Split follows the story of Kevin Wendell Crumb (James McAvoy; X-Men: Apocalypse), who suffers from dissociative identity disorder, or multiple personality disorder, and has 24 separate personalities. As an abused child, he created these personalities to protect himself, as so often is the case.
The meat of the story begins when Kevin kidnaps three girls - Claire (Haley Lu Richardson; Edge of Seventeen) and Marcia (Jessica Sula; Love and Marriage), who are the typical self-involved teenage girls, and Casey (Anya Taylor-Joy; The Witch), who, to Kevin, seems much different from the other two, and in whom he finds a bit of a kindred spirit. The kidnapping is a way for Kevin to sacrifice to "the beast", his 24th and most dangerous personality. Meanwhile, the girls must keep their wits about them and try to escape from the series of underground rooms where Kevin is holding them.
While many people suffering from "DID", we find out from the story and through his psychiatrist that many professionals don't believe that there really is such as disease. Luckily, Kevin finds a rare doctor, Dr. Karen Fletcher (Betty Buckley; Pretty Little Liars) who has been seeing him for what appears to be many years. She not only believes him but treats all the personalities that emerge in sessions. Buckley's character is able to identify which personality presents itself in therapy and the storyline of Kevin's treatment and the interaction with his doctor is as important to the plot as the kidnapping of the girls.
This film is certainly suspenseful, and harkens back to the days of when Shyamalan's films really threw us for a loop and kept us on the edge of our seats. The casting choice of McAvoy was a wise one; he is a superb actor who takes this role on with ease. Watching McAvoy's performance, as not only his personalities and mannerisms change so clearly as a personality emerges, makes me feel as if every actor in Hollywood should take acting lessons from McAvoy or his acting coach. We see the versatility in his acting through the various personalities which include a young boy, a maintenance worker, a fashion designer and even an older woman. Buckley, along with Richardson, Sula, and Taylor-Joy, were also a delight on the screen as they all seemed in sync with their roles and their interactions with McAvoy's character.
The Blu-ray is presented in MPEG-4 AVC with a resolution of 1080p and an aspect ratio of 2.39:1. The color is dark and moody, but in a clear manner, that aptly fits the setting of the movie. Audio is DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1. McAvoy's speech patterns in each of his personalities are spectacularly understood. Without this clarity, the movie would not have succeeded as well as it did, portraying the different identities.
The Split Blu-ray includes a number of Bonus Features, including the following:
- An Alternate Ending
- Deleted Scenes: Casey at Party, Meeting Shaw, Shaw Has a Party, Shaw's Date, Girls Talk, Patricia Talks Meat, Casey Tells Her Dad, Hide and Seek with Hedwig, and Maybe We Are Crazy
- The Making of Split: M. Night Shyamalan talks about his life as a filmmaker and the characters, locations of the film, set designs, and the budget.
- The Many Faces of James McAvoy: A look at the masterful performance of James McAvoy and the characters he portrays.
- The Filmmaker's Eye: M. Night Shyamalan: this extra focuses on Shyamalan's way of creating his films.
Split is psycho-drama-thriller that really gets its audience involved with the characters. I was always waiting for the next identity to emerge, which is a testament to McAvoy. Although the plot itself (a mentally ill man kidnapping girls) has been done before and isn't that much of an engaging storyline, the film succeeds because of McAvoy's extraordinary acting skills.