Kevin Crumb has a personality disorder – in that he shares a body with another identity, well, 23 to be exact. Each with its own dialect, wardrobe, age, and even physiology. Unfortunately, some of those identities are less than desirable, even homicidal. Not every identity agrees with the choices made by the “undesirable” ones, thus creating an unnerving conflict between them – through Kevin.
Before I get started I should warn you there will be huge spoilers ahead, more so than normal, so read on at your own risk. So, this is another M. Night Shyamalan horror flick, following “The Visit”, and as such ends with an interesting and unexpected plot twist. I’m not going to get into that now. For now, I want to talk about James McAvoy’s amazing performance in this film. Really, I was blown away by his skill in portraying all of those distinct personalities without losing focus on the scene he was in. Obviously, a 9-year old will react differently to seeing women taken hostage than, say, a middle-aged kidnapper with OCD, and James nailed each identity flawlessly. I look forward to seeing what roles open up for him after this. He’s really displayed his acting range.
Getting to the plot, “Dennis” (one of Kevin’s various personalities) kidnaps 3 teenage girls and locks them in a basement maintenance area below the city zoo. Most of the film takes place between this makeshift-prison area and Kevin’s psychiatrist’s office. The film opens with Kevin kidnapping the girls, so right off the bat we know who the killer is and what he’s done, but we don’t know why. The reason? To be fed to “The Beast”. This Beast is a rumored personality among Kevin’s other personalities. Two of the undesirable identities not only believe in it, but want to feed the girls to it.
It’s undoubtedly a suspenseful movie, but I wouldn’t quite call it horror. I actually found it enjoyable mainly due to James McAvoy’s stellar performance, but I have to admit there are several scenes that leave you silent in anxious tension. Although not the horror we used to expect from films like “The Sixth Sense” and “The Others”, it’s definitely on that same level of weirdness – and I like it. Some might debate the ending is horrific, and that would absolutely be true, but it doesn’t quite push it over the edge of being a horror movie. So I’ll just have to judge this based on suspense alone.
Are you ready for the ending and the twist? Here we go. The Beast finally reveals himself when Kevin realizes his personalities actually change who he is physically – his muscle mass, height, strength and endurance are all dependent upon which identity is in control at any given moment. As the Beast, he can climb walls, run across the ceiling on all fours, and even withstand a point-blank shotgun blast to the chest with no injury. While the Beast is in control, he’s very much unstoppable. He is not without his own twisted sense of justice, however, as he only eats people that he deems to be “impure”. To him, the impure are the people who have never suffered – he only eats people that basically have great lives. I know, ironic, right? Well the main girl apparently is living with a sexually abusive uncle so the Beast leaves her alone and runs away.
Weird twist, right? Well I’m not done. The police give him the nickname “The Horde” due to the many identities he has living inside him. At a nearby diner, a woman is seen watching the news when his nickname is announced. “Oh,” she blurted, “That’s like that guy from years ago, in the wheelchair. What was his name?”
“Mr. Glass.” Bruce Willis groaned. That’s right, sitting next to the woman in the diner we see Bruce Willis as his character from “Unbreakable”. What does this mean? Well, speculating based on the success of the many Super Hero films over the last decade, I can only assume M. Night Shyamalan wants to revive the characters from Unbreakable to create his own, dark Super Hero universe and the second villain has just been revealed – The Horde.
I, for one, am excited by this.
This movie is…
I really enjoyed the movie and it gave me hope for future M. Night Shyamalan films.
Cheers and goodnight.