Split (2016) Review

MV5BZTJiNGM2NjItNDRiYy00ZjY0LTgwNTItZDBmZGRlODQ4YThkL2ltYWdlXkEyXkFqcGdeQXVyMjY5ODI4NDk@._V1_SY1000_CR0,0,675,1000_AL_Split (2016) Review

Director: M. Night Shyamalan

Cast:  James McAvoy, Anya Taylor-Joy, Haley Lu Richardson, Jessica Sulu, Betty Buckley

Plot: Three girls, are attacked, and kidnapped by a man, that to their mortal peril, is diagnosed 23 distinct personalities. They must try to escape before a terrifying, new, 24th personality referred to as ‘The Beast’, is unleashed.

Split, written and directed by M. Night Shyamalan, is the second time he has worked with producer Jason Blum of Blumhouse productions. Its safe to say that once again the pairing has worked brilliantly, and created another Thriller/Horror masterpiece. Not only is the script and dialogue just exceptional but the acting performance of James McAvoy is pretty much perfect. It’s beyond anything I’ve ever witnessed, from any actor, ever.

His character has 23 personalities that are all completely different to one another and are all as intense, and in their own sense, terrifying in so many different ways. His personalities, in his head, are laid out to us, like 23 people sitting in a support group meeting, and each of them are fighting inside him, to stand in the light. There are a four of them, that are most prominent through the film.

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(Fashion Designer, – Barry Pictured Right)

The first two have an element of innocence to them. These being 9 year old boy with a lisp called Hedwig, and a fashion designer called Barry.

The next two are the most dangerous of the 23…

 

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They are firstly a man called Dennis. He has the worst possible case of OCD, and is ultra aggressive, and impulsive in his nature. The other is a woman called Miss Patricia who is very unpredictable, extremely firm, and violent at the drop of a hat.

When he appears as Hedwig, he says that Dennis and Miss Patricia keep telling him that the beast is on the move and he is coming to get them. The three girls should be scared because he’s going to come and do horrible things. We also hear Hedwig say that the beast is going to come and protect them, and make them safe. These sentences are very cryptic in their nature but all add up, to one hell of a showdown. Upon meeting the beast, its safe to say, that Hedwig, was absolutely correct, and the three girls, find themselves in a fight for their lives.

The three girls that are captured are also brilliant. Two of the girls are spoiled rich girls and the other is a quiet, reserved girl who keeps very much to herself. The contrast of character traits works really well. The quiet girl is called Casey and is portrayed by Anna Taylor-Joy. Her character, is like a big ball of elastic bands, you can unravel it all you like but you never seem to be able to reach the middle. Throughout the film, we get flashbacks of her as a young girl, and get a real insight into her abusive past. Her character development, like everything in this film, is brilliant.

MV5BZDI2YjgyMzktMzg4NC00ZDA1LTk2YjAtODYzNTI1NzhlNjMwXkEyXkFqcGdeQXVyMjM1NjkwMDI@._V1_There are so many moments of that Shyamalan magic, that only he does so well. What I mean by that is that he doesn’t just jump from A to B. He tells a story and seems to be able to fit it into a feature length film instead of what most could only do, for example, in a 6 part mini series.. And still none of it feels crammed in or rushed. It all fits and its all relevant.

There are so many little things that happen that at first appear insignificant, but then come full circle, and leave you in awe. It’s very cleverly put together. There are scenes with the character Barry, when he goes to see his psychiatrist, that deserve the upmost attention in seeing the magic at work.

The last film M.Night Shyamalan did, called ‘The Visit’, is slow paced and full of building tension akin to a John Carpenter film. Split is the complete polar opposite. It is faced paced and there is always something happening. The tension you would expect is still there, but delivered in a different way. Instead, its more waiting in anticipation of what is going to happen next in this Roller coaster of a film. You’ll experience a range of emotions watching this film. For me, mainly, it was fear, as to what this guy is going to do next, and fear for what the three poor girls are going to be exposed to and how they are going to overpower this person(s).

THE VISIT Available on digital HD on Jan 4th the Blu-Ray & DVD on 18th January 2016

THE VISIT

Available on digital HD on Jan 4th the Blu-Ray & DVD on 18th January 2016

Get ready for some deep dark secrets to be uncovered as a chilling thriller, The Visit is released on Digital HD on 4th January and Blu-Ray™ and DVD on 18th January 2016.

Directed by the notorious horror film figure M. Night Shyamalan (Sixth Sense, Signs, The Village) and produced by Jason Blum (Paranormal Activity, Insidious), The Visit follows a terrifying story of a brother and sister, staring Olivia DeJonge (The Sisterhood of Night & Polarised) and Ed Oxenbould (Paper Planes & Julian), who are sent to their grandparents’, Deanna Dunagan (House of Cards & The Cherokee Word for Water) and Peter McRobbie (Lincoln & Spider-Man 2), remote Pennsylvania farm for a weeklong trip. Once the children discover that the elderly couple are involved in something deeply disturbing, they see their chances of getting back home growing smaller and smaller every day…

The Visit is released on Digital HD on 4th January and Blu-Ray™ and DVD on 18th January 2016, with both formats including an alternate ending. This is a must-have for your horror film collection.

SPECIAL FEATURES
DVD
· Alternate ending
· Deleted scenes

2D BLU-RAY™
· Alternate ending
· Deleted scenes
· The making of The Visit
PRODUCT INFORMATION:
· Title: THE VISIT
· Retail Release Date: Blu-ray™ and DVD 18th January 2016
· Rating: 15
· Retailer SKUs: BD RRP: £24.99 DVD RRP: £19.99
· Running Time: 94 minutes
· Copyright: © 2016 Universal Studios. All Rights Reserved.

The UKHS Ecstasy & Agony Showcase #2 – The Happening (2008) by James Pemberton

UKHS’ Ecstasy & Agony #2:
The Agony of THE HAPPENING (2008) by James Pemberton

thehappening1It’s day two of our special limited run Ecstasy & Agony series, where we UKHS staff take it in turns to dissect a film we love and a film we bloody hate. Following Duane’s glowing appraisal of Dead & Buried yesterday (which you can read HERE), it’s James Pemberton’s turn to step up, with ol ‘ JP letting loose at flop-king M. Night Shyamalan’s clag-a-thon The Crappen- sorry – Happening…

Bad films can be fun and entertaining. Plan 9 From Outer Space, Troll 2 and the more recent The Room generally have a fun appeal to them, especially when you’re watching them with a crowd. There’s a sense of community in viewing something that has been so badly put together– strung up with piss-poor dialogue, acting and special effects– that brings people together in recognising its charm and lack of wanting to be a good film, even though the majority of the directors, where hoping that what they were making would be of some merit.

But when you get films that are just bad, that have no redeeming features and leave you generally confused as to how– and why — they were made… You’re cheated; robbed of time and money. In choosing a film that I hate, though I’d rather use the term “don’t like”, I thought back to an experience of watching a film in the cinema that left me feeling like that.

At first I thought of using the awful 2010 Nightmare On Elm Street, but then I thought it was just a remake after all. Then I thought about the most recent Texas Chainsaw film, the 3D one, but then realised I’d watched that for free. Then I thought back to 2008 when I went to see M. Night Shyamalan’s The Happening; a frustratingly ponderous and awful movie. It sounded good on paper but ended up being, well, just plain awful.

thehappening3Considering I was impressed by some of Shyamalan’s Unbreakable, and felt that his previous films such as The Sixth Sense and Signs had some good elements to them but where pretty flawed for the most part, I was slightly hesitant about watching The Happening at first. But after seeing the trailer and thinking it interesting, I one day found myself going to an afternoon screening, with a slight idea of what was in store.

The story focuses on a mysterious event that, well, happens: when people suddenly stop moving in central park and then start killing themselves, this carry’s on in a well staged scene, where construction workers start throwing themselves off the building they’re currently labouring on. Soon the whole country is affected by this mysterious virus and it’s up to our central characters in the film — a married couple going through a rocky relationship patch, played by Mark Wahlberg and Zooey Deschanel — to avoid what is, erm, happening and figure it all out, meeting various odd ball characters along the way.

So what’s wrong with it? Well, first things first, after seeing it I came out of the cinema feeling confused and wondering just what on earth I have seen, and why the film felt like double its ninety minute run time.
Shyamalan claimed that this film is a fun B-movie. Wrong, on both counts. First of all this is not a B-movie: it had a budget of $48 million. Secondly this is not fun, far from it: it’s slow, inept, badly acted… It’s not fun-bad in the way Troll 2 or The Room is, and a lot of B-movies derive their fun and appeal from cheap effects, and small budgets, as they can possess a certain charm that can be entertaining.

happening4The Happening is and looks professional and everyone in it looks confused or dumbfounded as to what they’re saying. B-movies again can have actors delivering scenery chewing dialogue to great over acted effect; everyone in this film looks stilted. As you watch the film and after the strong opening you end up looking as puzzled as Mark Wahlberg does. It’s absurd dialogue and characters, particularly the nutty home owner Mrs Jones [Betty Buckley] who invites our characters to shelter inside her home and acts almost as crazy as the people outside being affected by the deadly toxin.

Oh yes that’s right, I almost forgot: the threat of this movie is not a monster or some alien being or evil human. It is… Wait for it… SPOILER ALERT… Plants! Yes, plants are releasing a deadly toxin and killing off humans. We get scenes of the threat of plants, when some wind blows towards a group of nearby humans and all they can do is run away from the wind and the stationary plants. Though weirdly it doesn’t affect anyone who gives off ‘good vibes’ which might have been clear on the screenplay but, in the finished film, just doesn’t make sense.

Much of the film on a whole doesn’t make sense. Shyamalan’s proclamation that the film is a ‘fun B-movie’ might have been the reasoning behind the bad dialogue, but rather than ending up camp and over the top it’s just bad. Wahlberg has admitted that he regretted working on the film and it’s not hard to see why. Hopefully deep down Shyamalan knows he’s directed an awful, awful stinker of a movie. Ironically, one of the characters in the film has a Avatar: The Last Airbender backpack, and Shyamalan would go on to direct The Last Airbender film two years later. It’s rubbish too.

thehappening2After watching The Happening again recently in preparation for this article I still find the film clunky, annoying, slow and with a script with lines that sound like they could be delivered with more gravitas by the worst local amateur dramatics society you could find. Admittedly seeing it again it’s not as painful as the first time (when I saw it at the cinema I got that bored that I started counting how many emergency lights where on in the auditorium), but it still leaves me feeling confused as to what’s going on, how long this will last and how has this been made. So much so that I left it running whilst I got up to make a cup of tea and go to the toilet.

I’ve seen The Room about fifteen plus times. I think I’ll leave my Happening viewership at just two.