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Previewing M. Night Shyamalan’s horror delight ‘Split’

James McAvoy has 23 creepy personalities in this new trailer for M. Night Shyamalan’s ‘Split’.
James McAvoy has 23 creepy personalities in this new trailer for M. Night Shyamalan’s ‘Split’.

NEW YORK, Jan 15 — The latest movie from the writer and director behind The Sixth Sense indicates that his return to form continues beyond The Visit and Wayward Pines, as Split prepares to wreak a terrifying — and controversial — multiple personality tale upon cinema audiences from the week January 20 onwards.

Who’s in it and what’s it about?

James McAvoy stars as Kevin, a man who holds some 23 distinct personalities within him. One of them (or, at least one, who knows) has succeeded in kidnapping three young women for whatever reason and it’s up to them to escape before it’s too late.

McAvoy comes in from the Chronicles of Narnia and X-Men franchises, as well as award-winning performances in The Last King of Scotland, Filth and Atonement.

Co-starring opposite is Anya Taylor-Joy as Casey, having broken through in 2016 with appearances in another supernatural thriller The Witch, sci-fi horror Morgan and Presidential biopic Barry.

Haley Lu Richardson (The Edge of Seventeen) and Jessica Sula (Recovery Road, Skins) also feature as Casey’s kidnapped friends.

Tony award winner Betty Buckley (Broadway’s original run of Cats and Shyamalan’s previous The Happening, among many other appearances) is on hand as Kevin’s psychiatrist, Dr. Fletcher.

Who’s behind it?

M. Night Shyamalan was a revelation when he wrote and directed 1999 hit The Sixth Sense. Subsequent films were received less and less well (despite usually making good box office) but 2015’s The Visit and TV series Wayward Pines proved to be a turning point, with a smaller cast and claustrophobic location working to his strengths.

Here he directs and, as he has done with all his feature films since 2000’s Unbreakable, writes and produces as well, but the way that Split stigmatises mental health disorders has come in for criticism from advocacy groups.

Is it any good?

Preview screenings at Fantastic Fest and the AFI Fest towards the tail end of 2016 have contributed to a career high aggregated Metacritic review score of 71/100 and a “Sixth Sense”-era Rotten Tomatoes approval rating of 82 per cent.

A touch over 900 user reviews on IMDb have resulted in a 7.5/10 weighted average a week ahead of international release.

When’s it out?

The R-rated horror is set for general worldwide release the week of January 20, the day of which it opens in the USA, Canada, the UK and Ireland, Hong Kong, and several countries in eastern Europe and Scandinavia.

The Philippines gets it from January 18, Singapore, Malaysia and the Netherlands from January 19, Denmark and Germany from January 26, and Spain from January 27.

Remaining dates include Argentina from February 2, France from February 22, Russia from March 16 and Brazil from March 23. — AFP-Relaxnews

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