After a most promising series of early films – The Sixth Sense (1999), Unbreakable (2000) and Signs (2002) – M. Night Shyamalan’s filmography took an inexplicable nosedive as he turned out movie after movie of increasingly despairing quality. Just chart the Rotten Tomatoes scores of The Village (2004), Lady in the Water (2006), The Happening (2008), The Last Airbender (2010) and After Earth (2013). The last being a particularly high-profile disaster starring Will Smith, Hollywood looked all set to call time on Shyamalan’s career. Then came deliverance, in the form of The Visit. 2015’s found-footage horror/thriller marked a return to roots for Shyamalan, and mercifully, also a return to form of sorts. With the director receiving his best reviews in more than a decade, fans could once again look forward to his next project with optimism instead of dread.
That project has now arrived. It stars James McAvoy, and it is called Split. Watch the trailer below:
The film, which Shymalan has called the most challenging of his career, certainly looks eye-catching. A multiple personality disorder premise can quickly turn gimmicky, and it will be interesting to see if James McAvoy is up to the challenge of a role that was initially being circled by Joaquin Phoenix. The film reunites Shyamalan with The Visit producer Jason Blum, and is set to hit theaters in January 2017.
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