Perhaps the biggest twist when it comes to M. Night Shyamalan’s latest, Split, is that if you paid close attention to the film’s poster, you may have known what happens long before seeing the actual film itself.
With over $100 million worldwide on only a $9 million production budget, it’s clear that Shyamalan’s Split is the first major success story of 2017, and a huge comeback win for writer-director Shyamalan, who’s been inching his way back into the genre-movie conversation over the last several months.
With Split, Shyamalan introduced a story about three teenage girls taken hostage by a man with multiple personalities, one of which may or may not be a ferocious monster in search of its latest prey. Can the girls survive long enough to find a way to escape?
What the film doesn’t tell you until the very end, though, is that it actually takes place within the same cinematic universe as Shyamalan’s Unbreakable, one of the more unique superhero movies ever made and one that rests at the top of Shyamalan’s filmography, according to many fans.
A neat little fun fact uncovered online reveals that Shyamalan dropped one giant clue as to his film’s connection to Unbreakable, and it was on the poster. Check out this side-by-side with the Unbreakable poster.
As you can see, the Split poster is like a mirror version of the Unbreakable poster, with the crack appearing to grow a bit larger with the introduction of James McAvoy’s character.
Shyamalan has already said that a more official Unbreakable sequel won’t be too far off, revealing that McAvoy’s character was actually written in to an early draft of the original Unbreakable before being scrapped. What’s cool about Split is that it shows another inventive way of accessing an ongoing story without simply making a straight-up sequel or prequel. Split, in many way, is an entire movie about a villain’s origin story that differentiates itself from Unbreakable in numerous ways even though both are connected.
What Shyamalan accomplishes with Split is a fresh spin on the evolution of a franchise, and not only is it one of the reasons why it’s been so successful (audiences want more inventiveness in their ongoing narratives), but it’s also a great concept to use in other franchises, specifically genre films that have lower budgets and can afford more risk taking.
And yeah, we bet you’re also really jazzed about seeing the next chapter in Shyamalan’s glass web.
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