The man with more than 23 personalities.

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The man with more than 23 personalities.

Kenzie Snyder, Ranger Review Reporter

The Film “Split” is an outstanding and exciting movie that will have you on the edge of your seat the whole time. The movie “Split” was released on the 20th of January 2017. On a movie critic site known as Rotten Tomatoes, the movie had received a 75%.

The film is set in Philadelphia, starting off at a seemingly innocuous teenager’s birthday party. Three high school girls get in a car after a birthday party at the mall: pretty, chatty Claire (Haley Lu Richardson) and Marcia (Jessica Sula) and shy, quiet Casey (Anya Taylor-Joy), who was invited along out of pity. But they quickly realize the man behind the wheel isn’t Claire’s dad—it’s Kevin, who wastes no time in knocking them out and dragging them back to his makeshift, underground lair.. While it seems like other people are interacting with Kevin on the other side of their locked door, the girls eventually discover that they are all the vastly different personalities that reside within Kevin, 23 of them, to be exact.

Only Casey, who emerges as the trio’s clever leader, has the audacity to engage with him. Anya Taylor- Joy makes Casey more than your typical horror heroine to root for, particularly with the help of quietly suspenseful flashbacks that indicate how she acquired her survival instincts. Her co-stars aren’t afforded nearly as much characterization or clothing, for that matter.

From obsessive-compulsive maintenance man Dennis to playful, 9-year-old Hedwig to prim, British Patricia to flamboyant, New York fashionista Barry, McAvoy brings all these characters to life in undeniably hammy yet entertaining ways. There’s a lot of scenery chewing going on here, but it’s a performance that also showcases McAvoy’s great agility and precision. He has to make changes both big and small, sometimes in the same breath, and it’s a hugely engaging spectacle to behold.

His portrayal of this troubled soul is darkly funny but also unexpectedly sad. Kevin is menacing no matter which personality in control, but the underlying childhood trauma that caused him to create these alter egos as a means of defense clearly still haunts him as a grown man. Flashes of vulnerability and fragility reveal themselves in the film’s third act, providing an entirely different kind of disturbing tone.

But we also get a greater understanding of Kevin’s mental state through the daily sessions he or, rather, a version of him schedules with his psychologist, Dr. Fletcher (Betty Buckley). A leading researcher in the field, she believes having dissociative identity disorder is actually a reflection of the brain’s vast potential rather than a disability. Their conversations, while exquisitely tense, also provide a welcome source of kindness amid the brutality.

And they help us put together the pieces of this puzzle—which is actually a few different puzzles at once. There’s the question of what Kevin wants with these girls. There’s the question of how they’ll escape. But the fundamentally frightening element of this whole scenario is how the various personalities interact with each other—how they manipulate and intimidate each other—and whether there’s an even more fearsome force gaining strength.

West Dylan Thordson scored an expertly creepy sound design help make “Split” an unsettling experience from the very start. But the movie staggers a bit toward the end with some implement and coincidences, and it goes in directions that feel a bit corrupt—as if it’s rendering childhood abuse for cheap thrills. I’m still wrestling with how I feel about it, but I know I walked out with a slightly exciting sense, even as I found the film engrossing both technically and dramatically it was still a well written and directed film.
To rate the film “Split”, I would give it about 4.3 out of 5 stars. It was an excellent film, but there were moments of confusion.