Let’s go back to around six years ago, right around the time that The Last Airbender became what’s probably the worst film of this current decade to break $100 million at the box office. If asked then whether you thought that M. Night Shyamalan would eventually see a career revival, would you have believed it? Probably not.
And yet, here we are; after the unexpected artistic and financial success of The Visit, the former “next Spielberg” will continue to rekindle his onetime knack for thrillers. Shyamalan’s next feature, Split, stars James McAvoy as Kevin, a man with 23 different personalities he cycles between, who abducts three teenage girls (including Anya Taylor-Joy, of The Witch) and sequesters them away in his basement. There, the girls are forced to learn how to interact with Kevin’s various personae, in hopes of escaping before the worst of them (known as the “Beast”) is let loose. The film’s second trailer highlights just a few of those personalities, and the madness audiences can expect from Shyamalan’s latest.
The film, which premiered by surprise at this year’s Fantastic Fest, has already received strong early buzz, particularly about McAvoy’s chamelonic performance. (Our Marten Carlson found that “Even when the film falters on a storytelling level, Split is one further step for Shyamalan on the road to cinematic redemption.”) Split will be released in theaters on January 20th.