*** This review may contain spoilers ***
When M. Night Shyamalan has been at his most creative and fired on all cylinders, it has resulted in some of the most inspired thrillers of the past two decades: The Sixth Sense, Unbreakable, Signs and The Village. In Split he is at it again, with a story that is as clever as it is preposterous, about a man with 23 different personalities, played with wonderful playfulness by James McAvoy. The first part of Split is also the best, as Shyamalan evokes an eerie atmosphere around the kidnapping of three teenage girls and the subsequent introduction of the kidnapper and his alter egos. Shyamalan demonstrates clever screenwriting as layer after layer of the onion is peeled and we get to know the McAvoy character more and more. Much of the key to understanding him comes through his scenes with Betty Buckley as his psychologist, and as in Shyamalan's best films, the tension and suspense rises to vibrating levels as we approach the turning point. Unfortunately, the film's effect is somewhat diminished by the realization of McAvoy's final personality, "The Beast", which could and should have been held on a tad more realistic level to avoid the cliched and largely ineffectual movie-monster-feel. Fans of Shyamalan may also like the cameo of Mr. Glass towards the end, with all the anticipation his appearance creates. Let's just hope the teaming of Kevin Wendell Crumb and Mr. Glass will become more fruitful than Superman vs. Batman.