Rated 4.0

Writer-director M. Night Shyamalan has finally made his first good movie since Signs (2002) with Split, a down-to-the-basics, creepy thriller propelled by excellent performances from James McAvoy and Anya Taylor-Joy (The Witch). The film reminds us that Shyamalan can be a capable director and writer when he’s not getting too carried away. Taylor-Joy plays Casey, a high school outcast who attends a birthday party but soon finds herself and two classmates imprisoned by a strange man with multiple personalities (McAvoy). In addition to the angry man who kidnaps them, he’s also a stately, mannered woman, a 9-year-old child and, well, a few others. One of those other personalities plays a big part in taking the film into other realms beyond psychological thriller. McAvoy goes nuts with the role, and Shyamalan takes things into supernatural territories in a chilling climax. Taylor-Joy is quickly becoming the new scream queen, and McAvoy’s work will surely stand as one of the year’s most fun performances.