M. Night Shyamalan Explains How 'Dogtooth' Influenced 'Split'

M. Night Shyamalan is back in multiplexes this weekend with “Split,” his new thriller starring James McAvoy as a man with split personalities….and that’s all I want to know until I see the movie myself. And while the film apparently has one of the director’s trademark twist endings, you might be surprised to learn that Shyamalan looked to the arthouse for some inspiration for his new movie.

Chatting with AV Club, the director shared his love for foreign cinema, and how he collaborated with cinematographer Michael Gioulakis (who shot David Robert Mitchell‘s terrific looking “It Follows“) in bringing some surprising visual influences to “Split.”

“Michael Gioulakis, ‘Mikey G,’ who [shot] ‘It Follows,’ he came and lived at my house in Philly for, like, a month. I storyboard every shot and then redo it and redo it in drafts to get the visual script. And he was down for anything. I’m very influenced by independent and foreign cinema, so we were watching a lot,” he said. “In particular, ‘Caché‘ was a big deal for me. ‘Dogtooth.’ Have you seen ‘Dogtooth’?”

“Well, then you remember how the frame is so irreverent to the characters. They stand up, and they’re just cut off. It’s doing its own thing. So if you watch our film through ‘Dogtooth eyes,’ you can see how often we did that: a character just standing up out of frame or walking out, or you see just their shoulder. It feels like a window,” he added.

That’s pretty cool, and something to keep in mind when you sit down for “Split” this weekend.