M. Night Shyamalan burst onto the film scene in 1999 with The Sixth Sense; his results since then have been, to put it nicely, mixed. I did like last year’s The Visit, a campy minor romp. But it’s clear he’s no creative genius, no Quentin Tarantino or P.T. Anderson — nor anything close. As evidence we have Split, a movie more ambitious than Shyamalan’s ken. A lot of elements he grasps at sour into hackneyed nonsense.
On top of that, Split wasn’t nearly as dramatic as it had every right to be. Given the premise, there were a million more interesting ways it could have gone. But instead, it went the I-am-out-of-my-depth-with-storywriting way. There are obvious comparisons to 10 Cloverfield Lane. We weren’t dealing with multiple personalities there, but the psychosis was much more effective. Split delivered a little transient entertainment value — James McAvoy turns in a fun game with the lead. But the effort is squandered by Shyamalan, and I cannot recommend. 5/10