This is definitely more of a thoughts than a review. If you’d like to read my spoiler free review of the film, then I will link it here. However, this particular post will SPOIL THE CRAP OUT OF THIS MOVIE! So, if you have not seen it, don’t read this, unless you don’t care. This also might be long lol, I just have to talk!!
Characters.So I’m going to go a bit more into depth about some of them, not all of them because I don’t need to go into depth with everyone. I mainly want to focus on James McAvoy’s characters.
He is very much a meticulous person. He stands up straight, wears glasses, a black button down shirt that is to his neck, black pants and he’s very… clean. He has OCD, is very orderly, clean, he freaks out if something is dirty… he’s quite meticulous. There is a scene where he comes into the girls’ room and it looked like he was going to clean their bathroom but he freaks out about it being dirty. It was kind of funny because as far as we know, they’ve only been there a day and he’s already distraught that it’s dirty. He even tells them how to clean it and color coordinated their cleaning products.
He also spends majority of the time pretending to be “Barry” when he goes to see Dr. Fletcher. I thought it was interesting because when we first see “Barry”, he has this Boston (I think) accent and he seems to be very extroverted, into fashion. So when he’s in the office, trying to reassure her, he’s compulsively straightening items in her office. I remember going… so… why is he doing that? Does he have OCD too or is that “Dennis” faking it? I was right, total faker, it just seemed to weird to have two personalities with the same disorder. He was there to let her know everything was fine as the other personalities would take over for a moment to email the doctor. She is a bit suspicious but he manages to pull it off the first couple of times even though she asks. I think she should have been more suspicious.
We learn that he likes to watch young girls dance naked, which is why when he first enters their room, he studies each of them and manhandles Marcia out of the room. It’s also because of his OCD and his cleanliness that he freaks out and sends her back when she pees on herself (after being told by Casey to do so). I mean, he really freaked out about that.
Later, Dr. Fletcher manages to get “Dennis” to be honest about parading in her office as “Barry” due to his disorder giving him away. She’s never met him as the others have kept him from the light. They have a very interesting conversation where we learn quite a bit. Kevin was physically abused as a child as a three year old. His mother was also had Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, it was around this time when “Dennis” was created. He was there to protect Kevin, he’s the tallest and strongest of the personalities. Dr. Fletcher picks up on all of that, especially after learning a lot of about “Dennis” from “Barry” who is the leader of the personalities. Apparently, Dennis had been banished from the light (to take control of Kevin) because of his naked dancing girls thing.
We don’t see a lot of her, but she’s also interesting. James McAvoy refers to her as a “kinky nun” in his interviews, which I find hilarious. She’s an older British woman. She treats “Dennis” and “Hedwig” like the’re younger than her (I mean “Hedwig” of course is but ya know what I’m saying), so I would assume she’s older.
She first is introduced when the girls wake up, they can hear her arguing with “Dennis” outside of their door. They can see her clothing through the crack of the door. Of course, they assume it’s a woman. I love their expressions when she opens the door. She’s the one who first mentions why they’re there. We learn from Dr. Fletcher that “Patricia” was also banned from the light due to her beliefs. Since things are revealed as the film goes on, that question is answered later thanks to what is learned from “Hedwig” and “Dennis”. There is supposed to be a 24th personality called “the Beast” who is a culmination of the personalities (willingly or not) and will arrive by train.
There is one scene where I was a little confused about “Patricia”. After having a girl’s moment with Marcia and Casey, she brushes and puts flowers in their hair, she takes them into the kitchen for sandwiches. She uses a steak knife to spread the mayo, she tapped the knife on the top of the jar and scraped it (like she was trying to get access mayo off of the knife, even though there wasn’t any). She freaks out when she her cut is crooked, like really freaks out. So, I couldn’t help but wonder if that was “Dennis” pretending to be “Patricia” or if he reacted badly to the crooked sandwich cut and took over for a split second. We didn’t see anything indicated from “Patricia” about her being anal over something like that… so it was curious to me.
The next time we actually “see” her is when they buy flowers to welcome “The Beast” and “Dennis” is in control, but it switches (masterfully thanks to a eye twitch by James McAvoy letting us know that “Patricia” does not need glasses) to “Patricia”. She welcomes the train and I think “Dennis” took back over to get on the train. My theory is that since “Patricia” seems to be the one who started this whole “Beast” thing, she wanted to be the one to “welcome” him but “Dennis” is the strongest and biggest so it makes more sense for him to be the one who welcomes “the Beast”.
Again, my favorite personality. He’s a nine year old boy and he’s first introduced when Casey wakes up. Claire and Marcia are looking at the door afraid, and “Hedwig” comes into focus.
“My name’s Hedwig and I have red socks.” My name’s Olaf and I like warm hugs lol.
Casey immediately asks him how old he is, she tries to talk him into trusting them by asking him questions and getting him talking, “I just ate a hotdog” lol. He tells them what their purpose is for being there. He makes mention of a “Beast” and how they are special, et cetera (which is also his favorite phrase). He explains how the identities are set up in Kevin’s mind, how they’re in a room with chairs and there is a spotlight for the identity in control. “Barry” is usually the one who regulates who steps into the light to take over, but he’s figured out a way to keep “Barry” in his chair. Doing this, allows “Dennis” and “Patricia” to come into the light. Apparently, the other identities never really let him “come out to play” because he was bad and they made fun of him et cetera. So basically, he’s been the one controlling who goes into the light and he’s on “Dennis” and “Patricia”‘s side because they are nice to him.
Next time we see him, Casey wakes up and he’s in the bed with her (I think he was “Dennis” the night before). He asks her if he can kiss her (he wanted to kiss Marcia but she’s in trouble) and it’s awkward “you might be pregnant now” lol. “Hedwig” starts talking about his CD player, he likes to dance to Kanye West (I think) and that it’s next to his window. Casey talks him into taking her to his room to show her his CD player. He’s unsure of it at first but she convinces him. They go to his room and he puts on music and starts to dance.
This is my favorite scene of the movie… it starts off funny (people were laughing, my younger brother was cracking up) but I started to get uncomfortable as the dance went on. I didn’t know the story behind it *** but it was weird and I stopped laughing to just watch him. It’s this moment that I started to think that though “Hedwig” is a child, he’s probably the most sinister and menacing out of the three we’ve seen so far. Casey asks about the window, turns out it’s just a drawing. Then shows her a walkie talkie that she tries to use to contact the other person- it’s “Dennis’s” and “Hedwig” stole it. He tries to take it back from her but she punches him and is trying to talk to the idiot on the other line, “Hedwig” tries to attack but when the camera pans back on him, it’s no longer “Hedwig”.
We see him again later at the end, when “Dennis”, “Patricia” and “Hedwig” are all talking while looking in the mirror.
***In an interview, Shyamalan said that if you pay attention to the dance, it’s telling a story. He wrote in the script that it’s like the beginning of a dance battle, and James McAvoy created this dance where “Hedwig” is telling about a zombie who bites someone’s neck, they die and they come back to life. Rewatching that scene with that knowledge, definitely puts it into perspective and so much creepier.
Okay, this is where I feel like the movie will be made or broken for some people. “Dennis”, “Patricia” and “Hedwig” believe that a 24th personality is going to manifest in Kevin which is a “Beast”. His body will change, he will manifest superhuman speed, strength, resilience and agility (similar to actual animals). They go on the train and become the “Beast”. Sooooo he kills Dr. Fletcher (She went to the house after receiving like 50 million emails from “Barry”) and she tried to save the girls but is killed. Claire and Marcia try to escape their cells, but the “Beast” kills them both. Casey finds the doctor’s corpse and finds the note she wrote on before the “beast” comes to devour her. She learned that saying Kevin’s full name “Kevin Wendell Crumb” brings Kevin to the light. He’s out for like 2 minutes, he sees the doctor, Casey tells him he killed her and he tells her to shoot him. The other identities take over to talk her out of killing them, switching back and forth until the “beast” returns and attacks. The beast tells her (after she shoots him point blank with no affect) that he wants to rid the world of the impure, those who never suffered in their life but he sees her scars, says she is pure and runs away.
So, in terms of the flashbacks from the movie, while I thought they were randomly brought in, I get their reasons. It shows Casey as a child with her father and uncle on a hunting trip. The first few scenes show her learning from her father, or just enjoying their company. All of that indicates why she’s so calm under pressure, or how she knows how to tell Marcia to pee on herself when “Dennis” takes her out of the room first. It’s obvious she’s scared but she remains the most level headed out of the girls. She’s a survivor and thanks to the flashbacks, it wasn’t hard to tell what she survived. As the film progresses, we see her interact with each identity. “Dennis” likes to take their clothing if it’s dirty and he keeps taking her shirts but she has on so many layers that unlike Marcia and Claire, she doesn’t end up half naked. “Patricia” in a weird way, likes to be with the girls because she is a woman and she likes to revel in their femininity (by brushing their hair and putting flowers in their hair etc.) Casey has the idea to befriend “Hedwig” and it works for the most part until she takes it too far and goes with him to his room, and sees that the window he’s talking about was a hand drawn one.
We see a few more flashbacks, one where her uncle gets her to play a game with him, that required taking off their clothes… which implies he molested her as a child. It helps put a lot of her character into perspective in a way the other girls just can’t be. So when the “Beast” appears and pursues her… it ends in a different way then it did for the others.
Pain is Purity
We learn the “Beast” is created because they want to rid of the world of the impure, of those people who do not know pain. We learn that “Dennis” stalked Claire and Marcia for a long time and concluded that they did not know pain which makes them perfect sacrifices. Casey just happened to be with them, he didn’t plan on her being there, so when the “Beast” pursues her, he stops once he sees the scars on her body. He says she’s pure and he leaves her to live.
What I find interesting is just how he deduces a person’s pain. Just because a person carries themselves a certain way doesn’t mean they aren’t in pain. I suppose he was looking for some sort of physical marker but I found that interesting.
Later, a worker finds Casey huddled in the room, he leads out of her the underground building and it turns out they were under a zoo, Kevin has been living under a zoo. She passes the stupid security man on the other side of that walkie talkie***. They find the other bodies in the basement. Casey sits in a police car and a policewoman tells her that her Uncle is there, Casey gives her this look that makes the policewoman kind of recoil. It looked like she might finally tell someone what he’s been doing.
*** Now about this security guard… imagine being on duty at a zoo, someone radios you. They sound terrified, they tell you they were kidnapped, what their name is… but you think it’s a joke?? Is there no tv in your office? The news reported on these girls being missing, even said their names. I mean, seriously? If it was me, I would ask them to tell me where they are, and I would google the name (in case I didn’t see the news or any sort of internet anything) and then call the police. Why would you think someone was pranking you like that? That’s not funny. Idiot.
I really don’t even want to call this a twist because I watched an interview where Shyamalan said he hated that he was associated with “twists” but like I said in my regular review… it kind of is for people who know his previous work. It was really hard trying to talk about it without actually giving it away but this movie is connected to Unbreakable, another Shymalan film with Bruce Willis and Samuel L. Jackson. This is learned, at the end. There is a diner, the news is talking about Kevin and his multiple identities, how many he has, how the newest one seems to be a mashup of the very predatory animals in the zoo where he worked and they’re calling him “The Horde”. A woman reacts to this news, that it sounds familiar to some years ago with a man in a wheelchair and ‘what was his name?’, Bruce Willis answers her ‘Mr. Glass’ and she’s all ‘yeah!’.
I went OHHHHHH wow. I’ve never seen Unbreakable but I know enough about it to know who Mr. Glass is and what that person is to Bruce Willis so the movie made a bit more sense to me. If you have no idea what that movie is, then whatever you think of the movie will probably remain.
If you like it, then that won’t change because you didn’t know about the tie in regardless.
If you don’t like it, then that won’t change either because the tie in means nothing.
If you know Unbreakable then your thoughts might change.
It may have started out good, got stupid with the “beast” thing but now you know so exciting!
Split is an origin story to a villain in this superhero universe Shymalan created 16 years ago. I definitely need to watch Unbreakable. I watched in an interview that he created Kevin years ago, but he was finally able to revisit him now which I think is awesome considering the world of comic book movies we live in now. This would be pretty original and I’m excited to see where it goes next.
I still really like this movie lol.
After reading this spoiler review, did your thoughts change? What do you think now? Let me know in the comments below!