If taken as a stand-alone film with no ties to previous M. Night Shyamalan movies, "Split" is an attention-grabbing thriller with a psychological angle that keeps you intrigued. However, it loses some credibility in the third act when it endeavors to veer away from reality and take us in a supernatural direction. Fine performances from all the actors lends some redemption to the weaker points of the film.
Even though the "twist ending" makes complete sense when putting it in perspective as a sequel or companion-piece to one of the director's previous works, it still feels tacked on and unnecessary. Actually, it almost stinks of a desperate attempt to tie it to one of his earlier and more favored films. Let's face it. The only way Shyamalan is going to give the audience a surprising twist ending these days is if he doesn't give us a surprising twist ending.
While the mental divisions of those with dissociative identity disorder have long fascinated and eluded science, it is believed that some can also manifest unique physical attributes for each personality, a cognitive and physiological prism within a single being. Though Kevin has evidenced 23 personalities to his trusted psychiatrist, Dr. Fletcher, there remains one still submerged who is set to materialize and dominate all the others. Compelled to abduct three teenage girls led by the willful, observant Casey, Kevin reaches a war for survival among all of those contained within him - as well as everyone around him - as the walls between his compartments shatter apart in "Split."
"Split" is rated PG-13 for disturbing thematic content and behavior, violence and some language. There are heavy suggestions of child molestation which might disturb folks. My only other issue is that Shyamalan feels it necessary to parade around what are supposed to be teenage girls in their underwear. There are other ways to show how disturbed our kidnapper is without exhibiting young girl's bodies, even if the actors are actually of age.