A Look at the Movies

Rated PG-13

1 hour 50 minutes

James McAvoy, Haley Lu Richardson, Betty Buckley

CHICOPEE, Mass. (WWLP) – There’s something creepy about a guy with twenty three distinctly different personalities, all of them crazy.

“Split” is the work of prolific writer-director M. Night Shyamalan, who in the past twenty years has made some good shockers and some bad ones. “Split” is one of his better psychological thrillers. Just why is this lunatic holding three terrified young women in his underground bunker?

The film hinges, or should I say unhinges, on James McAvoy’s sterling performance, or performances, as the multi-personality nut case. He keeps the women in perpetual terror. They have no idea what’s coming next, and as the suspense kicks in, neither do we.

Psychiatrist Betty Buckley would prefer knowing, at least for insurance purposes, which lunatic she’s dealing with at any given moment.

It’s only when the personality disorder psycho flies off the handle, that we’re treated to a few thrills and chills. I wish there were more, but Shyamalan may have felt a screaming audience was below his dignity.

In its place, he prefers to keep us, and his frightened captives, guessing what comes next. “Split” keeps you in suspense without delivering enough shock treatment. Still, there are those skin crawling moments when 23 personalities merge into 3 stars.

I’d be two-faced if I told you “Split” wasn’t a well done thriller.