The legacy of “The Twist” continues to follow M. Night Shyamalan, ignoring the reality that he was always better at directing movies than he was at writing them. Here he begins with a premise that sets off all kind of “problematic” alarms: a man with dissociative identity disorder (James McAvoy) abducts three teens (Anya Taylor-Joy, Haley Lu Richardson and Jessica Sula) for a mysterious but clearly dark purpose. McAvoy dives into his multiple-personalities role with relish, doing terrific small bits with shifts in posture or eye contact that evoke which of the personalities is currently dominant. And Shyamalan is aces at the kind of cross-cutting climax that has him weaving between four or five different locations—the women trying to escape as their captor nears, and a potential savior tries to leave crucial information—ahead of the most intense moments. The story, sadly, tries to build a tragic back-story for Taylor-Joy’s character into this tale of a potentially supernatural villain, and every attempt at creating well-rounded characters falls flat. Shyamalan would do well to trust his skills behind the camera, and not try to over-think a booga-booga genre piece about a guy with multiple personalities.
Director: M. Night Shyamalan
Producer: M. Night Shyamalan, Jason Blum, Marc Bienstock, Steven Schneider, Ashwin Rajan, Kevin Frakes and Buddy Patrick
Cast: James McAvoy, Anya Taylor-Joy, Betty Buckley, Haley Lu Richardson, Jessica Sula, Izzie Coffey, Brad Henke, Sebastian Arcelus and Neal Huff