M. Night Shyamalan continues the second cycle of his cinematic rebirth with a movie that is easily better than any of his post-Signs work—other than immediate predecessor The Visit.
James McAvoy wows as he instantly switches from Barry to Dennis to Priscilla to Hedwig, just a few of the 20-plus personalities residing inside of a troubled man named Kevin. Now, they all await the emergence of a 24th persona called the Beast, whose arrival guided Dennis to kidnap three teenage girls (highlighted by exciting new horror star Anya Taylor-Joy, from The Witch) and raised the suspicions of his psychiatrist (remember Betty Buckley from Carrie?).
The first act tightly balances a ’70s-era De Palma thriller sensationalizing multiple personalities and a wonderfully misguided Dario Argento adaptation of Thomas Harris’ Red Dragon. Shyamalan struggles to make sense of Kevin literally becoming the Beast, and he attempts to salvage that last act—which veers toward terminal laughability without ever reaching it, thankfully—with his most unexpected twist (or is it a reveal?) since The Sixth Sense. My jaw literally dropped at its promise for more exciting work from Shyamalan.