Is The Beast Real in Split, Explained

‘Split,’ the M. Night Shyamalan horror mystery film that charts a young girl’s struggle to survive against a volatile adversary, employs a resilient antagonist in Kevin, a man diagnosed with severe DID who harbors 23 different personalities in his mind. Under the abduction of Kevin’s villainous identities— Dennis and Patricia— three teen girls, Casey, Marcia, and Claire, find themselves locked away in an inescapable situation. However, their predicament worsens when they learn about their kidnapper’s elusive 24th personality, rumored to be the most ruthless of them all.

Therefore, Casey plans her and the other girls’ escape by seeking help from Kevin’s friendly personas while awaiting the believed arrival of The Beast. Nevertheless, given the mythological idea of The Beast among Kevin’s identities— as an evolved human capable of drastically altering the man’s body chemistry to achieve a beastly form— a general skepticism around the 24th personality’s existence remains. SPOILERS AHEAD!

The Beast and Kevin’s Other Personalities

In the film, Kevin’s Dissociative Identity Disorder manifests in a way wherein all 23 of his identities are aware of each other’s existence. In fact, they explain their unique situation to their therapist, Dr. Karen Fletcher, as a circle of chairs gathered in Kevin’s mind, occupied by the different identities. In the circle’s center is a light that signifies one’s control over the shared physical form. Thus, “taking the light” becomes the act of fronting within Kevin’s body.

However, a rumor exists among these identities regarding the secret 24th personality that lives away from this circle and on the train station inside Kevin’s mind. The 24th identity, known as The Beast, is believed to be a barbaric and brutal individual with a physical form that exceeds the others’ shared physical form. As such, the rumor goes that The Beast is taller and stronger than Kevin’s regular physicality with long, flowing hair.

Consequently, skepticism arrives regarding the reality of The Beast’s existence. Although every one of Kevin’s personalities, from Dennis and Hedwig to Barry, are distinct individuals with their own thoughts, memories, and traits, they still all share Kevin’s singular body. Therefore, Hedwig— a nine-year-old boy— and Patricia— a woman— still occupy the same physicality as Barry, a regular adult man. For the same reason, if the Beast is defined by his superior physical form, his existence depends on a drastic change within Kevin’s body.

Thus, even Karen, who has radical beliefs about DID due to her work with exceptional patients like Kevin’s identities and more, believes The Beast is a fantasy. She believes Dennis and Patricia, scorned by the other personalities due to their immoral inclinations, affirm this fantasy to scare the other personalities and capture the light under their control.

Yet, at the same time, Karen maintains theories that support the Beast’s existence. Only one of Kevin’s personalities— Jade— has diabetes and has to take insulin shots when she fronts. Meanwhile, the other personalities have no diabetes issues despite sharing the same physical body. Therefore, the same proves that Kevin’s body at least has the ability to alter body chemistry to accommodate his different identities. As a result, the only thing truly holding the Beast from becoming a reality is the fact that, unlike Kevin’s other identities, he has remained hidden all this time.

The Beast’s Fateful Arrival

The Beast has remained a topic of conversation among Kevin’s identities long enough for Dr. Karen to have heard about him. Yet, the threat of him coming out and fronting in Kevin’s body only becomes real after an incident in Barry, the fashion designer’s workplace, triggers Kevin and his identities. Two teenage girls pull a gross prank on Barry by forcing his hand down their shirts on their breasts, which jars and disorients the man. Consequently, feelings of ostracization from his peers resurface, leading Kevin’s identities to become vulnerable enough for Dennis and Patricia— two banned personalities— to take control.

However, Dennis and Patricia don’t deem their presence enough. Instead, they believe it’s time to bring out the big guns when it comes to Kevin’s protection. Consequently, they want to bring The Beast out to show the world exactly what their physical form can be capable of. For the same reason, they kidnap Casey and the other two girls to offer sacrifices to the Beast, who will eat the young impure as a part of his transitioning process.

Eventually, as Dennis feels the time near, he leaves his lair— where he has the girls and Dr. Karen held hostage— and travels to the train station. Years ago, Kevin’s father left via a train station, which explains the location as the spot of arrival for Kevin’s most deadly coping mechanism. Thus, at the train station, The Beast finally emerges. Physically, he isn’t taller— and neither does he have a luscious mane.

Still, there’s a visible distinction separating the Beast from Kevin and his other identities. The Beast stands taller and is physically stronger. Furthermore, as he confronts his victims back at Kevin’s lair, his other capabilities— crawling on walls and immunity to bullet wounds— make themselves known. As such, The Beast proves to be a reality, who brutally kills Karen, Marcia, and Claire— cannibalizing the younger girls. Even though he spares Casey’s life in the end, his inevitable escape promises menacing outcomes for the film’s universe.

Read More: Why Does The Beast Let Casey Go at the End of Split?