The first time I heard of “Split” was while watching a football game on TV.
The preview played, my friends and I grew excited, and we made plans to see the most recent M. Night Shyamalan film.
The second time I heard of “Split” was while in line to see “Hidden Figures.”
The Saturday night showings of the horror/thriller flick were sold out, and droves of people—of all ages—were disappointedly returning to their cars.
My friends and I became interested again, and definitely decided to see the movie the next weekend.
The third time I heard of “Split” was while sitting in the theater of the Saturday night showing, the seats three-quarters filled.
My friends and I were thrilled as the previews finished and the opening credits rolled on screen, and then…we just watched your average movie.
I am a person who wants to be scared when attending a horror film.
“Split” was not scary.
It was a disturbing movie with a mentally unstable man who makes you more uncomfortable than afraid, and a series of pretentious psychological comments meant to explain the situation but succeeding only in confusing the vast amount of audience members who do not understand the lingo.
Don’t get me wrong—it wasn’t an awful movie.
It just wasn’t great. In essence, a man with multiple personality disorder (in layman’s terms) kidnaps three girls and keeps them locked up in some sort of building where they cannot escape.
The girls initially suspect he will rape them, and for a while the movie leads you to believe that this is indeed the case—the girls repeatedly are asked to remove articles of clothing, and the psychiatrist claims that one of the man’s alter egos (referred to with various names to fit his various identities) likes to see young women dance naked.
Like most M. Night Shyamalan films, there was a plot twist that really made you rethink the story, and perhaps mental health as a whole.
The trouble came with the ending.
I am obligated by social norms to refrain from giving it away, but think about it for a moment: a box-office hit with a lot of media hype.
You would expect a killer (no pun intended) ending to give closure (or unbearable suspense, as often is custom) or leave you with a feeling of mortal dread.
At least, when I attend a horror film, I expect this. Instead, what I, and the rest of the audience, got was that feeling of dread and anticipation…and then a very confusing final scene.
It was not until my friends and I were driving home, desperately reading reviews and summaries online, that we realized—if you haven’t seen Shyamalan’s 2000 film “Unbreakable,” you will be so completely and irrevocably lost when the end credits roll out.