(Warning: Spoilers ahead)
There are multiple films that use the condition of dissociative identity disorder to tell the story like ‘Shutter Island’ or ‘Me, Myself, and Irene’. M. Night Shyamalan’s latest film ‘Split’ follows Kevin, played by James McAvoy, as he deals with the other 22 personalities as he abducts three teens who would be used as a sacrifice for another personality looming in his mind.
The film started with promise but became weird fast as we begin to learn about each of the personalities with one of them, Dennis, having a thing for watching under aged girls dance naked for him. With this character, his obsession with cleanliness leads to the undressing of the teens into their underwear.
Just when you thought it couldn’t get any more uncomfortable, the scenes following five-year-old Casey, played by Izzie Coffey, takes it to another level. the flashback scenes follow her, her father, and her uncle as they teach her how to hunt, which helps her deal with Kevin’s disorder. In the middle of the film, while the father sleeps in the tent, the uncle, played by Brad William Henke, is half naked in the middle of the forest telling the five-year-old “This is our game” and tells her to take off her clothes like animals. With the death of her father, the uncle then takes guardianship of Casey as it explains why she is standoffish to her peers.
When Hedwig takes the spotlight and asked to kiss Casey, Ana Taylor-Joy, it continues to get weird even though it is a film and they’re both of age. But what does this film say about the connection between D.I.D. and pedophilia?
Studies show that people who experience abuse as a child, as Dennis tells us Kevin has suffered when he was younger, develops these tendencies for children. Maybe the film can be used to explain the behaviors of molesters or people suffering from the disorder but with 23 personalities, the Dennis character could’ve been one kept in the shadows.
With the film stressing the idea multiple personalities, we’re introduced to the same four; Hedwig, a 9 year old; Barry, the fashionista; Patrica, the mother-like character, and Dennis, the neat freak. The abductees in the film only met three of the personalities with the exception of Casey who spoke to Kevin.
Nonetheless, ‘Split’ is a thriller with a build up that explains why each personality is preparing for what’s to come next. Overlooking the idea of pedophilia in the film, it is still one worth seeing.