Split Image


By Anthony Ray Bench | January 21, 2017

This is the fourth time I’ve tried writing this f*****g review. Both previous attempts have just devolved into an impassioned rant about how M. Night Shyamalan can go f**k himself with the fury of a million fists… Sorry, I need to calm down. Split is the latest from writer/director M. Night Shyamalan. Look, if you’ve seen anything else from Shyamalan, you should know what to expect with this; there’s weird, unnaturally stiff acting from our leads, an interesting story that is ultimately made silly by fake science, and characters that do things no real human being on Earth would do. Also, you know there’s probably going to be a twist. Shyamalan is the filmmaking equivalent of Limp Bizkit; in the late 90’s and early 2000’s he was someone the mainstream actually respected. We look back at his work and all of the things we used to praise him for now make us cringe. It’s fun to think back to a time where we gave Fred Durst and his band actual “prestigious” music awards just like it’s fun to think back to a time where Newsweek proudly proclaimed Shyamalan as the next Steven Spielberg.

I’m feeling like I just have get this out of the way; Split features an utterly pointless scene heavily implying the incestuous rape of a five-year old. I’m no prude, I’ve seen my fair share of graphic content; go and watch any Game of Thrones episode and you’re very likely to see something vile and unsettling. I’ve watched films that have dealt with incest before too; Angel Heart and Oldboy are two films that spring to mind. I can handle the goriest of gory, I can handle the most graphic of rape scenes, and I can tolerate films that touch upon the completely taboo…but the way this scene was shot crosses so many lines that those involved should be ashamed of themselves.

Let me breakdown the scene for you; our main character, Cassie (played by Anya Taylor-Joy) has flashbacks to a hunting trip throughout the movie. During one of the flashbacks, her Uncle (played by Brad William Henke) pleads with young Cassie, (played by Izzie Coffey) to take off her clothes and play a game called “Animals” with him. He states that they’ve done it plenty of times before, and she likes it. He gets on all fours, dressed down to just his underwear, and he starts grunting in a sexual manner. F**k this movie, and f**k M. Night Shyamalan. This scene goes beyond levels of creepy and unsettling, and straight into fetishizing child rape. I’ve never wanted to walk out of any movie more so in my life.

The worst part is, this repulsive scene is almost completely unnecessary. It has very little impact on the plot and characters. Okay, I’ll ease up on my outrage and I’ll try to give a rundown of the rest of the movie; James McAvoy plays a character with Dissociative identity disorder; he has 24 different personalities, all of them vying for various degrees of control, but you only encounter four or five of them. Why doesn’t he have just four or five? I honestly don’t know; it seems extremely wasteful not to take advantage of the other 20. Anyway, McAvoy’s character abducts three teenage girls who are all bland. They all lack any defining characteristics with the exception of the aforementioned Cassie, who, through an exposition dump, we find out is antisocial. McAvoy’s cavalcade of personalities wants to prepare the girls for the coming of The Beast; a never before unleashed personality the other personalities speak about ominously. As much as I would love to just spoil the s**t out of this in a selfless act with the intention of mercifully saving you the time and money you’ll never get back from this bullshit movie, I’m not going to spoil anymore. Is there a twist ending? Sure, there’s a 30 second post credit scene that admittedly gives the audience a crowd pleasing twist that will (probably) payoff sometime in the future, but as for twists in the actual movie? No, not really. It has a flimsy premise, and it’s chock-full of the usual M. Night Shyamalan movie staples; stiff and unnatural acting, distracting M. Night Shyamalan cameo (I rolled my eyes for the two consecutive minutes that he appeared on screen for), silly pseudo scientific explanations that make no sense if you think about it for more than a few seconds, and of course a ton of ham-fisted symbolism that will only make sense to the very delusional Shyamalan. Never forget that Shyamalan is a the kind of person who wants us to constantly think about how deep and ingenious he is just like we used to back in 1999.

Without that creepy rape scene, this movie would be barely passable. It’s what you expect from the filmmaker behind The Happening and The Village; the strengths lie in the premise and the scenery, not the characters or the execution of said premise. M. Night Shyamalan isn’t content with just bringing us a passable movie, he has to tack on a disgusting incestuous and pedophilic subplot that has no satisfying payoff, and thusly leads me to believe that there is no other reason for it existing aside from M. Night Shyamalan getting off on depicting the victimization of a five-year old child. Maybe I’m just too squeamish, and it won’t rattle other people like it rattled me; whatever. You can’t argue that there were a billion better ways to make his points and tell his story, ones that don’t involve a grown man on all fours grunting like an animal.

Split (2017) Directed by: M. Night Shyamalan. Written by: M. Night Shyamalan. Starring: James McAvoy, Betty Buckley, Brad William Henke, Anya Taylor-Joy, Jessica Sula

1 out of 10

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  1. Justin says:

    Sure, this movie wasn’t great but the over the top reaction of this review is kind of extreme. For me, literally the very first time they show her in the woods with her Dad and her brother I turned to my wife and said “Oh, that dude’s totally going to rape her.” and then, yes, it was strongly alluded to, but there was never any child nudity or even a portrayal of the act… I mean, if they had done THAT or the girl was actually disrobed or something I’d be like “WHOA CROSSES THE LINE!” but it’s a throwaway line tossed out by a half naked guy and then they cut. I mean, are we supposed to just completely deny that child sexual abuse exists so that everyone can just smile and be happy about stuff? How exactly did you want her to end up psychologically destroyed and tortured and what not if it wasn’t from child abuse? School bullying? I don’t know, sure it was an ugly moment but I think your reaction is WAY out of line with the scene itself. Also, is this the first movie that has recognized child abuse exists or used it as a means of character building? I doubt it.

    Anyway, still not a great movie but it was worth seeing for McAvoy’s performance alone, that guy is a tour de force. After this go watch “Filth” and you’ll be a fan.

  2. Marquis De Sade says:

    the movie was half assed and the twist was obvious before the 20 minute mark. I would say total disappointment , but can it really be if my expectation were only that it be better than the sound of my off balance garbage disposal. Suddenly that somewhat broken machine doesn’t sound so bad anymore.

  3. alex head says:

    Worst review I have ever read in my life. IQ<100 GUARANTEED! Don't quit your day job (this obviously can't be it with 324 followers on Twitter). This idiot is the reason Rotten Tomatoes has started to lose its credibility, and I trust the audience score over the critic one now. I mean honestly, how this guy got into critiquing movies in the first place baffles me. If you'd like to see how a movie review should sound read this: http://www.newyorker.com/culture/richard-brody/the-real-spoiler-in-m-night-shyamalans-split Anthony Ray Bench: (spoiler alert it will explain the reason the rape scene was in there, but I have a reason that will go over your head too)

  4. hijojojooo says:

    you are a s**t critic

  5. James says:

    lol did your uncle make you play ‘Animals’ or something? Jeeeeze.

  6. Jack says:

    Surely you can’t call this a review of the movie as a whole if you’re so hung up about one detail. And if you actually paid attention to the film, instead of just sitting there thinking of this one scene, you would realize there is a pay-off for it, albeit one that’s implied. I have never seen a more incompetent “critic” in my life.

    • Yourmom says:

      It worries me that he thinks so much about that one scene >_>. In any case, this could have been 2 hours of black screen and the ending would have been worth it. Stop reviewing movies, you self-hating pedophile.

  7. Angelo Pilato says:

    Never wanted to disagree with the review more so in my life.

  8. chris says:

    you should be ashamed to call yourself a film critic. not to say this was some magnificent movie by any means, but your “analysis” is pure knee jerk reactionist trash. its like you havent the most rudimentary understanding of film, plot, or characters.

    im so disheartened by your level of incompentence in this review, all i can say is that i take consolation in the fact that this film made you so miserable. f**k you, you hack writer.

    • Rob says:

      I agree with this review. This movie is overrated. There wasn’t no reason to have this back story with the main character with regards to her being molested and not have any closure. This scene could have been eliminated and you would still have the same move. I am very let down by this movie.

      This movie was horrible and I agree 100% with this critic. Most of the reviews criticizing the review or movie are made by uneducated individuals with limited vocabulary.

  9. Jeff valentine says:

    You absolutely right,none sense cheap cost movie.

  10. Peter Miranda says:

    love your review of this. can definitely relate to your opinions.

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