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July 27, 2016

WATCH: Trailer for M. Knight Shyamalan's 'Split'

Homegrown filmmaker returning to big screen with psychological thriller

Entertainment Film
072716_ShyamalonSplitTrailer Source/Universal Pictures

Scene from M. Knight Shyamalan's "Split" (2017).

Say what you will about the inconsistent filmography of M. Knight Shyamalan, but his movies definitely generate buzz. That's especially true in the Philadelphia area, where the director was raised (Penn Valley, to be exact) after his family moved to the United States from India.

We all know about the success of "The Sixth Sense" and "Unbreakable," and plenty of people gave positive reviews for "Signs" and "The Village." It's nice seeing scenes from Philly pop up in Shyamalan's work. Rittenhouse Square made a cameo in 2008's otherwise absurd eco-slasher "The Happening," an affront to trees everywhere, and rumor has it that he came back to Center City for a shoot last November.

This time around, Shyamalan is taking on the refractory beast that is Dissociative Identity Disorder, a rare condition that affects as many as 9.1 percent of American adults over the age of 18, primarily female victims of abuse. In this trailer, Shyamalan turns convention on its head with a male villain character. 

It's tough to say how this will turn out, but the premise of kidnapping has been relatively fertile ground for films in recent years, from Denis Villeneuve's "Prisoners" (2013) to Atom Egoyan's highly recommended "The Captive" (2014) — for all you Ryan Reynolds and Rosario Dawson fans.

"Split," out January 20, 2017, stars James McAvoy ("Shameless," "Band of Brothers"), Betty Buckley ("Cats") and three young actresses now appearing in their first feature films.