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One of M. Night Shyamalan’s best movies is blowing up on Netflix

Published Apr 3rd, 2024 3:10PM EDT
James McAvoy in Split.
Image: Universal Pictures

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M. Night Shyamalan’s roller coaster of a career hit a peak with Split in 2016. The psychological thriller stars James McAvoy as Kevin Wendell Crumb, a man struggling with dissociative identity disorder (DID) who kidnaps and imprisons three girls in a secret underground facility. It is one of the director’s best-reviewed movies to date, and this week, it’s shooting up the charts on Netflix alongside its significantly less successful sequel, Glass.

If you haven’t seen Split or Glass, be warned that some spoilers will follow below.

It’s hard to talk about Split without discussing Unbreakable, Shyamalan’s superhero origin story starring Bruce Willis and Samuel L. Jackson. The 2000 film came out between The Sixth Sense and Signs but failed to produce the same buzz or box office success.

Over time, Unbreakable became a bit of a cult classic, and nearly two decades later, Shyamalan finally released a sequel. But in typical Shyamalan fashion, Split does not actually reveal itself to be a sequel to Unbreakable until its closing moments.

It also attracted plenty of criticism for its portrayal of someone with a real disorder committing horrific acts of violence. DID specialist Dr. Garrett Marie Deckel said the film would “upset and potentially exacerbate symptoms in thousands of people who are already suffering.” That said, by the finale, it’s clear that this movie is not set in our reality.

Unsurprisingly, viewers entertained by McAvoy’s 23 identities and Anya Taylor-Joy’s turn as the kidnapped Casey Cooke are jumping right to the third movie in the trilogy, Glass, to see how the story ends. If you’re reading this after watching Split and weighing your options, my advice is to skip Glass altogether and dream up your own ending.

There are intriguing ideas buried within the script of Glass, but it doesn’t have nearly the scope or the imagination of the previous two movies. The ending is especially anticlimactic, but if you have to know what happens, stream it while you can.

As for Unbreakable, it’s the only movie in the trilogy not currently streaming on Netflix, but it is available on Max if you want to watch it again or for the first time.

Jacob Siegal
Jacob Siegal Associate Editor

Jacob Siegal is Associate Editor at BGR, having joined the news team in 2013. He has over a decade of professional writing and editing experience, and helps to lead our technology and entertainment product launch and movie release coverage.