Film Theory: Split Is More Than A Standalone Sequel To Unbreakable...
6. I See Dead People
To give credit where credit is due, the theory was first born from reddit user EatRayLove, drawing parallels between the content discussed in Split to one of the director’s earlier works. Now, hold your breath here, as it’s going to take a little imagination - but The Sixth Sense is where this whole things begins.
The film that put Shyamalan on the map and one that has stood the test of time since its release in 1999, The Sixth Sense is the story of Cole, a young boy that can communicate with ghosts, who undergoes treatment from psychologist Malcolm Crowe by request of his mother. Figuring out his gift and aided by the doctor, it’s discovered at the end of the film that Crowe himself was in fact dead all along, killed in a sequence earlier in the movie that had been passed off as just an injury.
Now, the link between the two films comes from one key moment in Split that can be interpreted in a number of ways. Kevin’s own therapist, Dr Karen Fletcher, is shown to be giving a Skype presentation to a room full of intellectuals on her divisive research into DID. During her exploration of the mind and the effect of the disorder on her patients, she begins to muse on the wider repercussions of mental health, asking:
‘Have these individuals, through their suffering, unlocked the potential of the brain? Is this the ultimate doorway to all things we call unknown? Is this where our sense of the supernatural comes from?’