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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 156,667 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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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?


Amy Adams was considered to play Alma, but declined. See more »


At the beginning of the film when the two girls are sitting on the park bench, the one unaffected girl is talking to her friend, but she doesn't respond. Claire, the unresponsive one, is looking down at her book, her eyelids nearly closed, but when the angle changes, she is looking straight ahead instead of down. 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 Sugarcube Critic: Elements of Harmony (2014) See more »


Piano Concerto No. 21 In C K467 ('Elvira Madigan': 2.Andante)
Written by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Performed by Radu Lupu, Uri Segal and English Chamber Orchestra (as The English Chamber Orchestra)
Courtesy of Decca Music Group Ltd.
Under License from Universal Music Enterprises
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

The End of an Era (but not a career)
15 June 2008 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Let me preface these comments by saying that I am a major Night fan. I look forward to news of his next project and love the stories of his supposed total control over his movies and carte blanche from the studios. If those stories are true, I have a feeling that era will be ending for Night with the release of The Happening. I ignored all the pre-release press I could before going to see this movie. I read none of the reviews, but one word I did catch was "uninspired." Unfortunately, that one word describes this movie perfectly. In the first ten minutes of the movie, I thought it was due to the acting and that maybe Mark Wahlberg was miscast. However, after another ten minutes I realized it wasn't the actors; it was the extremely lame script. Without giving away any details, this is a disaster film where the disaster "happening" starts with the first scene of the movie. Unfortunately, no suspense builds and there is absolutely no sense of dread or panic on screen and so none translates to the audience. Surprising, since the 21st century has provided us with too many occasions to study how we react in times of disaster, whether by nature or terrorism. It's as if Night ignored all this when writing the story. The characters sleepwalk through the scenes (and, no, it's not a symptom of "the happening") with no believable sense of the horrible events taking place. Granted, we don't need to see people running around in circles screaming and crying, but people do not stand in small groups after a disaster calmly taking turns talking one at a time. Without sharing in any of the horror that the characters are suppose to be experiencing, the film is a total bore for the audience and the source of "the happening" is laughable when revealed. I found myself repeatedly checking my watch, saying, "I can't believe how bad this is" – not something I'd expect to do in a Night movie. Looking around the theater, I could tell others were sharing the same feelings. Most were scrolling through emails or texting on their phones.

During the movie, since I wasn't paying much attention to the screen, I started thinking that there might be a good reason why most filmmakers do not have total control over their films. When they do, they can reach a point that it seems Night may have reached, where they say, "I'm going to make people scared when the wind blows" and actually believe themselves. Maybe other producers or execs can step in at that point and bring the filmmaker back to reality. I'm not giving up on Night, but I'll feel better if his next film is not "Written, Produced and Directed by M. Night Shyamalan."

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