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"'Some People' ... may be the standout story in the book."
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E.C. McMullen Jr.
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"This Ray Bradbury-esque is one of the most memorable and one of the more original stories I've read in a long time."
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The Silver Scream
E.C. McMULLEN Jr.,
GEORGE A. ROMERO,
and many more.
Extensively quoted in
The Unauthorized Companion
Robert S. Rhine's
CIRCUS OF HELL
GAHAN WILSON &
Featuring comics by
E.C. McMullen Jr.
Head Production Designer
JOSEPH CROSS, BRIANA EVIGAN,
Special Effects Make-Up
A SIERRA NEVADA
(MICHAEL MADSEN & JOHN SAVAGE).
A common place, a common thing is happening. What is happening isn't out of the ordinary. All of us can easily plug into it.
There's an Art class gathering at a local cafe. A trouble making girl, Casey Cooke (Anna Taylor-Joy: THE WITCH, MORGAN, THE SECRET OF MARROWBONE) was also invited because Claire Benoit (Haley Lu Richardson: RAVENSWOOD [TV], THE LAST SURVIVORS, FOLLOW) the girl who put the event together didn't want to make the Social Media faux pas of not inviting only this singular person in her class.
Unfortunately, her parents didn't come to pick her up. The Art Class girl's father is there and he can't bring himself to just leave an under aged kid alone. So he, his daughter, and her friend Marcia (Jessica Sula: SCREAM: THE TV SERIES [TV]) offer the social misfit a ride home.
Like the best of M. Night Shyamalan stories, nothing that happens next is expected.
When the girls wake up, they are prisoners of a cold and meticulously clean man named Casey (James McAvoy: THE NEAR ROOM, THE POOL, CHILDREN OF DUNE, ATONEMENT, WANTED, X-MEN: FIRST CLASS, X-MEN: DAYS OF FUTURE PAST, VICTOR FRANKENSTEIN, X-MEN: APOCALYPSE, ATOMIC BLONDE).
They'll soon come to realize that he is much more than he seems. His mind houses different personalities, male and female, adult and child 23 in all.
Throughout SPLIT the threat of all of these people in the single body of a man named Kevin is palpable. Even when he is with his genuinely trusted psychiatrist, Dr. Karen Fletcher (Betty Buckley: CARRIE, FRANTIC, RAIN WITHOUT THUNDER, NEON BLUE APPLES, THE SCARE HOLE, THE HAPPENING) his threat feels real. The reason he trusts Dr. Fletcher is because she saved "all of them". The ones the media named The Horde from back when Kevin's crimes as a person with Dissociative identity disorder (DID), made news.
In handling the many personalities within Kevin, McAvoy gives the best performance I've ever seen an actor handle in this capacity: Absolutely believable.
And his captives? Less is more as they slowly learn just how unpredictable a mindset their kidnapper has. He makes veiled references, referring to them as "Sacred Food", which can't possibly be good. Whenever they think they hear another person trying to calm their captor down, they cry for help, only to learn that everything they think they know is wrong and only getting worse.
James McAvoy dominates as the 23 personalities of Kevin, but Taylor-Joy as Casey is a powerful counter balance as a direct result of her vulnerability. Unlike the other two girls, Casey knows that they cannot physically overpower their captor. They are compelled to outwit him if they are to survive.
M. Night has all of his old Production team here, yet because SPLIT is so different to his output of the past nearly 15 years, I have to hand a lot of the credit to his new producer, Jason Blum.
Blumhouse has showed remarkable consistency in creating Horror movies that connect and without the dreary tropes that Wes Craven so devastatingly skewered over a quarter century ago with SCREAM.
This time, M. Night Shyamalan is back and I sincerely hope he stays.
Five Shriek Girls.
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