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The Happening (2008)

R  |   |  Drama, Sci-Fi, Thriller  |  13 June 2008 (USA)
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Ratings: 5.0/10 from 156,791 users   Metascore: 34/100
Reviews: 1,255 user | 319 critic | 38 from Metacritic.com

A science teacher, his wife, and a young girl struggle to survive a plague that causes those infected to commit suicide.


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3 wins & 9 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Joey (voice)
Woman Reading on Bench with Hair Pin
Woman Reading on Bench
Construction Foreman


Elliot Moore is a high school science teacher who quizzes his class one day about an article in the New York Times. It's about the sudden, mysterious disappearance of bees. Yet again Nature is doing something inexplicable, and whatever science has to say about it will be, in the end, only a theory. Scientists will bring out more theories, but no explanations, when a more urgent dilemma hits the planet. It begins in Central Park. Suddenly and inexplicably, the behavior of everyone in the park changes in a most bizarre and horrible way. Soon, the strange behavior spreads throughout the city and beyond. Elliot, his wife, Alma, and Jess, the young daughter of a friend, will only have theories to guide them where to run and where to hide. But theories may not be enough. Written by J. Spurlin

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

park | teacher | school | nature | bee | See All (214) »


We've Sensed It. We've Seen The Signs. Now... It's Happening.


Drama | Sci-Fi | Thriller

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for violent and disturbing images | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:







Release Date:

13 June 2008 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Green Planet  »

Box Office


$48,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

£1,632,055 (UK) (13 June 2008)


$64,505,912 (USA) (12 September 2008)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

| |


Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


'Mark Wahlberg' admitted regretting working on The Happening but said "you can't blame me for wanting to try to play a science teacher. At least I wasn't playing a cop or a crook." See more »


Westover Military Base is an Air Force Reserve Base. The Private should be an Airman. See more »


[first lines]
Woman Reading on Bench with Hair Pin: I forgot where I am.
Woman Reading on Bench: You're at the place where the killers meet to decide what to do with the crippled girl.
See more »

Crazy Credits

Moving clouds form the backdrop for the opening and closing credits. On the end credits, they've become stormclouds with lightning. On the end credits, M. Night Shyamalan's name vanishes. See more »


Referenced in The Cinema Snob: Son of Sleepaway Camp (2012) See more »


Jealous Heart
Written by Thomas Richard Smith Sr.
Performed by Marsha Thornton
Courtesy of Marc Ferrari/MasterSource
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

Why this film is important...and why people don't like it that way:
13 June 2008 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

I was disappointed to see such harsh reviews from the critics when there are clearly much sillier and stupid films out there. "Zohan" was about 60% at rotten tomatoes, while "The Happening" was at 14%. The disappointment didn't last long when I realized, given the information above, if critics had liked this movie, that might have been a bad thing. I focused my attention on interviews with Shyamalan himself talking about the film instead of the pretentious critics who have grown accustom to hating his movies. I decided to take HIS advice and go into the theater looking for a "fun B movie".

You will find that, and so much more. This movie is not your average thriller by any means. "The Happening" holds a solid "Twilight Zone" feel without being cliché or overused. This might be why the average masses didn't like it. We are used to being fed sequel after sequel after remake after remake. Don't get me wrong, those are fun movies to watch but the ART of film is being lost. The stereotypic perfect leading man who is smooth, witty, handsome and quick thinking who always saves the day will not be found in this film. Nor will the overuse of incredible special effects, slashing and squirting blood and gore, erotic sex scenes, fast paced chases, or crude language. Yes, the content is uncomfortable and disturbing and times, but it has a point. It's not goring for the sake of being goring and it's not uncontrolled in it's violence.

This film is simple. It has flawed and awkward characters who don't always say the smoothest thing. Everyone is imperfect and they don't handle the situations in the best "hollywood" type manner. Shyamalan did this on purpose. This movie is not paced for the "entertain me entertain me entertain me entertain me" type audiences we have mostly become. You are given the elements, but it's up to you to be able to slow down and feel the emotions in order to appreciate the film. The parable and meaning are so much deeper and innocent than what is popularized in media today. It will challenge you. It will make you think.

"The Happening" on the outside is a very fun and funny film. It is a "B" movie on the surface because of it's amazing simplicity, but by the end of the film you realize what it's actually all about. It's sad to see that so many people have completely missed it.

Bottom line: If you liked his other films, you must see this one, it falls into the ranks of everything made before Lady. If you didn't like his other films, stick to boring remakes and sequels.

848 of 1,630 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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Finally, i watched this film and was surprised Akhi1
John Leguizamo jimmyr5595
Seriously, how bad is this movie? payback122
why didnt they use gas masks zyggums
B-Movie? robbbbo
This movie is fantastic. I_am_alive_DUH
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