Studio:Universal Pictures, Blumhouse Productions
Director:M. Night Shyamalan
MPAA Rating:PG-13 (for disturbing thematic content and behavior, violence and some language)
Screenwriter:M. Night Shyamalan
Starring:James McAvoy, Anya Taylor Joy, Betty Buckley, Jessica Sula, Haley Lu Richardson
Let me just say that after a couple of debacles M. Night is back on top with this one! What a major performance from the already amazingly talented James McAvoy!
In this film he takes on no less than 8 characters! Each one very distinctive in their speech, mannerisms, demeanor, and style. Mr. McAvoy was able to bring to us, the audience, a full cast all in one person! Now don’t get me wrong the young lady who played opposite him, a miss Anya Taylor-Joy, put on a very intense performance as well! She was able to convincingly portray the horror of this situation and well as her ability to use her “training”, quick thinking, and her intellect to try and manipulate this scenario so that she, and her classmates, could escape.
We start out with a simple kidnapping, however, even in that we can see that there’s going to be something different. McAvoy is so intense with his body language in this opening scene that one can tell that he took some time with each character to develope them as individuals.
I think one of the better parts of this film is how the storyteller/director gently peels back of the layers of where he has taken them. The setting looks like a basement for most of the film and it’s only as the film goes on that you begin to see the truth of the environment unfold just as with the main characters.
Throughout the film we are given access to some of the history of the young lady named Casey Cooke. It is brought to us piecemeal, little vignettes of her younger self. Stories of her dad, camping, hunting, and things of that nature.
She, Casey, handles herself amazingly well, assessing the situation, taking time to think before acting, but thinking quickly! She is deathly afraid, but does not panic. She make rapid, but precise observations, and keeps her cool, as best she can.
James (or Kevin as he is named in the film) is shown struggling with who he is, who they are. He attends therapy, trying to figure things out, bouncing between all of these persona’s. In fact, one of the greatest moments in the film is where you see him as one character putting on the mask of another, trying to play that one without giving away the first. Wow!
In conclusion I do not believe you will be disappointed with this one, especially if you stay to the end. Excellent work done by all!
Visual/make up FX: 95