A phenomenal thriller reminiscent of the Agatha Christie’s ‘And Then There Were None’ took the world by storm in 2003. It was a ‘whodunnit’ film albeit a groundbreaking twist which completely threw its audience off guard. In this article, I aim to explain the plot details of the film which are slightly difficult to understand. Bear in mind that spoilers are ahead, so please do watch the film first before you read this article. The entire film alternates between reality and imagination, most of the scenes take place inside the head of Malcolm Rivers, the convicted serial killer, who suffers from Multiple Personality Disorder. If you’ve seen the recent Shyamalan film ‘Split’, James McAvoy’s character also suffers from a similar disease.
Who is Malcolm Rivers?
Malcolm Rivers is on death row, due to be executed in less than 48 hours. When his psychiatrist Dr. Malick discovers that his journals were misfiled in the case evidence, which indicate that he might have a mental disorder, Dr. Malick and his defense attorney move to stay the execution. What follows is a midnight hearing to determine whether the claim of insanity is justified or not.
Malcolm Rivers’ mother was a prostitute, he was found abandoned at a seedy motel in which she worked, after she had been murdered. He was then institutionalized by authorities and was made the responsibility of the foster care department. However, due to his childhood trauma, he developed eleven multiple personalities and went on to commit six murders at the Lakeworth Apartments in Nevada.
Before the midnight hearing, Dr. Malick has set the stage for a confrontation of sorts between the personalities of Rivers. According to his plan, he believes that the murderer among the personalities will be revealed and that particular personality can be controlled or destroyed. The setting of this confrontation is the creepy motel, reminiscent of the one Malcolm Rivers was found abandoned in as a child. Dr. Malick aims to prove that Rivers is suffering from Dissociative Identity Disorder so that he can be placed in a mental institution instead of being executed.