DID(Dissociative Identity Disorder) or MPD(Multiple Personality Disorder) was the premise of this film, and the trailers were clear about that. But was it really? or there could be more? Perhaps…
There weren’t anything we hadn’t seen before here: kidnap, teenagers and their perky bosoms, short skirts, and isolation. At least three were better than Ma(Brie Larson) in Room(2015). So you thought. Teenagers did what teenagers did best, they bickered!: “I am not doing the victim shit!”, said Claire Benoit(Haley Lu Richardson). Therefore, as expected there would be some dumb things that they would do…and that’s ok, director, M. Night Shyamalan, had successfully kept us at our seats to contemplate how this would end: blood and gore, sadistic and masochistic, or clever and sometimes witty?
Claire is hosting her birthday party and out of sympathy she invited the most unpopular girl in school, Cassey Cooke(Anya Taylor-Joy) to join. Cassey’s taciturnity irks others at the party. The party is wrapped up and Claire’s dad (Neal Huff) invites Cassey for a ride home. With another friend, Marcia (Jessica Sula), the four of them are heading for their car…the dad is knocked out, and Kevin and his alters(James McAvoy) drive the car away with the three girls now being comatose. All along, only Cassey knows that it isn’t the dad coming to the car.
Dr. Fletcher (Betty Buckley) is a leading expert in DID, and Kevin and his alters are her patients. In her meeting with the fashionista, Barry, she senses something is not quite right, but Kevin/alters calm her suspicion.
Most of the time, we were watching how the three girls dealt with their precarious situation, and how they planned their escapes. While this was going on, the film brought us back to Cassey’s life when she was growing up, and it gave us a background why Cassey behaved the way she was. Her life was part of a catalyst in making this otherwise mediocre film extraordinary, cause it made us exploring deeper, and associating Cassey and Kevin with better understanding and empathy.
McAvoy and Taylor-Joy obviously were the anchors of the film. They used facial expressions cleverly and effectively to convey their emotions, and they started to grow on you and convinced you that Kevin wouldn’t kill and Cassey would survive. Successfully, McAvoy and Taylor-Joy kept you on your toes up to the rolling ending credits.
But, saying M. Night Shyamalan got his groove back was not without its merit, for one he kept the surprise close to his chest, so close that you might or may realize it when the film ended, or when you get home. And suddenly it all makes sense! and what had been bothering me, why three couldn’t fight one, is OK now, cause there were more important “alternative facts.”that makes this film unbrokenly memorable.