By Melissa Antoinette Garza
I laughed when I saw the trailer for this film. I never really looked beyond that. I was expecting it to be the type of movie that’s so bad, it’s good. I mean, it was about a guy who had a bunch of split personalities kidnapping three girls – and that’s all, right? WRONG. It’s so much more.
Except for the movies that I go OCD crazy about (a.e. SUICIDE SQUAD, IRON MAN), I steer clear of websites like IMDB or vlog reviews of new films. I don’t want to know what to expect. I want to experience the film the way in which the writers and directors intended it. This is a movie that I highly encourage everyone to steer clear of spoilers. It’s too good not to.
It’s going to be rather difficult for me to write this review without spoiling it. That said, NO SPOILERS here.
The movie opens with two popular millennial best friends, Marcia (Jessica Sula) and Claire (Haley Lu Richardson) hanging around at the mall after a party Claire had with her art class. Outcast Casey (Anya Taylor-Joy) was invited only because Claire didn’t want to leave anyone out. When Casey’s ride doesn’t show up, Claire’s dad, Mr. Benoit (Neal Huff) insists that he drive all three girls home.
As Mr. Benoit is packing the bags in the car, he is instantly drugged and passes out. The man (James McAvoy) jumps in the car and quickly uses the chloroform-type spray on the girls.
When they wake up they are locked in a room with seemingly no escape. It soon becomes clear that the kidnapper isn’t an ordinary criminal. He has split personalities. Though, Kevin is the name he was given at birth. Dennis was the man who kidnapped them. Patricia has teamed up with Dennis in many ways. She’s pleasant enough and reminds me of a librarian. Hedwig is a young child who is easily manipulated, offended and befriended. Though there are more than 20 alters, Barry is generally in charge. Barry is a fashion designer. He attends the psychiatric appointments with Dr. Karen Fletcher (Betty Buckley).
Fletcher can tell that something is wrong with her patient and attempts to work through it. Though her findings are not accepted in the mainstream community, the theory she developed is fascinating. Rather than thinking of people with split personalities as broken, she believes them to be an advanced and whole version of what a person is capable of. The evidence she has is compelling as she has witnessed people who are blind, yet have alters who can see. One of Kevin’s alters is diabetic, the rest are not. Neurological scans of different alters within the same person reveal huge differences. There is so much more to delve into, but alas I cannot without revealing major plot points to the movie.
Essentially the theme is that trauma doesn’t make you weaker, but rather stronger. It poses the question if that is the case does it mean that those who have never dealt with real trauma are less evolved than those who have.
This was M. Night Shyamalan’s best flick in years. I’m also happy Joaquin Phoenix backed out because no one could have outperformed James McAvoy. He was perfect in this. Each alter was so different in their speech, mannerisms, and even in the way they walked. It’s as if a different actor portrayed each one. It was so fascinating to watch.
I’m so happy it was suggested by my best friend and that we went together to see it. Anyone who enjoys thought-provoking flicks that offer only a piece of the puzzle at a time, will view this as a masterpiece. I’m one of those people.
Scared Stiff Rating: 9/10