After delivering absolute crackers like The Sixth Sense, M Night Shyamalan has had a string of movies that frequently show up on the worst movies list - but critics are going gaga over his latest - a psycho thriller in which James McAvoy plays a victim of childhood abuse, suffering from dissociative identity disorder with 23 distinct personalities.
The film opens to a gripping scene in which one of his evil avatars kidnaps three young girls, locking them away in an underground bunker. McAvoy delivers a memorable performance, even though the director never develops, or even exposes more than a handful of the 23 personalities. McAvoy swings effortlessly between the sinister Dennis and the female avatar Patricia, to the kiddo Hedwig and a gay fashion designer Barry, but the movie never really builds up a gripping tempo. The 3 girls are completely wasted. Scenes show promise, but then just like the lethargic girls, die out with a whimper. The premise of a person with 23 completely disconnected personalities (and then add some supernatural stuff to it) opens up so many interesting possibilities in screenplay and story - and it was disappointing that the film meanders towards a predictable end.
Unlike most of Shyamalan's movies, the end is predictable, and the "twist" when it comes, is more like a squirm in your seat, almost as if you are willing your body to react, so you justify sitting through until the credits begin to roll..