Movie review by
Jeffrey M. Anderson, Common Sense Media
Split Movie Poster Image
Popular with kids
Teen girls in danger in smart, satisfying, scary thriller.
  • PG-13
  • 2017
  • 116 minutes

Parents say

age 15+
Based on 36 reviews

Kids say

age 14+
Based on 63 reviews

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

Not a lot of overtly positive messages messages, but the film does explore the unknown possibilities of the human body -- and how a certain state of mind can exert control over our physical selves.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Casey is a survivor, clever and self-reliant under pressure. She stands up for herself and thinks clearly in a crisis, although she gets very little reward for her strength.


Women are kidnapped and locked up. They're treated roughly and sprayed with a mace-like knockout spray. A man holds a knife to a girl's stomach. A man is hit with a chair. A young woman's stomach is ripped open (very brief). A man squeezes a woman around her middle, breaking ribs/spine. Characters die. Fighting with baseball bat. Sounds of ripping/eating a human body. Suggestions of an abusive uncle-niece relationship; a teen girl is shown with multiple scars on hr stomach and arms. Rifles and shotguns seen/used; shots are fired. A small girl points a rifle at a man. Characters hunt deer in the woods; dead deer seen. Offscreen attack.


Teen girls are forced to remove articles of clothing; they're shown in bras, panties, and other underthings. Reference to a man who "likes to watch young girls dance naked." Reference to a "prank" in which teen girls grab a man's hands and put them on their breasts. Strange, brief, comical kiss, with a reference to "being pregnant."


One use of "f--k" and an abbreviated use of "motherf----r," as well as two uses of "s--t," plus "blow me," "ass," "damn," "hell," "Jesus," and "God" (as exclamations).

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Adults drink cans of beer during a deer hunt.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Split is a smart, satisfying horror thriller from Sixth Sense director M. Night Shyamalan. It's about a man (James McAvoy) with multiple personalities (aka dissociative identity disorder). Violence and scariness are the big issues here. Characters die, women are kidnapped and hurt, and a young girl is abused by her uncle (though there's not a lot of gore or horror, and much takes place off screen). Characters fight; one is hit with a chair, and others are threatened with baseball bats and knives. A body is briefly shown with its stomach ripped open. Rifles and shotguns are seen and sometimes fired; characters hunt deer. Teen girls are forced to remove some of their clothes, revealing their bras, panties, and other underthings. There are also spoken sexual references, as well as infrequent swearing (including one "f--k," plus "s--t," "ass," and more) and some social drinking by adults.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byJessica V January 28, 2017

Too disturbing..not for children

I'm not a mother, but whenever I see a movie I think of my 13 year old niece and would this be appropriate for her. This movie is not. I usually love Shama... Continue reading
Adult Written byjason b May 27, 2017

Should NOT be PG-13

I enjoyed the movie (except for the ending, which was weak). But it should NOT be rated PG-13. It includes: elements of incest and child rape (an uncle characte... Continue reading
Teen, 14 years old Written byHarry.trax January 28, 2017

Disturbing but really smart psychological thriller !

Really interesting thriller with great acting and strange but smart story. The first part of the film is slow but the second part is really intense and disturbi... Continue reading
Teen, 15 years old Written byCallieMartens January 27, 2017

This movie should be rated R

I went to see Split with two friends of mine thinking it would be a thought-provolking movie with an intellectual plot about a man with Dissasociative Personali... Continue reading

What's the story?

In SPLIT, teen birthday girl Claire (Haley Lu Richardson) is finishing up a party with her friend Marcia (Jessica Sula). But her "mercy invite," troubled Casey (Anya Taylor-Joy), can't find a ride home. Claire's dad prepares to drive them, but then a mysterious man (James McAvoy) kidnaps all three girls and locks them in a windowless room. They notice that he acts strangely, showing different personalities and holding conversations with himself. Unbeknownst to the girls, the man goes to see his therapist, Dr. Fletcher (Betty Buckley), who tries to communicate with his 23 personalities. But he warns her of the coming of "the Beast," an all-powerful monster that could be a twenty-fourth -- and who might just have an appetite for teen girls.

Is it any good?

Filmmaker M. Night Shyamalan launches a full-fledged comeback with this tense, satisfying horror-thriller. Split is refreshingly infused with thoughtful ideas and sly suggestion, rather than gore or brutality. Shyamalan has had quite an up-and-down career; in 2016 he tested the waters with the small-scale The Visit, and he now makes a bold return to his Sixth Sense and Unbreakable glory days. Split actually resembles the latter film in some ways, rooted in real-world theories about the elastic limits of human possibility.

As ever, the director's camerawork is above reproach; he creates a sinister, windowless, underground lair, smoothly snaking with corridors, dingy doors and pipes, and harsh pools of light. His writing is subtler here than in other films, with a few odd touches but confident overall. Best of all are the two leads: Joy (The Witch) has an awesome, ethereal presence, and McAvoy conveys at least a half-dozen of his character's personalities with an uncanny, haunting clarity. Split is a smart movie that will undoubtedly leave viewers thinking -- and discussing.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about Split's violence. How much takes place on screen vs. off? Does that approach soften the impact of the violence?

  • Is the movie scary? Why or why not? What tools and tricks do filmmakers use to scare viewers? Why is it sometimes fun to be scared?

  • How does Split compare to other movies about dissociative identity disorder (multiple-personality disorder)?

  • Do you believe the human mind is capable of asserting control over the body, possibly correcting and curing diseases and disorders or gaining strength?

  • How does Split compare to Shyamalan's other movies? How is it similar? How is it different? What is he known for?

Movie details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love thrills

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