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


M. Night Shyamalan
1,575 ( 125)
3 wins & 10 nominations. See more awards »





Cast overview, first billed only:
Mark Wahlberg ... Elliot Moore
Zooey Deschanel ... Alma Moore
John Leguizamo ... Julian
Ashlyn Sanchez ... Jess
Betty Buckley ... Mrs. Jones
Spencer Breslin ... Josh
Robert Bailey Jr. ... Jared
Frank Collison ... Nursery Owner
Jeremy Strong ... Private Auster
Alan Ruck ... Principal
Victoria Clark ... Nursery Owner's Wife
M. Night Shyamalan ... Joey (voice)
Alison Folland ... Woman Reading on Bench with Hair Pin
Kristen Connolly ... Woman Reading on Bench
Cornell Womack ... 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


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

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

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

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »

Did You Know?


A "Happening" can refer to a hippie-era demonstration or performance artwork. See more »


In Philadelphia, the characters board a train to Harrisburg, which is in south central Pennsylvania. It stops in Filbert soon after. Filbert is south of Pittsburgh, far west of Harrisburg. 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.
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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 »

Alternate Versions

German version was edited prior to submission to the FSK by the director himself to secure a "Not under 16" rating. These cuts included:
  • a needle piercing a throat during a suicide
  • a man's arm being bitten off by lions
  • a man dying under a lawnmower This version was released on DVD in the UK. However, for the German home video release the complete version was submitted. Ironically, this version was rated "Not under 16" as well (making the cut version even more redundant as guidelines for home video are stronger than for theatrical releases).
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Smooth as Silk
Written by Stephen Lang & Marc Ferrari
Performed by Stephen Lang
Courtesy of Marc Ferrari/MasterSource
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User Reviews

Nature fights back
7 January 2019 | by Prismark10See all my reviews

After the hype created by Bird Box, it is worth revisiting The Happening which was critically mauled upon its release.

The reason might be M Night Shyamalan who wrote, produced and directed this film. His success in movies such as The Sixth Sense and Unbreakable meant that critics were just sharpening their knives and waited for him to fail.

It starts off shockingly as people kill themselves in New York, such as throwing themselves off a building. The mass suicides soon spreads and the authorities initially think it is some kind of a biological terrorist attack.

Elliot Moore (Mark Wahlberg) is a science teacher at high school in Philadelphia. When the school hears about happening in New York, it causes a mass panic.

Elliot, his wife Alma (Zooey Deschanel) fellow teacher Julian (John Leguizamo) and his young daughter Jess try to escape Philadelphia on the train. The train comes to a halt and they are stranded in the countryside.

Julian goes back to look for his wife who could not make it on the train. Elliot tries to figure out what is causing this phenomenon as they witness more disturbing suicides. He thinks there is something in nature, especially the countryside that is causing the happening.

Shyamalan was let down by Mark Wahlberg, the most unconvincing high school science teacher. Zooey Deschanel was not much better. I know she is supposed to have marriage problems but there was no chemistry here between the actors. Leguizamo would had been better as the lead.

The film itself is much better than its reputation deserves. There is an environmental subtext to it. It is eerie, disturbing and mysterious. I can understand what Shyamalan tried to do and he largely succeeded with a psychological apocalyptic horror. It would had been better with stronger actors.

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Frequently Asked Questions

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Official Sites:

Official site


USA | India


English | French

Release Date:

13 June 2008 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Green Planet See more »

Filming Locations:

Pennsylvania, USA See more »


Box Office


$48,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$30,517,109, 15 June 2008

Gross USA:


Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

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Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

SDDS | Dolby Digital | DTS



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »

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