of Thomasin is one that will have everyone talking and is terrifying all in itself.

From a technical standpoint the movie is gorgeous to look at as the director put in a lot of the effort to making this a time piece. Along with the dialogue and setting you really get the sense of what it was like for New England as they battled the talks of witches. The score accompanies the movie with tension and terror when something horrifying takes place. Having been his directorial debut, Robert Eggers does an excellent job with promise that he can produce good quality horror movies should he go that route. This is by far one of the best horror films we’ve seen thus far this year. If you are a looking for a horror film that will get under you skin this will surely do it. It’s a time piece that can’t be overlooked.

Rating: 8/10

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What do you guys think? Do you plan on watching ‘The Witch‘? Comment below and share your thoughts. If you enjoyed reading this review please click the like button to show your support.