2. Split (2016)
Premise: One man with 24 very different and distinct personalities kidnaps and imprisons three teenage girls.
Split‘s premise is one that hinges entirely on a single actor’s ability to deliver a staggering range all in the space of one movie. Luckily for director M. Night Shyamalan, he was able to secure the truly outstanding James McAvoy, who delivered one of the finest, most disturbing performances in living memory.
Split‘s risky and singularly ambitious premise was enough to fascinate a massive global audience, and the movie’s status as a “stealth sequel” was enough to make fans of Shyamalan’s movies go back and rewatch for any other hints of links to Unbreakable. From start to finish, every aspect of Split was a great idea, and it was expertly marketed with an emphasis on McAvoy’s uniquely unsettling performance.
Verdict: Split relied heavily on McAvoy, whose ability to bring 24 different characters to life was make or break for this supervillian origin story. Luckily, McAvoy delivered, and Split is every bit as tense, awe-inspiring and horrifying as it sounds.