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The Happening (2008)

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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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2,534 ( 422)
3 wins & 10 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
... Elliot Moore
... Alma Moore
... Julian
... Jess
... Mrs. Jones
... Josh
... Jared
... Nursery Owner
... Private Auster
... Principal
... Nursery Owner's Wife
... Joey (voice)
... Woman Reading on Bench with Hair Pin
... Woman Reading on Bench
... Construction Foreman
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Storyline

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

Taglines:

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

Genres:

Sci-Fi | Thriller

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

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

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Official Sites:

Official site [Japan]

Country:

|

Language:

|

Release Date:

13 June 2008 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Green Planet  »

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Box Office

Budget:

$48,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$30,517,109, 15 June 2008, Wide Release

Gross USA:

$64,506,874, 18 September 2008

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$163,403,799
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

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Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Plants have evolved some defenses. There is a plant that, when defoliated by deer, releases a pheromone to "warn" other plants to produce more unpalatable leaves. See more »

Goofs

(at around 13 mins) When the news reporter is explaining the concept of a "preservation switch", the on-screen caption states that she is outside the CDC headquarters. The building in the background is actually the United Nations. See more »

Quotes

[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 »

Connections

Referenced in The Cinema Snob: Hell of the Living Dead (2015) See more »

Soundtracks

Black Water
(1974)
Written by Patrick Simmons
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
It might be cliché, but it has to be said: The Happening is not happening.
12 June 2008 | by See all my reviews

Shyamalan has proved to us earlier that he can be as good as the best with masterpieces of cinema with The Sixth Sense and Unbreakable. Yet, since then, he has declined steadily. Signs and Village were good movies, but with Lady in the Water and now The Happening, he has touched a level of incompetence that could never have been expected of him.

The Happening is about a pandemic that is gripping north-eastern USA. It starts with a stunning sequence of events that show people succumb to an unspecified threat – the brilliance of this opening repeated only once more for a five-minute sequence towards the end of the movie. Unfortunately, Shyamalan's writing is a big let-down for the rest. As the focus moves from metropolitans to towns and from crowds to smaller groups, the sense of fear is lost – the biggest sin a horror movie can commit. In the oft repeated criticism for its director, this movie would have been best served as a half-hour episode of Twilight Zone to make it really work.

And to add woe, the actors do not do much to better the experience – Mark Wahlberg and Zooey Deschanel are grossly miscast as the protagonists. Any of his previous leading men (Bruce Willis, Mel Gibson, Joaquin Phoenix and Paul Giamatti) can be imagined to have done a better job for the Science teacher that Wahlberg plays. The camera scrutinizes the performance to a degree that requires an actor with strength in emotions – Wahlberg instead brings a physical presence that the role does not need. Zooey, on the other hand, struts around like in a Disney movie, not for once threatened by the pandemonium.

This time, though Shyamalan humbles his vanity – you don't see him on screen. He now should swallow his pride and leave the writing to the writers. Armed with a better script, we can still expect Shyamalan to make his future movies worth waiting for. For now it is only the memory of the opening sequence, which can be proclaimed as mind-numbing greatness, which is really worth taking away from this movie.


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