Archive for M Night Shyamalan

Review: Split (2016)

Posted in Review with tags , , , , , , , , , on February 28, 2017 by Xander Woolf


Directed by: M. Night Shyamalan
Starring: James McAvoy, Anya Taylor-Joy, Haley Lu Richardson

What’s it about?
Split follows a man named Kevin (McAvoy) who has Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID). One of his alternative identities kidnaps three teenaged girls in an effort to sacrifice them to “The Beast.” The three girls must find their way out while Kevin’s other alters work to either help or hinder the alter responsible.

What did I think?
I’ve got to be honest with you, I had no idea this was an M. Night Shyamalan movie until my boyfriend and I went to go see it opening weekend. I’m not on my game lately. I have to tell you, though, my assertion in my review of The Visit is still true: M. Night Shyamalan is back.

The acting was superb. James McAvoy’s ability to switch between Kevin’s alters within seconds is just astounding. Anya Taylor-Joy also brings an amazing performance to the table, which can only be expected after her excellent acting in The Witch.

The premise is terrifying, even if problematic. In a time when society is struggling to end the stigma against mental illness, M. Night Shyamalan releases a movie where the villain is a villain because he has DID. This can be harmful to the perception of mental illness in this country. If not for Kevin’s well-meaning psychiatrist, Dr Fletcher (Betty Buckley), who asserts that those with DID have ascended to a higher plane than us mere humans, it would be completely problematic.

Overall, though, the movie was scary and filled with an amazing amount of suspense. And the twist ending, which I’m sure you all already know about, is amazing. And, more good news, M. Night Shyamalan is going to make another one to complete his trifecta!

Do I recommend it?
Yes, despite its problems, it’s still an amazingly well-made movie. M. Night Shyamalan is definitely back… Let’s just hope he doesn’t revert back and try to make another Avatar


Review of The Visit (2015)

Posted in Review with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 2, 2015 by Xander Woolf

Dir. M. Night Shyamalan; Starring Olivia DeJonge and Ed Oxenbould

As the lights dimmed and the only sounds in the theater were the crunching of teeth on popcorn, I began to wonder if I’d made a mistake paying to see an M. Night Shyamalan movie. After the major disappointments of Signs, The Village, The Happening, and the movie that must not be named, I didn’t expect much out of The Visit. Boy, was I wrong.

This movie is terrifying.

For those of you who don’t know, The Visit follows a young brother and sister who are going to meet their grandparents for the first time. Becca (DeJonge), 15, and Tyler (Oxenbould), 13, decide to film their week alone with Nana (Deanna Dunagen) and PopPop (Peter McRobbie) in order to create a documentary. Everything seems a-okay in the Jameson household… until night falls. After dark, there’s no telling what will happen.

The movie is shot as though the kids are filming a documentary. This worried me at first. I’m prone to motion sickness (which is why I can’t watch films such as VHS), so I was apprehensive about the style. To my pleasure, however, most of the shots are held steady. In fact, the camera work is done really well. A lot of shots are off-center, as if the camera had been left on the table or off to the side, which made the concept stronger. Also, the quick back-and-forth movements during action scenes gives the audience a sense of anxiety and suspense, which heightens the fear.

While I’ve heard some people say that they felt as though nothing happened in the plot, I found that the “lack” of excitement added to the terror of the situation. There’s some merit in a calm horror movie, I think. It makes the climax that much more exciting and horrifying.

The acting was amazing. DeJonge and Oxenbould’s performances were both strong. They’re funny, they’re emotional and, best of all, they’re believable. Deanna Dunagen and Peter McRobbie are phenomenal as well. They’re fun-loving and caring when they need to be, but absolutely scared the shit out of me when it came right down to it.

Honestly, no movie has ever made me scream out loud until this one. The Visit is terrifying and well shot with a terrific cast and a good script. It’s more believable than any of Shyamalan’s other movies, which heightens my opinion of him a little bit. I wouldn’t say that it’s better than Sixth Sense – hell, it’s not even as good as Sixth Sense – but The Visit is certainly up there on my list. I definitely recommend it.

Who knows, maybe The Visit is a sign of M. Night Shyamalan’s comeback. What do you think?