Genres: Drama, Sci-fi

Rated: R

Country: USA

Year: 2008

Runtime: 91 minutes

Studio: Barry Mendel

Review done by: Serial McKiller
Online since: February 20th, 2006
Hosted by:  Yahoo!
Starring: Mark Wahlberg, Zooey Deschanel, John Leguizamo, Spencer
Breslin, Betty Buckley, Tony Devon, Victoria Clark, Jeremy Strong, Frank

Director: M. Night Shyamalan

Synopsis: A paranoid thriller about a family on the run from a natural crisis
that presents a large-scale threat to humanity.

Review:'s what I like to call one of THOSE movies. And I mean something
very specific by this. People are not going to like M. Night Shyamalan's "The
Happening." In fact, people will probably hate it to its core in every way.
Criticizing him, the actors, the plot from top to bottom and then some. I
mean his critics will have tons of ammo against him as if they didn't already.
With that said, I actually liked it. Crazy shit huh? I didn't love it and there's
specific reasons for that as well, but I do like it's daring and it's, well I'll call it
a quirk. You see "The Happening" is a homework movie. Meaning if you've
read an interview or two listening to Shyamalan talk about the film then it'll
give you a different pair of glasses to look at it with. The big thing he's
pushing is that he wanted to make a 50's style science fiction film. Well he
meant that, and he meant that very literally. There's alot of 60's influences
too. Stuff like Hitchcock's "The Birds", Romero's "Night of the Living Dead"
and so on, but if you've seen alot of stuff out of that time period then you
probably know what I mean. That's the quirk.

Shyamalan is daring to do one of the most dangerous things he could do
with a summer released thriller. The Happening tries to recreate so much of
the 50's as in performances, dialogue, off beat humor and a steady point of
view from that of Mark Walhberg's character; science teacher Elliot Moore.
This will really mess with people and will play more humorously than anything
else because of that. You know how the oldies were. There's a giant rock with
strange carving on it and someone yells 'come look at this!' as if they can't
see a giant rock with carving on them. Alot of people say Shyamalan's work is
like extended episodes of "The Twilight Zone." Well for this, you have to think
further back. The Happening is more like "One Step Beyond" with John
Newland, which had alot of really off beat, wild stories that tried more than
'Twlight Zone' to be grounded in reality somewhat. "The Happening" is
definitly that as it tries to play as a slightly extended global thriller despite it
only being concentrated in the north east. The movie partly plays the
guessing game as to what causes it.

There is what I'll call a theory to it. Whether or not you choose to believe it is
up to you and the thing is it's a 50-50 shot. But hey it won't matter cause
like I said, you probably won't like it and thus won't think about it too long.
Now I'm gonna light it up and tell you why. Mark Wahlberg plays into the 50's
thing a good bit, but doesn't land every jump. I love Mark and a ton of his
films and think he is a terrific actor. Anyone who questions it I offer up
"Boogie Nights", "The Departed", "Three Kings", "I {Heart} Huckabees", "The
Italian Job", "The Yards" and "The Perfect Storm". Here though he sounds
awkward in parts of the movie and that perhaps he wasn't the best person
for this role. Shyamalan's great about using unusual actors as his leads
because usually the character is quite a bit different from the person's list,
but to be honest I think the lead role might have been better suited for
someone else. When discussing the villain of "The Happening" it's also difficult
because it's not an easy answer, but not really a spoiler. For me I think it's
the planet fighting back in it's own way. A little enviro-evil which is quite
different and daring, and I like that.

It's definitly an unforeseeable evil and when all you have to prove with is what
you THINK it is after a few occurrences then it's hard press to figure it all in. I
think when people of think Shyamalan they picture a twist near the end.
Which is sad considering only a few of his films consisted including "The Sixth
Sense". I suppose everyone likes to think that there's some twist at the end
where there's a monster or something. It's been five films later and I think
he's proven that he's got no tastes for twists anymore. There's a few lines
that definitely don't work nowadays, but the one they stuck out to me that
should have been cut is a scene in which a character is about to die and we
cut to Wahlberg running and yelling "
Noooooooo!" in slow motion. There's
alot that can be said about that scene. There are books that could be written
about the use of the
"Noooooooo!" scene. The major point of it is, it doesn't
work anymore, and yes it turns a startling scene into a funny one which is
bad. The same thing happened while watching "Point Break" when Gary Busey
gets shot.

It's supposed to be dramatic, but at this point we've seen that so many
times that there's nothing new to add to it that would make it better aside
from it to not exist anymore. I want to explain that I'm not making up
excuses for anything to try and get anyone reading to think my way, like
"The Happening" instead of loath it or however you may feel. I'll tell you I
dread hearing and seeing people coming out of it because I know I'll hear
what I heard with "No Country for Old Men". Just rows and rows of people
complaining about how it's the worst movie they've ever seen and blah blah
blah. Then if so bold they will ask your opinion, in which case like me writing
this it's a tight rope to walk. They think you're nuts if you say you liked it,
but if you did and they tell you you're just a spineless phony and opens up a
door to tons of boring chit chat bashing. So what do you do? You say,
"well... it was interesting". This definitly isn't Shyamalan's best film, but even
for what it was it's still interesting to consider.

It's not quite as suspenseful, but does get a few good startling moments.
It's an R, but not a hard R. There's not a bunch of gore or anything, just
some scenes that required more graphic detail. This isn't a big budget looking
or feeling film and it pushes that old school vibe alot, because it does feel like
a cheap road movie. The supporting work is okay although I wish Zooey
Deschanel had more to do in the film as she feels more like a constant follower
. The relationship issues between her and Wahlberg's character seemed less
tramatic than most and again I think there's a point being made there, but
alot of the movie is like. "The Happening" is really Shyamalan's movie, for
Shyamalan. So I'll say with its flaws and all it was entertaining and
interesting. Again I don't expect ANYONE to agree with any of this. That's my
word and I'm sticking to it.

Overall: 7/10
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