Split Trailer: James McAvoy Has 23 Personalties in Shyamalan Thriller

James McAvoy in M. Night Shymalan's Split

Writer/director M. Night Shyamalan has had his ups and downs over the course of his career in the filmmaking industry, and has seen more than his fair share of hits and misses at the box office. First coming to the attention of general moviegoers with his critically acclaimed paranormal thriller The Sixth Sense back in 1999, the once universally celebrated genre auteur thereafter released a number of misguided films that never quiet met audience expectations; though it was perhaps the poorly received The Last Airbender that firmly established Shyamalan as something of a running in-joke among film fans.

However, with the release of The Visit last year, Shyamalan has been heralded by many as being in the midst of a mid-career resurgence, as the box office revenue and critical reception that greeted his last thriller served to reestablish the director as a force to be reckoned with in the industry. On that note, the first feature trailer for his next film, Split, has just been officially released online.

In the footage featured above, distributor Universal Pictures promises a film in Split that is sure to terrify even the most hardened Shyamalan viewer with a new movie about dissociative identity disorder - one that blends real life psychological facts behind the condition with certain fantasy elements. Starring James McAvoy (X-Men: Apocalypse) as Kevin, a man possessed by a grand total of twenty-three distinct personalities at war with one another, the new movie becomes a game of cat and mouse between Kevin's most deviant identity and a young troupe of kidnapped teen girls, led by rising star Anya Taylor-Joy (The Witch) as Casey.

James McAvoy in M. Night Shymalan's Split

Check out the official plot synopsis for Split below:

While the mental divisions of those with dissociative identity disorder have long fascinated and eluded science, it is believed that some can also manifest unique physical attributes for each personality, a cognitive and physiological prism within a single being. Though Kevin (James McAvoy) has evidenced 23 personalities to his trusted psychiatrist, Dr. Fletcher (Betty Buckley), there remains one still submerged who is set to materialize and dominate all the others. Compelled to abduct three teenage girls led by the willful, observant Casey (Anya Taylor-Joy), Kevin reaches a war for survival among all of those contained within him—as well as everyone around him—as the walls between his compartments shatter apart.

The standing premise behind Split is certainly an enticing one to begin with, and the footage revealed certainly paints quite the thrilling picture of events soon to come in the finished Shyamalan production. It's exciting to see such an original new movie from a director who has been so derided over the course of the past ten plus years look as good as this one does, and with any luck the movie won't disappoint when it sees theatrical release early next year.

McAvoy and Taylor-Joy work wonders in the tense interplay between their two characters in the footage released thus far, and appear to be paving the way for quiet the taut psychological-thriller in Split soon to come. For now, general audiences can decide for themselves whether or not they think the latest Shyamalan production appears to be on the right track or not, and come to a final decision on the production's specific merits once they've seen the actual film.

Split will see theatrical release in the U.S. on January 20, 2017.

Source: Universal Pictures

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