M. Night Shyamalan’s multiple-personality thriller Split was released in the UK this Friday, and a shock ending has left fans excited for a follow-up.
The feature-length grossed $40 million over its opening weekend in the US, receiving strong reviews on both sides of the Atlantic, with many labelling it as a ‘return to form’.
Shyamalan is well-renowned for his ability to create an unpredictable twist at the end of his films, with the ending of 1999’s Sixth Sense particularly emphatic.
Split sees The Last King of Scotland actor James McAvoy play villain Kevin Wendell Crumb, a man with a severe dissociative identity disorder, who kidnaps three girls and keeps them imprisoned in a network of underground cells that are physical manifestations of Kevin’s multiple identities.
The film plays out as a narratively-regular thriller - up until the closing title credits appear after Kevin flees the cops. The scene re-opens at a restaurant where a crowd are watching a news report of the drama unfolding. A woman explains that the man on the TV reminds her of a wheelchair-bound serial killer from the local area, but can’t remember his name. However, a man sat close by, played by Bruce Willis, can remember – his name was Mr Glass. This indicates that ‘Split’ exists in the same story as Shyamalan’s 2000 film Unbreakable and therefore that the characters are intrinsically linked. Woaaah!
In Unbreakable, Bruce Willis plays the single survivor of a train crash who finds out that he is physically indestructible. He meets Samuel L. Jackson’s mass murdering wheelchair bound character, with the ending revealing that Jackson and Willis are the weak and strong sides of the same coin. Jackson’s villainous alter ego is therefore Mr Glass. All a bit of a madness.
Shyamalan has confirmed that a sequel to Unbreakable will be his next project, and that James McAvoy’s character Kevin was actually originally created for Unbreakable.
Willis’ character rescues kidnapped children from a villain known as Orange Suit Man, who has broken into a home and murdered the children’s parents. Shyamalan told Entertainment Weekly that Orange Suit Man was actually originally conceived as one of McAvoy’s many personalities in Split.
"Some of the Kevin scenes were already completely written, all the way back then. One of the 'Patricia' scenes, the Hedwig introduction scene, those were written over 15 years ago. I have them written by hand in my notebooks” said Shyamalan.
In news that is sure to thrill his fans, Shyamalan has revealed that McAvoy and Willis are both confirmed to return in the now hotly-anticipated Unbreakable sequel.