Is M. Night Shyamalan’s ‘Split’ a prequel?


M. Night Shyamalan’s Split is the horror movie that became the first outright sensation of 2017. The $9 million budgeted chilling horror film has already earned $102 million worldwide and held the No.1 spot for two weeks. With word-of-mouth and social media, the marketing for the movie caused people to become interested in the new and fresh story. “At once solemn and preposterous, sinister and sentimental, efficient and overwrought, Split represents something of a return to form for its writer and director, M. Night Shyamalan,” according to The New York Times

Split begins as a story of three teen girls kidnapped by a man, named Dennis, who has 23 different personalities. The girls fight to escape their imprisonment and try to outwit their kidnapper’s personalities. What is interesting is that the girls escaping seems to be the focus of the story, but there is a twist. By the finale, what Shyamalan wants the viewers to come to realize is that this is the origin story of a superhero that would reside in the world of his 2000 film, Unbreakable. Bruce Willis, who also played in Unbreakable, made a cameo appearance at the end of the movie, being the connection of the two. Unbreakable focuses on a man who is told he is an “unbreakable” after surviving a deadly train crash that killed everyone but him. He was left untouched and developed superhuman powers as well. While Split wasn’t marketed as a spin-off or prequel to Unbreakable, Shymalan used central narrative stemming from ideas and characters discarded from his original draft of Unbreakable to create the characters in Split.

Shyamalan seemed to have stumbled upon his own variation of Ridley Scott’s Prometheus, a prequel, which was told through different characters and plots that led up to the Alien franchise. This type of film production leads interest into a movie franchise. “It’s really interesting how a film director makes a sequel or prequel have the same premises of the original film but told through different characters and views. I didn’t know about Unbreakable until I looked online. The movies have nothing in common except like the suspense part, but it made me try to derive a conclusion about the two films,” said Symone Coates (17’). “I’m hoping for a sequel that finally connects the two films.” M. Night Shaymalan has not said if he was going forward with a sequel to Unbreakable or Split, but fans do hope that there will be one in the works.