Universal has unveiled the first trailer for Split, the latest film from writer/director M. Night Shyamalan, and it puts Shyamalan squarely back in psychological thriller mode. The film stars James McAvoy as Kevin, a man who abducts three teenage girls who suddenly realize that Kevin is one of 23 personalities displayed by McAvoy’s character, who suffers from a severe case of Multiple Personality Disorder.
The picture reunites Shyamalan with producer Jason Blum, who produced the Sixth Sense filmmaker’s first foray into found footage, The Visit. Split nearly marked another reunion as Joaquin Phoenix was in early talks to star, but McAvoy eventually took on the role and he looks to be turning in a pretty stunning performance here. Moreover, the cast is filled out by a number of talented young actresses, including The Witch star Anya Taylor-Joy.
While Shyamalan has certainly lost some of his luster, Split actually looks—dare I say—promising. There are shades of 10 Cloverfield Lane in the wake of that movie’s release, but this also could be Shyamalan’s most overt homage to Alfred Hitchcock yet. Moreover, the film finds Shyamalan working with cinematographer Mike Gioulakis, who turned in some truly magnificent work on last year’s horror hit It Follows, so that’s yet another reason to be excited.
Check out the first Split trailer below. The film opens in theaters on January 20th.
Here’s the official synopsis for Split:
While the mental divisions of those with dissociative identity disorder have long fascinated and eluded science, it is believed that some can also manifest unique physical attributes for each personality, a cognitive and physiological prism within a single being.
Though Kevin (James McAvoy) has evidenced 23 personalities to his trusted psychiatrist, Dr. Fletcher (Betty Buckley), there remains one still submerged who is set to materialize and dominate all the others. Compelled to abduct three teenage girls led by the willful, observant Casey (Anya Taylor-Joy, The Witch), Kevin reaches a war for survival among all of those contained within him—as well as everyone around him—as the walls between his compartments shatter apart.