When M. Night Shyamalan announced ‘Split’ (2016) in 2015, that is after ‘After Earth’ (2013) which had essentially completely tarnished his reputation, it seemed as though it would be another pretentious Shyamalan project of a “comeback film”. However, with ‘Split’, M. Night Shyamalan proved cinematic brilliance yet again. With ‘Glass’, he furthered his reputation of making unique films.
Another deft amalgamation of psychology and horror, ‘Split’ stars James McAvoy as Kevin Wendell Crumb, a man suffering from dissociative identity disorder who has 23 different personalities. One of his personalities, “Dennis” kidnaps Casey Cooke, essayed by Anya Taylor-Joy. Things go bad to worse as Crumb’s 24th personality is about to activate which is “The Beast”. To begin with, the film itself starts with a classic Shyamalan absurdity as it is a standalone sequel to ‘Unbreakable’ (2000). The film is teeming with thrilling elements which are the result of a sold script by the filmmaker. The film’s financial and critical success has now successfully spawned a sequel titled ‘Glass’ and essentially gifts us with a potentially definitive trilogy.
‘Split’ isn’t just a Shyamalan comeback film. It is a fresh wave of psychological horror films. A nod to the classic horror films which often took inspiration from the psychiatric and mental disorders such as Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID), Schizophrenia and Split Personality. The film’s success lies in its ability to captivate the imagination with horror, drama and thrill.
For this list, I have taken into account movies which have similar psychological, horror and dramatic undertones as ‘Split’. This list is not bound by a particular genre. Honourable mentions – ‘A Tale of Two Sisters’ (2003), ‘Kisapmata’ (1981) and ‘Insomnia’ (2002) – these films are certainly great films, but the ones on this list are a must watch for all cinema lovers. So, without further ado, here is the list of movies similar to Split that are our recommendations. You can watch several of these movies like Split on Netflix, Hulu or Amazon Prime.
12. The Skin I Live In (2011)
‘The Skin I Live In’, directed by Pedro Almodóvar, is the story of a brilliant plastic surgeon, who troubled by past tragedies, creates a type of synthetic skin that resists any kind of damage. However, his experimental enigma turns into horror when it transforms into an obsession, with a volatile woman being the guinea pig to his obsession. Based on thriller crime novel ‘Tarantula’ by Thierry Jonque, published in 1984, the film builds upon a biologically horrifying drama which causes immense discomfort and squeamishness. With a charismatically troubling performance by Antonio Banderas and an intrinsically created disturbing cinematography by José Luis Alcaine, the film is a brilliant look into the human psyches destructive powers when poked with phenomena of depressive distress.