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X-Men: Dark Phoenix (2019) Review By Philip Henry

X-Men: Dark Phoenix Review

Director: Simon Kinberg
Screenwriter: Simon Kinberg
Stars: Sophie Turner, James McAvoy, Jennifer Lawrence, Michael Fassbender

If you’re keeping track of the X-Men timeline, you’re doing a better job than me. So after Days of Future Past an alternative timeline was created, and the other one was supposedly erased, which would be fine – Star Trek did this as well – but why did they then make the Logan movie from the erased timeline? Are we following the X-Men in multiple universes now? I think it’s fair to say whoever is running this franchise has painted themselves into a corner with this alternate timeline and have now have just abandoned all hope of trying to make sense of it.

So this is basically the same story as X-Men: The Last Stand where Jean Grey is reborn – to give them some credit, they do it in very different ways in the two films – and her powers are turned up to eleven. She becomes so powerful she can’t control herself and the X-Men have to choose between their colleague and the fate of humanity.

This film frustrated me more than anything. All the elements are there for a fantastic film about too much power being a corruptive influence – a very timely theme – and there are countless opportunities for drama in the tough decisions that have to be made, but the movie skips anything that would make you care about any of these characters and just jumps to the spectacle as soon as possible.

The movie begins with the X-Men being tasked with rescuing the space shuttle Endeavour after an unknown space phenomenon causes a total systems failure during their launch. It should be an exciting set-piece, but since we’ve spent little to no time with our heroes so far there’s no emotional connection to any of them when they’re in danger, and that’s a recurring failing throughout the film. Jessica Chastain shows up as a shape-shifting alien intent on taking over the world, but we’re given little more than an elevator pitch for her motivations, who her people are, or what this strange phenomenon is or where it came from. It feels like a five year-old was in charge of the edit and gave the instruction to skip over the talky bits and get to the explosions.

Most of the returning cast are doing their best with the material they have, but some popular characters like Quicksilver (Evan Peters) appear much too briefly, and then vanish for the rest of the film. For the first time Sophie Turner has to carry the film and I hate to say it, but I don’t think she pulls it off. I had much more empathy for Famke Janssen in this role and really believed her struggle to control the power within her, but Turner’s Phoenix flips from goodie to baddie with the flimsiest reasons and spends most of the film with a blank, emotionless look on her face. This is probably more a consequence of the cut & paste script (there were extensive reshoots of the ending) and amateur direction than her ability as an actor. Simon Kinberg has a long and distinguished track record as a producer, but his only other directing credit was an episode of Jordan Peele’s rebooted Twilight Zone. To take on a project of this scale as his first feature was madness; he’s way out of his depth and it shows.

If you want to compare it to Captain Marvel, which is also a film about a super-powerful female set in the 90s, you can see just how much Captain Marvel gets right and Dark Phoenix gets wrong. For a start, Dark Phoenix makes little to no mention that it actually IS the 1990s, where Captain Marvel played with the fashion and music and pushed a few nostalgia buttons (for some of us). Captain Marvel spends time telling us the hero’s backstory and personal relationships so we actually care when stuff happens to her, Dark Phoenix thinks it can accomplish the same thing by having a couple of quick smooches between Hank McCoy (Nicholas Hoult) and Jean Grey.

I must have a little rant about the awful shoe-horning in of Jennifer Lawrence’s line: “Considering how often women save the day around here, you might think about changing the name of the group to X-Women.” Now I’m about as big a lefty, liberal feminist as you can get, but this is so clumsy. The X-Men have always been about diversity, back before it was fashionable. Back in 1963 they were already tackling these issues and anyone who doesn’t realise that mutants – those born differently through no fault of their own – were an allegory for homosexuality, race, etc. is missing the point. I always assumed the term X-Men was a gender-neutral term, much like in the original series of Star Trek where they called men and women Mister. It was a way of levelling the playing field and treating everyone the same. These flag-waving moments in films recently are just embarrassing. Sci-fi and fantasy have been giving messages of tolerance, equality and acceptance for decades, but subtly. Are people so much dumber now that they need this stuff spelled out in big clear letters?

Dark Phoenix is a terrible mish-mash of a movie with the bones of an amazing story at its core, but the writer/ director fails to address the elements that matter and instead jumps from one CG extravaganza to the next. For those of you who thought X-Men: The Last Stand was the weak link of the original trilogy, if you compare it to this, you might look at it now and see how good it actually is.

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Glass (2019) Movie Review By The Movie Couple

Glass Review, Security guard David Dunn uses his supernatural abilities to track Kevin Wendell Crumb, a disturbed man who has twenty-four personalities.

Director: M. Night Shyamalan
Writer: M. Night Shyamalan
Stars: James McAvoy, Bruce Willis, Samuel L. Jackson

Movie Couple here!  We saw Glass this weekend!  Remember we are just a married couple that loves movies!  We’re here to tell you if we liked it.  Film students we are not!  Just a quick reminder of our rating system.

Mrs. Movie Couple and I, rate films on whether they are worth the cash spent on a night out.  we use a 1-6 Dollar Bill system.  1-2 Bills equal a waste of both our time and money!  3-4 Bills equal Meh to Pretty Good, money well spent!  5-6 Bills equal Wow!  Well worth the price of dinner, movie and sitter!  Please take our money again!

We both are old enough to have seen Unbreakable in the theatre (you do the math on our age, yes we were together then as well).  As fans of that film we were eager for this installment.  I had seen Split and was as shocked as everyone else when it turned out at the end to be an extension of Unbreakable.  Mrs. Movie Couple, saw Split on demand at my recommendation.  Full disclosure, we both loved Unbreakable and were (no pun intended) split on Split.  I was a huge fan, my better half not so much.  So now that you have our history with M. Night Shyamalan’s “Trilogy” in the making, lets get to the review.

Glass picks up right where Split left us.  Bruce Willis’ David Dunn in pursuit of James McAvoy’s Kevin Wendall Crumb better known as The Horde.  Soon events bring the two under the care of a Psychiatrist Dr. Ellie Staple (like at the center of comic books?…) played by Sarah Paulson.  Kept under heavy guard as well as lock and key, Dr. Staple is convinced that they and many others suffer from a delusion that they are superheroes right out of a comic book.  She is a specialist in such areas.  We learn that she has been treating Samuel L. Jackson’s Elijah Price, the Title bearing Mr. Glass, sometime during his incarceration for his actions in Unbreakable.  She is here to help!  She seeks to cure them of this infirmary.

That is a spoiler free plot description.  This could have gone a long way to create suspense for us Unbreakable and Split fans, Is she right?  Are our hero and villains simply nuts?!  Unfortunately, M. Night has proven thoroughly in Unbreakable and Split that this is not he case.  Had we even for a moment in either previous film been left with doubt, this could have kept us guessing.  Had M. Night envisioned this as a trilogy from the beginning, I think that would have been the avenue he would have taken and it would have worked better.  Not to say this movie doesn’t keep us guessing, at least a little.  If you’ve seen the trailers, as Jackson’s Mr. Glass says the bad guys do indeed team up!  And for fans of the first two films it is exactly what we hoped for.

Anya Taylor-Joy returns as survivor girl, Casey Cooke, Spencer Treat Clark is also in tow as David’s now adult son, his “guy in the chair” if you will and Charlayne Woodard shows up as Mrs. Price all of them important anchors to each of the main characters.  Is Dr. Staple on the up and up?  Will the combined might of Mr. Glass and the Beast be more than a match for David Dunn’s Overseer (a nickname he has garnered on line for his vigilante activities)?  If that sounds like a comic book cover, it’s intentional!  All this gets answered and some other twists arise along the way toward our conclusion!   Mr. Glass longs for his life to become  just like the comics he read and worshiped growing up and this is his movie after all.  The conclusion to this film is not what everyone is expecting and some of the twists will have M. Night fans ecstatic and his detractors rolling their eyes.  The performance by McAvoy is a standout!  His portrayal of all the Horde‘s personalities is every bit as good as it was in Split and maybe even better.  His scenes with Taylor-Joy were a highlight!  I can’t praise him enough for his acting skills in this film.  He’s been just OK to us in other things we’ve seen, but here as in Split, McAvoy is a tour de force.

So here we go!

Mr. Movie Couple:  I loved it!  Yes, you may be able to see the twists and reveals coming a bit, but as a conclusion to what started in Unbreakable and Split it was perfect.  It had an ending that I didn’t see coming, as if the film was a relic of the 70’s cinema.  Can’t say why without giving much away, but I mean that in a good way.  Willis and Jackson were great, they slipped back into the roles of David and Elijah as if no time had past at all.  McAvoy for me was worth the price of admission alone!  He was simply amazing!  The ending felt open ended, as if M. Night could return to this ‘Universe’ should he want to, but it won’t be necessary.  If this completes the trilogy with no more to come I feel it was a job well done!  Reviews are mixed, but I enjoyed this film and recommend it highly!

Mrs. Movie Couple:  She liked it!  She really liked it!  Which quite frankly surprised me.  She felt it was a little slow, but felt the conclusion was perfect and surprised her more than she expected it to.  She was also highly impressed with McAvoy.  She couldn’t take her eyes off his performance was her exact words.  At first she didn’t care for the storyline between Taylor-Joy and McAvoy.  She could not understand the victim interacting with her attacker, But by the movie’s conclusion she felt it was her favorite part!  She loved how Casey had become almost Belle-like to Crumb’s Beast!  Again her words not mine!

We both talked about the actors, characters and the film’s conclusion many days after watching it and for us that’s a ringing endorsement.  I give it 5 Bills, the Mrs. gives it 4 Bills, So we give Glass a 4.5 Bills!  I say well worth the money spent on a night out!

So until we head out to the cinema again, which could be a while if the Government Shutdown continues, hard to justify movie tickets and sitters with no paycheck!  See you next date night at the movies!

X-Men: Apocalypse (2016) Movie Review by Stephen McLaughlin

X MEN APOCALPYSE

Director: Bryan Singer
Writers: Simon Kinberg (screenplay by), Bryan Singer (story by)
Stars: James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Jennifer Lawrence, Nicholas Hoult, Rose Byrne

Set in the 1980’s, the re-emergence of the world’s first mutant, Apocalypse, the X-Men must unite to defeat his extinction level plan.

2 years after the successful X-Men: Days of Future Past I was interested to see where the next instalment would take the younger Charles Xavier, Erik Lehnsherr and Raven and more importantly would it equal the previous or perhaps supersede  it. Quite frankly although it didn’t disappoint, it wasn’t as good as DOFP. The later had the post credit scene setting this movie up and I was excited to see how this would fair.

Bryan Singer and Simon Kinberg are terrific writers and we owe a lot to them for their take on this universe and how they manage to appease the movie going public and the devoted comic book fans. In Apocalypse, I felt they played it safe with the usual formula of one of the main three characters conflicted with the other two trying to bring them back. In this instalment, it’s Erik Lehnsherr who is lost….again, although through personal tragedy he is drawn to help the world-destroyer Apocalypse flatten and rebuild the Earth to his plan.

Playing Apocalypse is Oscar Isaac. A fine actor but under the heavy makeup of En Sabah Nur it could have been anyone in there. I’m just glad he wasn’t computer generated completely. Was he that menacing as the movie villain? Not exactly. His plan is to use certain mutants like in a game of chess and the key mutant that he requires to mind control the entire planet is Charles Xavier. Personally I felt the character was a little two dimensional and didn’t add that much weight to the film. I actually preferred Kevin Bacon’s villain Sebastian Shaw who was perfect in “First Class” and although powerful had character and a cunningness about him.

James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender and Jennifer Lawrence again are solid in their portrayals and I’m glad to see all three of them are back for next years X-Men: Dark Phoenix (2018) We finally see McAvoy go all Patrick Stewart and lose his hair, Lawrence as Raven / Mystique is conflicted as usual but to be fair shows more authority in this movie than previous where normally she would be a bit of a lone wolf, here she is a team player. Fassbender is really coming into his own with his character and although I loved Ian McKellen’s Magneto, I must admit I am becoming a fan of Fassbender’s earlier version. Supported by Nicholas Hoult as Hank / Beast and the return of Rose Byrne’s Moira Mactaggert the cast was excellent and I was interested to see how the “new” mutants Jean Grey (Sophie Turner), Scott Summers / Cyclops (Tye Sheridan) and Kurt Wagner / Nightcrawler (Kodi Smit-McPhee) would slot into this timeline. Thankfully they all performed well and again I look forward to seeing them in the next movie Dark Phoenix.

Going back to Singer and Kinberg “playing it safe. I felt the cameo from Hugh Jackman was unnecessary and it worked okay in First Class as a one off funny scene. Here there is no humour but it kinda reeks of no confidence adding him to this film. He doesn’t serve any purpose and although only in the film for about a minute I felt they should have left Logan out of this and show a bit more faith and confidence in the existing portrayals by McAvoy, Fassbender and Lawrence who are now in their third movie.

Visually some of the effect shots looked a little poor and off putting. To compare I would say some of them reminded me of Attack of the Clones and that’s me putting it nicely. The storyline as mentioned is simple and straightforward and the finale is a little predictable. Overall I was a little disappointed with this instalment after the successful DOFP and I understand that it was always going to be tough to match that film. Apocalypse isn’t the worst film in the franchise by any means and it’s enjoyable to watch a few times. I hope X-Men: Dark Phoenix (2018) is a lot darker and it appears that the franchise may be going in that direction with the releases of Deadpool (2016), Logan (2017) and the upcoming The New Mutants (2018) all going down a darker route. I would recommend Apocalypse to anyone who enjoys the series but don’t go into it like I did with high expectations.

X-Men: Days of Future Past (2014) Movie Retro Review By Stephen McLaughlin

DAYS OF FUTURE PAST

Director: Bryan Singer
Writers: Simon Kinberg (screenplay), Jane Goldman (story by)
Stars: Patrick Stewart, Ian McKellen, Hugh Jackman, Jennifer Lawrence, Peter Dinklage, James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender

With Bryan Singer back to basically do a “Doctor Sam Beckett” from Quantum Leap and put right what once went wrong he has the freedom of time travel to unravel the majority of plot holes from the disaster that was “The Last Stand” and a few little niggles from the impressive “First Class”

With the Movie opening in a bleak future controlled by Sentinels which are mutant hunting machines that can eliminate any mutant despite their powers. The Sentinels are adaptive and have the ability to counteract any of the abilities the last of the mutants are capable of and destroy them.

With only a few mutants left they have discovered a way of going back in time a few days earlier through the mind to warn their previous selves of any upcoming attacks and erase their existence in those scenarios. Time us running out for them though and Professor X and Magneto come together to devise a plan that could save the mutants from extinction. The X-Men send Wolverine (Hugh Jackman) to the early 1970’s in a desperate effort to change history and prevent an event that results in doom for both humans and mutants.

The event being Raven / Mystique (Jennifer Lawrence) assassinating Dr. Bolivar Trask (Peter Dinklage) in her belief eliminating the creator of the Sentinels would be the end of the project. Unfortunately with a mutant murdering a human the government felt threatened by the mutants and continued with Trask’s project and through capturing Raven / Mystique where able to experiment with her DNA in creating more advanced Sentinels that could adapt and destroy any mutant despite their power.

Ellen Page is back as Kitty Pryde. You remember her? the tiny mutant that could run through walls. Well now she can send mutants back in time with mind control. I don’t get it either but it works and you are better not thinking too hard on that one and just accept it as this is the premise of the storyline. Also this movie is based on the Comic Book so you can’t argue with that okay.

After the events (a decade later) of First Class both Erik Lehnsherr and Charles Xavier are no longer friends. Xavier is now a recluse living with Hank McCoy (Nicholas Hoult) in the grounds that used to be “The School for Gifted Youngsters” and after the alleged assassination on President Kennedy, Erik Lehnsherr is now under heavy guard within the foundations of a purpose built prison inside the Pentagon. It is Wolverine’s task to unite the two former friends in preventing Raven / Mystique assassinating Trask.

The Director of Photography Newton Thomas Sigel who previously worked on X-Men (2000) and X-Men 2 (2003) and further Bryan Singer Projects (The Usual Suspects, Superman Returns and the sequel to this film X-Men: Apocalypse (2016) has his mark all over this movie and in a good way. The 1970’s are portrayed in an authentic fashion and not shoehorning everything 1970’s related into every shot that I felt That ’70s Show did (with intent or not) The film has a dark tone to it from the opening sequences that really portrays the future as a decelate environment and a reality with no hope to it.

Gathering an ensemble of Hollywood’s finest is also a Director’s dream or nightmare. You get the sense that everyone from both “generations” of X-Men films wanted to be involved in any small way. I will stop there as I don’t want to ruin any surprises that are in store for anyone who hasn’t saw the movie yet but I was impressed by how well balanced that screen time is for the main characters but also impressed with the screen time or limited from previous characters from previous x-men films receive, no matter how big or small the actor is, they are all there to be part of this event. All Egos have been left at the door.

Again Hugh Jackman is carrying the storyline from beginning to end and it will be interesting to see how the franchise copes with his absence now he finished his involvement in the superb Logan (2017) Both First Class (2011) and X-Men: Apocalypse (2016) have cameos that didn’t really have to be there but nevertheless both scenes are standouts in the movie no matter how brief they were.

Days of Future Past was necessary to keep the franchise in its current state continuing without a massive reboot and also complements the prequel First Class by having the main characters involved in this crossover that sets up the next couple of X-Men Films superbly with the acting credentials of McAvoy, Fassbender and Lawrence to name a few. I would put Days of Future Past up there with the excellent X-Men 2 (2003) and it is a film I can rewatch over and over again. Highly Recommended.

Atomic Blond (2017) Movie Review by John Walsh

ATOMIC BLONDE

Director: David Leitch
Writers: Kurt Johnstad (screenplay), Antony Johnston (based on the Oni Press graphic novel series “The Coldest City” written by)
Stars: Charlize Theron, James McAvoy, John Goodman

So when I discovered David Leitch, the man behind John Wick, had a new film out I was naturally intrigued and excited to give it a bash. I absolutely loved John Wick. Admittedly, that was a fairly superficial film too, but a star showing from Keanu Reeves, some insanely good action scenes and a good old fashioned tale of revenge turned what could have been an average affair into a modern cult classic. Atomic Blonde, Leitch’s latest creation, a spy thriller set in the 80s, ultimately falls flat on its face in the plot department. Despite sharing many positive characteristics with the aforementioned John Wick, it becomes needlessly convoluted, difficult to follow and was ultimately underwhelming as a result.

It’s set in 1989 Berlin, a city which at that stage is still very much divided, with murderous Russian KGB members running around with seeming immunity and killing anything that moves. Which is precisely how this film kicks off. MI6 agent, Paul Gascoigne gets himself caught and then executed in brutal fashion, which isn’t the best of news for British intelligence. Why? Well, because he was carrying a stolen list with the whereabouts of every intelligence asset they have. This of course sets alarm bells ringing and they almost immediately try to reclaim the precious item. They deploy the talents of Lorraine Broughton (Charlize Theron), a top MI6 field agent who doesn’t mess around in her feverish attempts to resolve the situation. She teams up with the eccentric, ‘feral’ Berlin station chief, David Percival (James McAvoy), a schemer of a man who appears to have issues with authority, whilst having a propensity for lying.

Now, that sounds pretty simple doesn’t it? If only it could’ve stayed that way. Everything that happens throughout the course of the film is told via an interrogation room with Lorraine reporting her escapades to her superiors. Chief of whom being Emmet Kurzfeld (John Goodman). What troubled me most is that it’s supposed to be a spy thriller and it never once had me on edge, excited for what was happening, nor was their many if any real spy elements within. James Bond female edition it’s not. The film closely follows Lorraine and her growing suspicions of Percival’s role in things. Her original mission of retrieving the list and assassinating ‘Satchel’, a double agent who’s being selling info to the Russians, soon becomes far too complicated and tedious. This isn’t helped with the introduction of Delphine Lasalle (Sofia Boutella), a French undercover agent that rather bizarrely and needlessly becomes Broughton’s lover after a mere five or ten minutes on screen.

This film doesn’t do a good enough job of giving any of its characters a backstory or implanting a reasonable logic behind their actions. Broughton’s in particular falls foul of this idiocy. She’s supposed to be undercover but regularly saunters into clubs full of KGB members waiting to kill her. Like I said, she soon suspects Percival of being the leak, pretty much has her suspicions confirmed following an ambush and yet still works with him to try and smuggle Spyglass, a Stasi defector responsible for stealing the list, into West Berlin. This ends exactly as you’d expect and it makes zero sense from a logical perspective. It does lead to the best scene in the entire film however when both Lorraine and Spyglass end up cornered within a building, and she single handedly takes out half a dozen KGB members. That scene was beautifully handled, flowed seamlessly in what looked like one continuous shot and was just tremendous on the eyes.

Most of the choreography was spectacular, as you’d expect from the man that brought you John Wick and the visuals were incredible. I was born in 89 myself, so can’t really speak for what the 80s was like, but this film seems to capture the mood of that decade perfectly, with a fantastic soundtrack and zany, neon heavy visuals. That’s certainly one area of Atomic Blonde that I can’t criticise.

I also can’t really criticise the performances. Charlize Theron was superb as Broughton. She’s an excellent actress and as Mad Max showed, she’s more than capable of excelling in physically exerting, action roles. She’s becoming a bonafide action hero. Much of the film was fixated on her character, often uncomfortably close at times and she carried the film with ease. James McAvoy didn’t have as much screen time comparatively, but the time he did have was used relatively well and he was quite humorous with his frequent bursts of passive aggression and profanity fuelled rants. There was also some darkness in his character, especially towards the end that was excellently conveyed by the Scotsman. Anybody that’s seen Split will attest to how well he pulls that particular trait off. Boutella was fine. She didn’t have much to work with and did all right. John Goodman, likewise, did ok in a relative cameo role. Every other character, including the unmemorable villain Bremovych (Roland Møller), were sideshows.

Ultimately, the film was let down by poor character development and a less than compelling story, that became murky, overly convoluted and confusing in the middle. Leitch would’ve been much better served going down the trusted John Wick route with this one. I.e. Making it just an enjoyable, simplistic action flick with slick visuals and choreography. I felt like he got caught in between doing that whilst trying to get overly smart with the plot and it just didn’t work for me. It may prove to for others though, so by all means give it a shot. Indeed, it’s been getting very mixed reviews and it certainly wasn’t a complete disaster. There is positives in there, but it feels just a little hollow under the stylish visuals in the end.

Rating: 2.5/5

Split (2016) Movie Review by Kevan McLaughlin

SPLIT

Director: M. Night Shyamalan
Writer: M. Night Shyamalan
Stars: James McAvoy,  Anya Taylor-Joy,  Haley Lu Richardson

M. Night Shyamalan delivers his best film since Unbreakable in a tense and claustrophobic thriller with James McAvoy shining in a number of different (but equally terrifying) roles.

Outsider Casey (Taylor-Joy), attending a party none of her classmates want her at, is kidnapped along with Marcia (Sula) and Claire (Richardson) by an eerily calm and focused man who swiftly incapacitates Claire’s father, enters the car the girls are waiting in and knocks them all out before driving away.

The girls are being held captive by Kevin Wendell Crumb, a man with Dissociative Identity Disorder and who holds, in his mind, 23 distinct personalities. The personality who took the girls is Dennis, a man with violent tendencies and OCD. Noticing Dennis’ compulsion for cleanliness and order, Casey uses this to the girls’ advantage when Dennis tries to take Marcia and yells at her to pee herself, knowing that Dennis wouldn’t be able to cope with the mess  and he abandons his plans.

The girls’ first encounter with a second personality, cementing their terror as they realise the gravity of their increasingly bizarre abduction, is Patricia. Marcia and Claire spy a woman through the keyhole of the locked door conversing with Dennis and plead for the softly spoken lady to rescue them.

When Patricia enters the room they not only see that it’s the same person who abducted them, but register that Patricia and Dennis were just having a discussion on the other side of the door. The sight of a shaven-haired McAvoy dressed in heels and a skirt trying to reassure the terrified teenagers is as startling as it is awkwardly hilarious. Patricia describing Dennis by saying “he’s not well” is, perhaps, one of the most chilling moments in psychological horror history, up there with Annie Wilkes being a fangirl, Jame Gumb’s obsession with lotion and Jack Torrance struggling with dividing his time between work and recreational activities.

Kevin attends therapy with Dr. Fletcher (Buckley) who believes that people with Dissociative Identity Disorder can exhibit a multitude of physiological states as well as psychological. The personality that talks with Dr. Fletcher is Barry, an extroverted leader who controls the ‘light’ – the method in which the 23 personalities take turns to control Kevin’s body. But Dr. Fletcher is convinced that it’s not Barry she’s talking with, but Dennis. She also reveals that she’s aware that Dennis and Patricia are banished from the light because of their “beliefs”. The expelled duo have supplanted Barry in an effort to bring forth a 24th personality, the Beast.

The person who now controls who gets their time in the light is Hedwig, a nine year old boy who’s eager to please Patricia and Dennis and has taken to talking with the girls. Hedwig, like any other nine year old, can’t fully grasp the seriousness of the impending doom or the danger the girls are in.

Shyamalan has succeeded in delivering a genuinely terrifying psychological horror that, in the spirit of the Shining, also has aspects of the paranormal. The taut atmosphere conjured by a crescendo of fear and paranoia is compelling and repellent in equal measure, making for a wonderfully, thrilling ride. Alarm that Split may have entered into the murky waters of stigmatising mental health disorders by tapping into that particular genre which plays on the popular fear of unpredictability of such conditions are unfounded as this film gently moves from thriller to supernatural horror.

McAvoy is wonderful to watch as he transitions from personality to personality. His ability to portray convincing roles from wide-eyed child to obsessive sociopath, from matriarchal menace to flamboyant artist is truly exceptional. Whilst chilling, it’s also worth noting his ability for comic timing, especially as Patricia. His uncomfortably long pauses and insincere attempts to convey comfort with mock-sympathetic glances are extraordinarily hilarious and will leave audiences laughing into their popcorn.

As is the nature of Shyamalan’s films it’s impossible to delve too deeply into the plot because you know there’s going to be spoilers and twists and no one want to shatter that illusion like it’s made of glass.

An authentically scary couple of hours in a world bereft of genuine cinematic scares.