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The Happening

A movie directed by M. Night Shyamalan.

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A Sub-par Effort

  • Feb 6, 2009
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I must state up front that I am a big M. Night Shyamalan fan. I'm especially partial to both Signs and The Village, which in my mind are pure genius. Every time one of his films is released I'm always amazed at the slaughter that ensues from both fans and critics alike. Make no mistake about, people love to hate this guy and I just don't get it. I believe that Shyamalan is one of the most innovative filmmakers of our time and I'm always anxiously awaiting his next offering.

As I read early reviews on The Happening, I was actually very hopeful because they were so negative. Everyone told me to avoid Lady in the Water and I really enjoyed it. Surely it was going to be the same with Shyamalan's latest right? I was going to discover once again that for some reason I'm one of the only film buffs on the planet that can truly recognize good filmmaking when I see it. As much as it pains me, I must concede that for once everybody else was right. I wanted to love this movie. I wanted to find greatness where no one else could, but it bums me to admit that it's nowhere to be found.

It seems that the story and more specifically, the antagonists bothered most critics and reviewers. I actually thought the story was interesting and I could even buy the bizarre explanation for what was happening. However, I really feel like for the first time that Shyamalan really missed the mark with his plot execution. The movie starts out on the right notes, sucking us into the story with chilling sequences and clever suspense. Unfortunately, the film peaks early and leaves us with very little to pull the story along.

Mark Whalberg's performance was especially disappointing. He tried way too hard to make his character seem soft-spoken and damaged. Instead, all he did was give us a character that was incredibly annoying and whiny throughout the film. Zooey Deschanel only proved what she's proven in all of her other films: she's a weird chick and can only play weird chicks in movies. The rest of the cast was just OK at best, and this is the first Shyamalan film where I felt the casting was done poorly. I dare say the film would have been better off casting the other Whalberg brother and the other Deschanel sister.

The Happening is Shyamalan's first Rated R film and it's very obvious. It reminded me of what happened when George Lucas finally got his hands on CGI for Star Wars Episodes I-III. The films looked spectacular, but somewhere along the way Lucas forgot what made the original trilogy so timeless: the story! The Happening showcases some of Shyamalan's most frightening scenes to date and he makes good use of the R rating. Unfortunately, it seems he was so focused on making parts of this film as scary as he could that he neglected the all-important plot.

I haven't given up hope on M. Night Shyamalan and I do believe he will wow us again. Sadly, it won't be with this sub-par effort.

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February 06, 2009
I'm afraid I'm one of "those" people. THE SIXTH SENSE was a surprise film that I saw through in the first 15 minutes, SIGNS left me cold, UNBREAKABLE was actually pretty good and I enjoyed it, THE VILLAGE was...well... I'm sure you'd hate many of my favorite films too. To each his own. As for this one, we got a double dose of plants with a grudge against us what with THE RUINS coming out in the same year. Its hard to top a film where you've got plants imitating the sound of cell phones ringing in order to lure humans into their clutches. Maybe I'd like LADY IN THE WATER, I'll probably find out one day when it hits tv, but not until then. Still it was nice to read a True Believer's opinion of the master and his work.
More The Happening reviews
review by . December 01, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
** out of ****      In the past, M. Night Shyamalan has dealt with the ominous, the dark, the questionable, the humane, and even the beautiful. He has shocked me and with "Signs", I was most certainly riveted. But then came "The Village", which was a decent movie, but it was a big step down from "Signs". Then came "Lady in the Water", which I just could not find myself enjoying. M. Night Shyamalan tries to patch up his career with his first …
review by . August 08, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
Man Cannot Explain Every Phenomena, But He Tries To Explain Through Deductive Reasoning...
Act of God- A direct and sudden event or action of certain unexplainable forces that could not be reasonably foreseen; it compromises all evidence and defies all attempts at explanation by Science.      THE HAPPENING is writer/director M. Night Shyamalan’s latest outing after his somewhat disappointing “Lady in the Water”. This director’s films are lyrical in tone but often has a darkness in their proceedings; Shyamalan‘s films are also thematic …
review by . May 04, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
I heard this was M. Night Shyamalan's best film since The Sixth Sense (Collector's Edition Series), so I wanted to see for myself.     I really liked this movie because it was suspenseful and moved along at a fast clip, but it's definitely not in the same league as The Sixth Sense. That was a gripping movie, filled with eerie, frightening happenings and great acting.    The opening scene of The Happening occurs in Central Park on a bustling, normal day. Two …
Quick Tip by . October 19, 2010
I enjoyed it, but this one didn't feel up to the standard of the first ones.
Quick Tip by . August 20, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
dumb dumb boring and dumb did i mention dumb?? lots of suspence leading up to NOTHING
review by . July 05, 2009
The Happening is Shymalan's first bad movie. But he still has yet to make a complete dud of a film. This one comes a bit close, but not quite. For one, the premise is much too good: Mother Earth strikes back, emitting from all of her greenery a toxin that is fatal for humans. Specifically, it causes them to kill themselves.From there, you can gather that the 90 minute runtime will be filled with confusion and hysteria as everyone tries to escape this strange Green Effect (by the way, that was the …
Quick Tip by . April 29, 2010
Movie Review Haiku: The Happening - Answers the question / "What's Happening?" with a curt / "Nothing worth watching."
review by . August 26, 2009
posted in Movie Hype
If you go into "The Happening" expecting an American style horror/disaster flick, you're bound to be disappointed. What you want from that kind of film are massive explosions, car crashes, tornadoes, zombies or monsters or ghosts, and big budget special effects, all tied together into some kind of coherent narrative with escalating action, leading to a climax in which (usually) the hero saves the world (or at least the local community) and achieves some kind of much needed reconciliation with his/her …
review by . July 08, 2009
M. Night Shayamalan got a huge career boost with The Sixth Sense.  When Unbreakable and Signs came out later, they were met with similar praise from fans.  People found his films to be something different and unique.  Shayamalan made his first mishap with The Village.  The idea of a big twist at the end of his movies didn't get old.  His twists just got weaker.  The Village was a movie that many found absorbing until those last few minutes when we learned of the twist.  …
review by . May 01, 2009
In our opening, people start committing suicide randomly,finding strangely violent cinematic ways to dispatch themselves -¬†and they haven't even seen this film yet. Cut to Marky Mark, a high school teacher in Philly who is making his kids fail their SATs by filling their heads with nonsense about disappearing bees. Are the bees related? What do you think? When the news of this potential bio-terrorist attack hits the school, Marky decides for some reason to get on a train with his not-quite-clear-how-estanged …
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Jake Chism ()
I am a professional book nerd and I love reviewing. Somewhere along the way I met a guy named Calvin who runs a really cool website called . Now I review books and films for … more
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You'd expect the end of the world to be no day in the park, but in M. Night Shyamalan'sThe Happening, a day in the park is where the end begins. One otherwise peaceful summer morning, New Yorkers strolling in Central Park come to a halt in unison, then begin killing themselves by any means at hand. At a high-rise construction site a few blocks over, it's raining bodies as workers step off girders into space. And all the while, the city is so quiet you can hear the gentle breeze in the trees. That breeze carries a neurotoxin, and what or who put it there (terrorists?) is a question raised periodically as the film unfolds. But the question that really matters is how and whether anybody in the Middle Atlantic states is going to stay alive.The Happeningis Shyamalan's best film sinceThe Sixth Sense, partly because he avoids the kind of egregious misjudgment that derailedThe VillageandLady in the Water, but mostly because the whole thing has been structured and imagined to keep faith with the point of view of regular, unheroic folks confronted with a mammoth crisis. Focal characters are a Philadelphia high-school science teacher (Mark Wahlberg, excellent), his wife (Zooey Deschanel) and math-teacher colleague (John Leguizamo), and the latter’s little girl (Ashlyn Sanchez). Instinct says get out of the cities and move west; most of the film takes place in the delicately picturesque Pennsylvania countryside, with menace hovering somewhere in the haze. There are...
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Genre: Action, Adventure
Release Date: June 13, 2008
MPAA Rating: R
DVD Release Date: October 7, 2008
Runtime: 1hr 29min
Studio: 20th Century Fox
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