Split Review

Split Review

Skip Stevens, The Reporter

Ever since the days of Alfred Hitchcock, Psychological Thrillers have been a big part of the movie world. Films like Seven and The Shining have been successful at putting moviegoers on the edge of their seats (or behind the protection of a blanket) for a long time, and M. Knight Shyamalan’s film Split continues that pattern of expectation and fright. However, while Split may appear as just another thriller, the messaging contained within the narrative demonstrates, yet again, how Hollywood promotes new ways of thinking to the masses of the world through the means of fiction.

WARNING: (spoiler alert)

The film starts off with the abduction of three adolescent girls by a man named Kevin, played by James McAvoy, an individual suffering from multiple personality disorder (MPD), who then imprisons the girls in a well kept, albeit creepy, basement where they are to be kept and preserved as “food” for a mysterious creature he calls The Beast.

As the plot progresses, it is made known that the personality of Kevin no longer has “the light” in his physical body and mind, but has been repressed and replaced by three of his other, “stronger” personalities: Denise, Hedwig, and Patricia.

The girls, two of which (Hannah and Claire) are close friends while the other girl (Casey)  obviously has no acquaintance with the others, scheme to escape while they are simultaneously forced to interact with the three “strong” personalities manifesting in Kevin’s body throughout the course of the movie.

All the while, Denise pretends to be another of Kevin’s twenty other personalities upon attending his weekly visits with his therapist Dr. Fletcher, played by Betty Buckley.

These seven characters are the only people we see for a large portion of the film. And that’s by no means a bad thing. The overall cast is very well put together. The characters compliment each other well, and the interaction between each of them, particularly the many different personalities of Kevin, is by far the movie’s greatest strength and prompts the majority of the film’s suspense.

But, however, with that interaction and dialogue comes the deeper undertone of the film’s main message. This propaganda, whether noticed or unnoticed, is actually spiritual at its core, and can be very closely correlated to the warnings and depictions of a specific time mentioned in the Holy Bible. Allow me to explain.

In the movie, Patricia, one of Kevin’s personalities, explains to the girls how (s)he was able to abduct them. (S)he demonstrates through dialogue that the girls are popular, wealthy, and haven’t need to worry about many, if any, serious problems manifesting in their lives. Patricia goes on to assert that it was this very comfort/pride that caused a blindness to be cast over the girls’ eyes, thus, inhibiting them to be aware of even the possibility of their capture by a person or evil. The girls were, as Patricia said, “asleep”.

Kevin’s personalities, on the other hand, believe that The Beast, yet another personality hidden deep within Kevin’s psyche, is awake, i.e. enlightened, in every aspect of human capabilities. These assertions are confirmed by Dr. Fletcher when she gives her lecture to her class and makes statements that promote the possibility of “unending human potential” being the source of all ideas pertaining to religion and spirituality throughout the entire history of the human race.

And these themes are promoted throughout the whole course of the film.

But where does the Bible fit in?

Well, the Bible depicts a future time where many people in this world will be ensnared by a strong deception. It says that in that era of time people will desire and love “pleasure” rather than the “truth” and the hard facts of reality. It says that in those days people would be “lovers of their own selves”. It says that the love of many people “will grow cold” when it comes to natural affection held toward one another. And this hunger for self-consumption (comfort) and self-worship (pride), The Bible explains, will cause those same people to become susceptible, or asleep, to the deceptions of the devil himself.

And conveniently, another name for the devil can be found in the last book of The Bible, the book of Revelations, where the devil is literally referred to as The Beast.

These points are very similar to those made in the film.

And to go even further, it says in the same book that The Beast will perform “many signs and wonders” and will convince people to believe on him rather than the God of the Bible.

In one of the last scenes of the movie we see Hedwig and Denise, Kevin’s personalities, conversing with each other in front of a mirror examining guns wounds brought upon his body that are healed while The Beast had “the light”. After some awe and wonder about the miraculous deed, Hedwig says, “We have to follow him now. Just look what he can do!” Correlation?  

Not to mention that in the Bible the devil says to humanity, “ye shall be as Gods”, which ties in very closely with the idea of an unlimited potential of human development spoken about earlier in the movie. Because for a human being to be evolved to a perfect state, is to literally be on par with the being of a god. That’s some deep symbology.

At the end of the day, Split is a very good film when it comes to cinema. Driven by great characters, a good plot, and a pace that keeps the viewers on the edge of their seat waiting for more, the film captures everything that a modern Thriller should. These things, however, do not at all conceal, or even attempt to conceal, the manifestation of the biblical symbology evident in the film’s main agenda.