Split and Its Journey Through Mental Health

By: Shelby Halliman

*Warning: Spoilers*

I am going to be 100% honest. I did not like the film.

Still from the new M. Night Shyamalan film, Split.

The film is riddled with plot holes that are extremely difficult to ignore. By the end of the movie, I found myself asking, “why did this all happen”? There are so many people in the film that are too reckless for their own good and cause the only two somewhat rational people in the movie to be killed. Besides the glaring loose ends, the films’s depiction of mental health has been subjected to a decent amount of controversy, even going so far as to create a petition against the movie.

Still from the new M. Night Shyamalan film, Split.

The whole premise of the movie centers around the main character’s 24 different personalities. Each personality ranges from a quirky nine year old boy to a psychotic woman. Despite this, the movie only reveals only a select few of the many personalities held within him. The reasoning behind this is due to some sort of hostile takeover that two of the personalities enacted in order to brainwash the other identities into thinking there is a mythical beast among them. In the final moments of the movie, James McAvoy’s character manages to come in conflict with some of his personalities, causing him to question his motives. Throughout this moment, he is fighting himself as if it was some sort of torture. Finally, his original personality comes out, but only for a split second (no pun intended). He has no recollection of what he has done and it is finally known to the audience that he has been locked away for quite some time. Many people, who went to go see this film, negatively reacted to this particular scene because of the lack of reaction from his original personality. Read more about the matter below:


The article below talks about the elements that make up the “ideal” horror movie. Throughout the article, Alfred Hitchcock’s film, Psycho, is constantly used as an example to explain the tortured soul of a character and how these sort of characters evoke a means of sympathy among audiences. Nevertheless, Split fails to do so as we never really get to know the source behind all 24 of these diverse personalities.


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7 Responses to Split and Its Journey Through Mental Health

  1. mediaphiles says:

    Knowing that I will probably never see Split, I had no problem taking on your spoilers! The only reason I think I’d every watch the film is to understand James McAvoy’s acting methods and range, which I’ve heard is worth noting. It seems like a shame, and a missed opportunity, to not shed a sympathetic light on this man suffering from mental illness. I’m not surprised to hear that this really bothered viewers!

    – Lydia Geisel

  2. mediaphiles says:

    I’m honestly not surprised that people are not impressed by this movie. I haven’t seen it, but it feels like M Night has set the bar so low that a halfway-decent film with one dedicated performance will give M Night a certified fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Sometimes I just don’t get critics.

    – Cal Parsons

  3. mediaphiles says:

    I avoid M. Night Shyamalan films at all cost, but I am a fan of James McAvoy, so I considered checking this film out. Based on your description it sounds like I made the right call not seeing it. The premise seems interesting enough, but sounds like the execution of the film was done very poorly.

    -Walker Rise

  4. mediaphiles says:

    I saw this movie a few weeks back and found it entertaining but lacking in far too many areas to call a good movie. The premise is unique and could have made for a decent psychological-thriller along the lines of The Silence of The Lambs, but as you said the plot holes could not be ignored.

    -Maddie Turner

  5. mediaphiles says:

    “I am going to be 100% honest. I did not like the film.” What are great way to start your blog post- I couldn’t wait to keep reading. I found your blog post upsetting; I wish that the film hadn’t hurt the continuous negative stigmas surrounding mental health. I do, however, want to see the film in order to understand all of the feedback I have been reading about it!

    Katherine Naylor

  6. mediaphiles says:

    I probably won’t go see this movie simply because I’m not a big fan of the horror genre. I agree with you that it is sad that negative stigmas surrounding mental health were perpetuated by this film.
    -Jordan Hansgen

  7. mediaphiles says:

    I seriously urge everyone to not see this film. I’m happy to see people in our class aren’t liking it. whenever I read good critical reception for this film I get irrationally upset. While James McAvoy’s performance was impressive, I wondered why it was even important to say he had 24 split personalities when the film only covered 5 or so.

    Overall, this movie fell under my expectations. I thought it would be more about characters involved in the kidnapping. Instead there’s this convoluted, misguided preaching about how tortured individuals are closer to being the next evolution of humans. I understand suspension of belief, but when you tell me that something that handicaps people in real life is the key to unlocking true human potential, I draw the line. I found the film laughable in the end. And the fact that they’re going to do a sequel and tie in Bruce Willis? I won’t stand for it.

    Russell Lawrence

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