One Movie Punch “Glass” Full Review

Not a total train wreck, but the plot is full of cracks nevertheless.

After the success of 2017’s Split, M. Night Shyamalan’s Glass was the highly anticipated conclusion to the macabre take on the superhero genre. Unfortunately, the film fails to deliver the intense plot that audiences wanted. After the big reveal that Split was connected to Unbreakable (2000), the audience was predisposed to anticipating the same level of suspense and thrill that was found in the aforementioned two films. Plot twist. The plot misses the mark. Glass is the final installment in this superhero universe trilogy that postulates that comic book characters are, albeit exaggerated, inspired by real-life super humans. Out of left field, this movie was completely unexpected until the uncredited cameo of Bruce Willis’ character of David Dunn from Unbreakable. Despite the lackluster narrative, the film is not without its entertainment value. It is sufficiently enjoyable, but leaves you with a feeling of “meh.”

For the full review, visit the One Movie Punch website for the audio review and transcript! And if you don’t do so, follow One Movie Punch on Twitter and subscribe with your podcast service.

Ryan teaches screenwriting at the University of Tampa. If you like this article, check out the others and FOLLOW this blog!

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“Split” movie review

splitIntensely captivating! M. Night Shyamalan stages a successful return to the horror-thriller genre in the brilliantly intriguing motion picture Split. When Universal Pictures, arguably the king of the American horror film, Blumhouse Productions, and Shyamalan combine their respective visual storytelling skills, the result is a dynamic thriller full of outstanding twists and turns. Shyamalan, long known for surprise or bizarre endings, provides audiences with the biggest surprise of all: he is back, and it’s a completely satisfying cinematic experience! Beginning with 2015’s The Visit, Shyamalan has been working on a comeback; and Split is the final evidence needed to support his successful return to the silver screen. James McAvoy delivers an outstanding performance–or should I say performances–every minute of the film. Although the concept of building a suspense-thriller around a character with dissociative identify disorder (DID), formerly known as multiple personality disorder, is not a new one–after all Norman Bates is the most iconic example. M. Night Shyamalan puts his own spin on the character-type by adding his special blend of what can only be referred to as “shyamalan-ness.” You’ll definitely want to see it again in order to catch everything that you missed the first time.

A film that many psych majors will find fascinating! While the mental divisions of those with dissociative identity disorder have long fascinated and eluded science, it is believed that some can also manifest unique physical attributes for each personality, a cognitive and physiological prism within a single being. Though Kevin (McAvoy) has evidenced 23 personalities to his trusted psychiatrist, Dr. Fletcher (Betty Buckley), there remains one still submerged who is set to materialize and dominate all the others. Compelled to abduct three teenage girls led by the willful, observant Casey (Anya Taylor-Joy), Kevin reaches a war for survival among all of those contained within him – as well as everyone around him – as the walls between his compartments shatter apart. (IMDb).

Just when you think the movie is going one direction, it throws you for an unpredictable loop. Split provides audiences with the same level of captivation as M. Night delivered in Signs or even in The Visit. Very much character-driven, this film could have easily taken a turn for the campy or par-for-the-course approach to a central character with DID; but Shyamalan proves that a familiar premise can be crafted into a whole new experience. After the incredible success of 1999’s The Sixth Sense, audiences everywhere set the bar for Shyamalan quite high–in fact he was prematurely compared to a 21st century Alfred Hitchcock. While it is highly unlikely that any director will reach the iconic status of Hitchcock, Shyamalan was seen as a director who would provide a similar experience to that which earned Hitchcock the moniker the master of suspense. Evidence of his admiration of Hitchcock can be been in the title sequence of Split. It bares a striking resemblance to the opening title sequence from Psycho. 

However, the danger in prematurely setting expectations too high is that you may likely be setting yourself up for disappointment. And that is precisely what happened with Shyamalan. From killer plants to invisible supernatural entities, he began to lose the cache he earned in the early 2000s. M. Night would spend years disappointing audiences to the point that he became a joke–a parody–perfect material for Family Guy. Then just when all hope for Shyamalan to regain the admiration of movie patrons–especially those who enjoy horror/suspense/thrillers–he gives us The Visit in 2015. That film was the glimmer of hope he needed to begin to rebuild his status as a thriller/suspense/horror filmmaker. And with the incredibly satisfying Split, M. Night Shyamalan is BACK!

Films like Psycho and Split only work as well as their respective director and cast–primarily the villain. Obviously, Psycho stands up to the test of time and will forever be a favorite of many cinephiles and a testament to the power of visual storytelling, Split had to be a new experience while still channeling the director that Shyamalan admires and patterns himself after. The success of Split rested upon the performance of McAvoy as Kevin (and the 23 others with a 24th on the horizon). McAvoy’s performance in this film is quite possibly the best of his career. Each identity is clearly seen as individuals. From his facial expressions to his gait to the manner in which he carries himself, every identity is unique in voice and appearance. Even in the middle of a conversation, one identity goes away while another surfaces into “the light.” Although there are only a few identities that have prominence in the diegesis, the others give audiences just enough nuance to register them as having a presence in the subconscious of Kevin.

For all the excellence in cinematic storytelling Split has to offer, there is no denying that it may be controversial in that it uses DID to construct a “beast.” There are already members of the mental-illness community who have expressed disdain for the subject matter and context of the film. However, prematurely dismissing this film as offensive to those suffering from cognitive disorders would be ill-conceived. After screening the film, it is clear that the focus is not on DID itself (or any other cognitive disorder that Kevin may have), nor is Kevin crafted to be an unredeemable monster; but, this film uses DID and the character of Casey (one of the young ladies who is captured at the beginning of the film) as tools through which to explore childhood trauma, abuse, and coping mechanisms. Isn’t that what films do? Push the envelop in an effort to provide a different perspective on an issue, problem, or circumstance? Horror is often concerned with “other” scenes–revealing that which should remain hidden–and Shyamalan does precisely that in Split.

If you enjoy horror, suspense, or thriller films, then you are definitely going to enjoy Split. There is so much to take in, that you may want to watch it again in order to catch everything that you may have missed the first time. Even if you are skeptical or think the content may be offensive to the mental-illness community, you may be surprised that there is a lot that can be gleaned from the narrative. With brilliant performances, excellent writing, and outstanding direction, Split should be on your radar of films to watch this weekend.

Written by R.L. Terry

Edited by J.M. Wead

“The Visit” movie review

TheVisitOver the river and through the woods to grandmother’s house we go…You’ll never think of visiting your grandparents in the same way ever again. I just have to say, congratulations M. Night Shyamalan for making a triumphant return to the horror genre. Blumhouse and Universal Pictures’ The Visit is a found footage/documentary style horror film that has a lot to offer as we slowly gear up for the Halloween season in the coming weeks. The film successfully pairs blood curdling thrills with belly laughs. What can be more terrifying than a visit to grandma and grandpa’s that has gone terribly wrong??? Sometimes the best horror films are those that take what is otherwise non-descript or safe and twist it around and turn it inside out. And, that is what you get with The Visit. One of the best parts of the movie is that the–what you thought were spoilers in the trailer–are not quite as they seemed and will still catch you off guard. Perhaps next time you visit your grandparents, you may not want to leave your room after 9:30 in the evening. This is especially true if your grandparents live way out in the sticks where the only connection to the internet is an ethernet cable.

After years of separation and ignoring one another, a single mother (Kathryn Hahn) makes contact over social media with her estranged parents in the woods of Pennsylvania. Reluctantly, she decides to allow her kids Becca (Olivia DeJonge) and Tyler (Ed Oxenbould) to take a train to visit their newly discovered grandparents against Mom’s better judgment. The timing works out because Mom has a new boyfriend that has invited her on a cruise to escape the snow and bask in the sun. Upon arrival in their grandparents’ jerkwater hamlet, Becca and Tyler soon become concerned about their grandparents’ bizarre behavior. Rules like stay out of the basement and don’t leave your room after 9:30 in the evening are just the beginning of the strange and terrifying encounters that lurk behind corners and under porches. Fearful for their lives and virtually cut off from the outside world, Becca and Tyler must carefully and skillfully escape the warm kitchen, delightful cookies, and old world that has them trapped.

Okay, at first I was disappointed that it was going to be another found footage or point-of-view documentary style movie. Unless I had missed something, the preview did not lead me to believe that it would be shot POV. I was hoping for a traditional narrative that was shot mostly objectively. However, as I watched the movie, I actually found the documentary style shoot to work for the film quite well. Took a little getting used to, but in the end, it was a great method for telling this terrifying tale of a visit to grandma’s. Although the pacing does start off on the slow side, it picks up and will have you sucked in before you know it. From the moment that you meet grandma and grandpa, you know that there is just something not right. And, just like a good horror or suspense movie should, you won’t know that that is until the end of the movie during the climax–you most likely won’t see it coming.

One of the many positive elements of the movie is Shyamalan’s ability to integrate humor with the terror. One minute you will be laughing along with the kids, and the next you will shoot right up out of your seat with fright. There are even parts that will gross you out while other parts of the film contain mouth-watering homemade delights. They all work together to disorientate the audience. One of the best methods to ensure a scare is to keep the audience off balance. This way, you can hit them with a jump scare here, a warm moment there, and sneak in from behind and scare them. The disorientation allows for the narrative to build up to the most horrific elements of the movie. It’s like, the audience is in the midst of a horror movie before they know it. Building suspense is paramount to a well-written horror film. Not that jump scares aren’t important, but a film should very rarely ever build a foundation upon solely them. Building suspense lasts, a jump scare is like a firecracker–lows up quickly and dissipates just as fast.

If you are in the mood for a fun horror film before hitting Halloween Horror Nights at Universal Studios Florida/Hollywood or Howl-O-Scream at Busch Gardens Tampa/Williamsburg, or just want to put on the movie movie on your boyfriend or girlfriend, then definitely check out The Visit while it is in theaters.