Over the years, M. Night Shyamalan has developed a bit of a reputation for having made more terrible movies than good ones. A few such examples of the former include After Earth, The Happening and, of course, The Last Airbender (I’ll give you a moment to let those terrible memories come flooding back). #Shyamalan's last film release, 2015's The Visit, marked a return to form for the director, while his newest film Split looks like a damn good movie. This could very well spell a redemption for the director, best known for his trademark twists. Check out the trailer below.
Split isn’t the first movie to feature a character with dissociative identity disorder, which in the past was more commonly referred to as multiple personality disorder. Indeed, Hollywood has produced several films about the mental disorder, in which an individual displays at least two distinct personalities that result in temporary memory loss among other symptoms.
In anticipation for #Split hitting theaters on January 20, here is a list of the best movies featuring characters dissociative identity disorder .
Note: This list contains significant spoilers.
7. Secret Window (2004)
Johnny Depp stars in this film based on the #StephenKing novella Secret Window, Secret Garden. The actor plays writer Mort Rainey, who hides out in a remote upstate New York cabin in an attempt to overcome the writer’s block brought on by the discovery of his wife's infidelity and their subsequent split.
Mort is visited by a creepy man named Shooter who accuses him of plagiarizing one of his stories. An hour or so into the movie, the big twist is revealed that Shooter is an alternate personality for Depp’s character, with his dissociative identity disorder possibly sparked by his wife cheating on him.
6. The Lord Of The Rings Trilogy
Strictly speaking it's not one movie, but I couldn’t make this list without including Gollum/Sméagol. One of the most memorable scenes in the films depicts #Gollum and Sméagol arguing about what to do with those "tricksy Hobbitses" in The Two Towers. While I’m not certain if the personalities being aware of one another qualifies as dissociative identity disorder (I’m no doctor), I’m going to make an executive call on this one and say it’s close enough. Besides, Andy Serkis honestly deserves all the recognition in the world for this performance.
5. Identity (2003)
John Cusack once said, "I've made 10 good films." It might be difficult to choose which is the best of his career spanning more than three decades, but I’m going to hazard a guess that this one is pretty high up on his pick list. Identity tells the story of a mental health patient who has quite the number of personalities locked up within him (one of which is Cusack's character).
The thing is, one of the personas doesn’t really like sharing the inside of this guy’s head with the others, so decides he’s going to kill them all off one by one (metaphorically speaking). Of course, none of the personalities realize they don’t actually exist and the race is on to try to save all of their “lives” before the evil personality has his wicked way.
4. American Psycho (2000)
Before he was #Batman, Christian Bale was a Wall Street yuppie with a dark side. No, his character #PatrickBateman didn’t relish stealing from those that trusted him with their money. Instead, he had a psychotic alter ego lurking deep within him. Throughout the movie adaptation of Bret Easton Ellis's novel, Bateman gives in to this dark desires, but in the end we find that he was prone to suffering hallucinations. While Bateman's personality disorder is never named, there is evidence to suggest he could be suffering from a string of them, including antisocial personality disorder and schizophrenia.
As much as it sounds like a total copout, American Psycho is a brilliantly crafted film that leaves the door wide open, suggesting a glimpse of more to come for this iconic character.
3. Psycho (1960)
We couldn’t have a list like this without including this Alfred Hitchcock classic, even though I know I’m going to get a few protests for putting it at No. 3. #NormanBates was such a good boy who loved his mother dearly. His mother, on the other hand, wasn’t really that great of a parent.
When Mrs. Bates finally shuffled off this mortal coil — prior to the events of the film, and at the hands of her own son no less — Norman couldn’t cope with the loss and kept Mother alive, deep within himself. Due to the abusive nature of their relationship, this persona grew more violent until it couldn’t be controlled. While I know that every boy should love their mama, Norman might have gone a bit too far.
2. High Tension (2003)
Alexandre Aja burst onto the horror scene with his splat pack classic. It’s a sick thrill ride as a family is brutally attacked by a stranger in the middle of the night and their daughter is kidnapped. Unbeknownst to the attacker, the daughter's college friend is staying with them and sets out to follow in an attempt to save her. It’s a dangerous game of cat and mouse with an epic twist that comes when the would-be rescuer is revealed to be the one responsible for the murders and kidnapping. Not a movie for the squeamish, but one that horror fans will love.
1. Fight Club (1999)
Now, I know that the third entry on this list was an absolute classic. However, Fight Club was one of the most powerful films of my generation. It spoke to us and showed us the dark side to existentialism and the dangers our modern way of life present to our psyche. I hate to pull this card, but '90s kids know exactly what I’m talking about. Based on the novel by Chuck Palahniuk, #FightClub features two men who set out to tear down the shackles of society and reclaim true independence and strength through chaos. Of course, when things go too far, the more logical of the two men tries to stand up to his partner in crime. A rather tall order, when it turns out they’re one in the same.
So, there you have it. Seven of the best movies that feature dissociative identity disorder. Whether or not Split make this list when it comes out, I’m excited to see James McAvoy tackle 24 different personalities.
Split is released to cinemas on January 20. Was there a movie I forgot to add to this list? One that doesn’t belong? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below.