Movie Chat: Split
Movie Review by Anita Jo Intenzo
The offering this week is a movie that I saw advertised on TV. Looked really creepy, so I was interested in the review. I didn’t realize this was the newest release from M. Night Shyamalan. Review courtesy of Anita Jo Intenzo, who also shares info on her true, chilling novel, Estate of Horror.
REVIEW by Anita Jo Intenzo
The mind is a dangerous place and the movie Split confirms that. The latest movie from the writer and director of the The Sixth Sense presented a disturbing, terrifying — and controversial — multiple personality tale to the audience last night of which I was part.
M. Night Shyamalan’s movie has a smaller cast and claustrophobic location working to his strengths. James McAvoy stars as Kevin, in a Tour de Force, plays a man who holds some 23 distinct personalities within him. One of them (or, at least one, who knows) has succeeded in kidnapping three young women for whatever reason and it’s up to them to escape before it’s too late. Co-starring opposite is the mesmerizing Anya Taylor-Joy as Casey, having broken through in 2016 with appearances in another supernatural thriller The Witch.
After some recent box office failures I feel Mr. Shyamalan has succeeded in making a truly psychological thriller that will have audiences holding their breath. There is a great twist at the end that only M. Night can pull off.
Here is a bit of irony with my association with both movies: Split and The Witch. Last year while watching The Witch at our suburban Philadelphia theater, we caught a glimpse of a familiar face in the audience was we were leaving. We asked the usher, who we knew, was that M. Night Shyamalan? He answered, “Yes. He was sitting right in back of you! He often slips in on an off nights to watch movies here.” (Mr. Shyamalan lives about 10 minutes away and as you all know from watching his movies he films them in nearby locations in and out of Philadelphia, PA.) We are not certain if he checking out the lead actress, Anya Taylor-Joy, who later became his protagonist in Split.
Go see it!
Anita shares info on her thrilling novel, Estate of Horror
When Paul Jaeger, Anita Jo Intenzo’s friend of thirty years dies suddenly and unexpectedly, she is shocked to learn that Paul, a writer and anthropologist, has named her sole Executrix of his estate.
After Paul’s Memorial, Anita Jo learns that she has to clean out his house for sale and is plunged into a world of her friend’s extreme hoarding, old hatreds, haunting and a horrific family secret. During the next ten months she and her son, Chris, spend hundreds of hours cleaning out his house and witness incredible poltergeist activity, shadow figures and hear non-human noises which they record and document.
Who or what is haunting the house?
As activity at the house turns darker and more sinister, a friend recommends renowned psychic medium, Laurie, and her team is able to make contact with Paul’s spirit. His dire warning about an ancient artifact sends shock waves throughout the paranormal investigative group and leaves Anita and her son in a dangerous situation.
Read this incredible true story of the paranormal, and Anita Jo Intenzo’s journey of the unknown that challenges the very core of her spiritual beliefs and tests the limits of her loyalty and friendship.
Where’s My Stuff?
It was March 19th and it was time to take the dozens of Egyptian, Greek, Roman and Mayan statues out of Paul’s room and pack them in the plastic crates we had taken from the basement. Since they were all going to me, I labeled them and packed them for storage. For a couple of minutes, Chris watched me as I did this.
“How do you feel about taking all his stuff?” he asked.
I looked at him. “I’m not sure. I didn’t realize I was inheriting a museum. It’s like each piece represents a small part of Paul.”
During that week we continued to go through hundreds of artifacts, statues and books related to anthropology. We had to walk single file to Paul’s bed because there were things piled everywhere.
We also had to do something with the bedroom furniture. I called his brother, Carl, who was now on speaking terms with me, to ask him if he wanted it, even though looked old and worn. He said yes, and I learned later it was part of his parent’s first bedroom set.
Chris was busy going through and emptying one of the dresser drawers came across a figurine wrapped in plastic.
“It looks like a doll, Mom,” he said.
I took it from him and looked at it through the plastic wrap.
“No,” I said. “It looks like a figurine of Scarlett O’Hara.”
“Here’s another part of it,” Chris said and handed me what looked like a staircase wrapped in plastic.
I examined it closely. “It’s a music box and I think the two pieces fit together with Scarlett descending the staircase. How pretty,” I said.
I put the two pieces on the dresser and suddenly the musical theme from Gone with the Wind began to play. Then something that looked to be a gold flash of light appeared out of nowhere and flew between us and we heard a loud bang. We looked at each other in shock; we couldn’t see anything that had fallen.
“I’m done, Mom, I’m out of here,” Chris said.
Uncomfortable and puzzled by the strange things that just happened, we wanted to get out of the house as quickly as we could. We went to Paul’s mother’s bedroom to take out the trash and weren’t there more than five minutes when we heard a loud crash come from Paul’s room.
“Jesus!” I yelled as we headed back in that direction. “It sounds like the entire bookcase came down.”
We found that three large plastic Tupperware bins that had been stacked against the back wall of his room had toppled over on the floor, their lids popped off and their contents spilled onto the middle of the floor. It appeared as though they had been violently pushed over from the back wall to the center of the room.
“I think Paul is mad that we’re taking all of his stuff,” Chris said.
Was that it? I was startled, tired and didn’t know what to do. I looked around at the mountain of work ahead of us and tried to think of a way to calm the ghost of my dead friend. I wiped a tear from my eye with my shirt sleeve.
“Paul, if it’s you, I’m sorry. Do you know that you’re dead? You died weeks ago and I’m only doing what you asked me to do in your will. I have to pack all of your things so I can sell the house. Please, give me a break!”
We waited and things did settle down. Chris and I picked up the mess and left for the day. Later that night, I checked the Gone with the Wind music box and removed the bubble wrap from the base only to see there was a small button you had to slide to one side in order for it to start playing. So, it hadn’t started to play because I had picked it up. How in the world had it played on its own?
I remembered Paul once telling me that if anything happened to him he would try and get in touch with me after his death.
“That’s a bit morbid, Paul,” I had said. “Let’s get off the subject.”
That happened a few months after his beloved mother died and we had been discussing theology in general. We both had problems with established organized religion, even though we had been brought up in conventional Christian religions. We were in a quest for answers to eternal questions and found that our mutual study of anthropology gave us a wide scope to explore other religions and their views on the afterlife. We both tended to be more spiritual than religious.
“No, really, I believe my Mom has been in touch with me here at the house,” Paul said.
I listened to his explanation and I believed him. “You were so close to your Mom, Paul, and she knew how much you loved her and took care of her. Maybe she’s just letting you know that she was grateful for all you did and she’s watching over you.”
I heard him choke back the tears. “Jo, promise me that if something happens to me, you won’t be afraid if I contact you.”
“Ok,” I said. Now I was choking up. “God, what are we talking about? We have so many years ahead of us.”
“Promise me, Jo.”
“Ok, okay, if something happens to me first, Paul, I’ll try and get in touch with you.”
We got off the subject and never talked about our “pact” again. Was he now trying to keep his promise to me?
Classically trained as a fine artist, Anita Jo Intenzo restores photos, paintings and antique dolls as the owner Past Images By Anita.
In January of 2009, as executrix of a dear friend’s estate, she became involved with the paranormal and wrote her successful book Estate of Horror: A True Story of Haunting Hatred and a Horrific Family Secret, published in 2014. Her sequel, Dark Transference, is due out in September.