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This is a joke, right?
ametaphysicalshark13 June 2008
Allow me to provide some background information on my relationship with the films of M. Night Shyamalan: I adored "The Sixth Sense" and still think of it as one of the best films of 1999 and one of the best supernatural thrillers in ages. "Unbreakable" was a fascinating take on the superhero genre. I loved parts of "Signs" to bits and consider the sequence in the basement towards the end of the film one of the finest examples of suspenseful build-up in recent film history. I even liked "The Village" and could easily dismiss "Lady in the Water" as a mere misfire. I was greatly anticipating "The Happening", especially as it seemed to be echoing one of my favorite guilty pleasures- the paranoid 70's sci-fi thriller.

Let's get one thing out of the way- "The Happening" is unbelievably, impossibly, ridiculously, hilariously, inconceivably bad. Normally I would refuse to rate any film that had any good scenes or that was well-directed less than four out of ten, but "The Happening" has to have one of the worst scripts among recent big-budget Hollywood films. It's absolutely shocking how retarded the logic behind this is and how poor so much of the dialogue is. This script began as "The Green Effect", a tremendously poor (trust me, I read parts of it) script by Shyamalan that was soundly rejected and eventually reworked into "The Happening". Having seen the critical reaction to "The Happening" prior to going into the film I found myself pleasantly surprised by basically the first thirty, forty minutes of the film. It was nothing special but it had something going for it, Shyamalan's direction was top-notch, and Wahlberg was playing the sort of goofy science teacher I'd loved (and loved to hate on occasion) in high school.

Then the descent began. The bulk of this film is some of the most hilariously awful crap produced by a talented filmmaker since Schaffner's "Sphinx". Shyamalan, who was using close-ups and steadicam shots to frankly brilliant effect early on, begins to use the same shots to comical effect. There is one painfully, painfully long close-up of Mark Wahlberg pleading for time to think and then calling for his group to 'keep ahead of the wind' that is up there with Nicolas Cage in "The Wicker Man" in terms of hilariously awful acting. That scene may very well be the turning point in the film, with Wahlberg's acting becoming more ridiculous by the second, culminating in a performance that essentially wipes from memory all his tremendous recent achievements as an actor. I don't blame Wahlberg for this, I blame Shyamalan. Wahlberg claims Shyamalan tried to force him into real paranoia so his performance would work better. What happens here (no pun intended) is that Wahlberg ends up looking amazingly uncomfortable for the last hour of this thing and struggles to deliver any reasonable line deliveries.

Okay, I do have to credit Zooey Deschanel for making this movie watchable. Besides being amazingly, ridiculously gorgeous she is a fine actress and creates a sympathetic character (and a fairly well-drawn one at that- one of the few pros in Shyamalan's script). There's also the score: oh my it's gorgeous. Seriously, ignore this film and just buy the score CD by James Newton Howard- it's brilliant.

"The Happening" starts out well but ends up being an absolute embarrassment. I was prepared for a mediocre offering- perhaps a misguided effort such as "Lady in the Water". I was not expecting a disaster on the level of "The Happening". Its last forty minutes and especially its last ten minutes or so are among the worst I have seen in a long time.

Have you ever wondered if it was possible for a film to go from enjoyable to absolutely horrendous in the space of ten or fifteen minutes? "The Happening" is proof that it can, pardon the (intentional) pun, happen.

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"Awful" doesn't cover it.
bytesmythe_4214 June 2008
Warning: Spoilers
I haven't seen an M. Night Shyamalan movie since "Signs", although I've heard each was worse than the previous ones. Strangely, this gave me hope that "The Happening" would be a turning point for the director that had won so much acclaim with "Sixth Sense".

Sadly, this isn't the case. "The Happening" is easily the worst movie I have ever seen in a theater, and is a strong contender for the worst I've seen altogether. I've never even written an IMDb review before, but felt compelled to write one for this movie.

1) The acting is horrible. Sometimes you go to a movie and the cast has one lousy actor in it. This was the opposite. The entire cast is uniformly bad, with the possible exception of a construction worker in the beginning watching his buddies plummet to their deaths. These performances are a hallmark of poor direction. I know that Wahlberg, Deschanel, and Leguizamo can actually turn in good work under the right director.

2) Almost no one seems to react to what's going on around them in a realistic way. Only one person (practically an extra) ever really freaks out. Everyone else just kind of bumbles along until the wind catches up to them.

3) The premise is ridiculous. Supposedly, the plants are tired of us polluting the environment and mowing the grass, so they decide to start releasing toxins that cause humans to go insane and kill themselves. There are a few massive problems with this.

First, the movie presents evolution as something that occurs within the lifetimes of organisms, when it actually takes many thousands of generations. Trees haven't had any time at all to evolve that kind of defense mechanism, and grass isn't particularly concerned about being mowed. Otherwise, it would have evolved a toxin to kill off grazing animals thousands of years ago.

Second, the movie makes it seem as if the plants can somehow consciously communicate with each other. Although plants do indeed send out chemical signals, these signals are not under any kind of conscious control.

Third, the movie mixes up plant defenses with ecological phenomena such as algae blooms. Algae blooms occur when a variety of factors all converge to provide an ideal environment for overgrowth of algae. The algae population cannot sustain such large levels and eventually the excess dies off. Plant chemical defenses are not remotely similar. If a species of plants evolves a defense mechanism, all future descendants will have it, and it will continue working indefinitely. If such a mechanism appeared in grass, it would eventually make its way across the country. The effect wouldn't magically stop working just in time to save the protagonists of the story.

Finally, it doesn't make much sense for a "toxin" to cause suicides. That kind of behavioral alteration is usually seen in the reproductive cycles of parasites that infect their hosts' nervous systems. Plant defenses are either poisons (such as nicotine) or chemical signals that attract predators to hunt the plant's attackers.

4) By the way, the "antagonists" are plants. Although this could have been made to work somewhat like "Andromeda Strain", Shyamalan decided to add a bunch of foreboding shots of plant-life. It isn't easy to make trees and grass look evil, so wind kicked up each time people are about to die. The toxin would accumulate more in still air, so you'd be better off waiting for the wind to blow past you. Leave it to a science teacher to miss this point and make sure everyone "stays ahead of the wind".

5) The score is ham-fisted and overbearing.

6) So is the dialog.

7) There is no "twist". A random character we never care about reveals the cause of the mass suicides sometime in the middle of the movie, and he's exactly right. I was hoping the real cause would be the creepy lady at the end who hates the outside world, but alas no; she becomes a victim just like everyone else.

8) In a couple of scenes (at the very beginning and very end), we see one person who is not apparently affected by the "toxin". We never find out what happens to them, nor why they aren't affected. In reality, there would certainly be more people not affected, and the people who were would likely be affected in different ways. Psychoactive substances never affect everyone the same way.

9) Just before the final scene, we see Wahlberg, et al. back home three months after the attack. No one appears to have suffered any kind of psychological trauma. The little girl, whose parents are both dead, is going off to school, and somehow the Northeast is repopulated. I'd be very curious to know what they did with all those dead bodies. More likely, massive numbers of people who were not directly affected by the plants would have committed suicide due to depression. No one in their right minds would move back to the region, so the only living people in that part of the country would be clean up crews wearing Hazmat suits.

10) In the very beginning scene, the one person not affected by the toxin begins describing what she sees, but the camera never shows us. "Are those people clawing at themselves?" Where?! Sorry, you'll never see it. It's like watching a Bob Newhart phone conversation. In spite of the character's comment, you never see any of the victims clawing at themselves. Everyone who falls prey to the plant toxin freezes, then quietly (and expediently) commits suicide. It's a continuity error that occurs two minutes into the movie.

There are so many more things wrong with this film I don't think it's possible to list them all. The shortest list of the movie's flaws is, sadly, the movie itself. Hopefully this review will prevent you from seeing it, or at least prepare you for the inevitable disappointment.
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A terrible screenplay and poorly acted
jeffrey-goldberg11 June 2008
Warning: Spoilers
"The Happening", which was released here in France today is a terrible screenplay and poorly acted. The writer/director failed to make a complete film, which employs any semblance of cinematic language.

Normally well-written, taut and engaging screenplays, like good editing should be invisible. They should fit seamlessly into the film-making process, but unfortunately for "The Happening", the writing, construction of drama and dialogue are so bad that the awful screenplay is apparent from the very first scene. The introduction of the main conflict is visually well done, but the writers never bother to move the story past its main conflict, thus making the film flat line dramatically very early on. Essentially nothing ever happens except the main characters totally unbelievable reactions to "The Happening" (i.e. the main conflict).

We, the audience are not emotionally attached to the characters because the screenplay gives us no reason to be. The film's sub-conflicts are basically non-existent and the character conflicts (emotional relationships) are contrived and hollow. The screenplay provides no emotional outlet or connection at all. Simply said this is a screenplay that should have been better vetted for emotional connection between the audience and characters on screen. We don't care about what's 'Happening' because the people to whom it is 'Happening' mean nothing to us. Someone should provide the screenwriter with a copy of Aristotle's "Poetics".

The dialogue is over the top, simplistic, explicit and begs the question - does anyone really talk like that? Line after line the screenplay falls further and further apart. The characters tell us what we can already see. Therefore the screenplay doesn't trust that the cinematic language of images is doing its job. The beauty of cinema is that with moving pictures we can say thousands upon thousands of words with each frame and never actually employ dialogue. This screenplay obviously does not respect that logic and in many ways flies right in the face of it. The film would be a lot better if the characters just simply reacted to the events unfolding around them.

The acting is unwatchable. No one in this film gives a good performance. The acting, similar to the screenplay is devoid of emotion. No one is reacting like a real person. Each character seems to be emotionally empty. They don't seem nervous that millions of people are dying, they're not hysterical (which doesn't not mean they should yelling and screaming) or even realistic. They at no time in the film seem desperate with the desire and hope to live. At times they try to appear upset, but it is so shallow that the viewer is left flat. Each actor delivers their lines without any regard or reaction to the actor in front of them. It is so bad that it makes one wonder whether or not the actors were actually on set together or just acting with stand-ins.

The sub-text of the film, which is meant to lead us to the theme – mankind is destroying the planet, is blatant and lacks finesse. Pretty quickly into the first act we know that the plants are taking their revenge (I wish I was making this up, but this really is the plot of the film). The screenplay, dialogue and acting do nothing to merit the ending in which a professor on television is yelling about 'how we humanity are guilty for the recent horrors and need to pay better attention to our physical environment.' The films is just waving its fists and again telling us what to think rather than earning our trust. It tells us what its about. Basically the film underestimates us every step of the way.

The film never ventures into any kind of serious depth. It stays on the most basic, one-dimensional level. Plants are killing us - run away.

Blame for this film's failures should be squarely laid upon the director and producers. The director is guilty of writing and directing a very bad and unbelievable film. The producers are responsible for allowing the director to get away with this. Someone on the creative team and/or on the production side should have sounded an alarm when they read the screenplay. When the screenplay got into production one of the producers should have watched the rushes and pulled the director aside and said something.

"The Happening" is a failure on the most basic and important of cinematic levels. It does nothing to win, earn and deserve the audience's emotional and intellectual trust. It doesn't employ image as its main storytelling tool. It just tries to be clever, but is actually quite silly.

I for one don't care who the writer or director is, they must listen to their production and creative team. Film-making is a collaborative experience, but in the case of this film it is clear that no one bothered to be honest with Mr. Shyamalan.
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It's not happening
hall89530 January 2009
Who keeps giving M. Night Shyamalan money to make these movies? Seriously, what studio executive read this script and thought that making this movie would be a good idea? After the disaster that was Lady in the Water Shyamalan comes back with a movie which unbelievably, almost impossibly, may actually be worse. Lousy acting, laughably bad dialogue and a story which is just downright stupid combine to make one terrible movie.

Anyhow the story here is that starting in New York City and then quickly spreading through the Northeast everyone is suddenly killing themselves. Everyone drops what they're doing, seemingly goes catatonic for a moment and then offs themselves anyway they can. Fling themselves off the top of a building, shoot themselves in the head...whatever. What could possibly make people do this? Obviously it must be some kind of terrorist attack or so everyone thinks. There certainly is something bad in the air and people need to flee. And here we meet our main characters, a Philadelphia high school science teacher and his wife along with his friend and his friend's daughter. They get out of the city, inevitably get stuck in the middle of nowhere, the characters begin to do and say things which make no sense whatsoever and the whole movie falls apart as we watch people try to run away from the wind.

Mark Wahlberg has the central role here and his performance is truly awful. Certainly he isn't helped by the hideous script but it really seems as if Wahlberg can do nothing right. He seems rather emotionless for a guy trying to figure out why everyone's engaging in mass suicide. As his wife, Zooey Deschanel goes through the film with a blank stare on her face. Some of the corpses show more life. Most of the other characters we meet make a bad impression if they make any impression at all. Some truly bizarre people wander in and out of this movie. And all of them are forced to spout dialogue which is so bad it often becomes unintentionally funny. Somebody wrote that? Really? Ha-ha. But as bad as the acting and dialogue are it's the story which is the biggest problem. Once the movie reveals what actually is happening it becomes impossible to take the story seriously. Stupid. So very, very stupid. The premise makes no sense, doesn't work at all, and thus the movie is doomed to failure. I really can't fathom that after reading the script anyone actually encouraged Shyamalan to go ahead and make this movie. The Sixth Sense sure was a long time ago.
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This film made me confused, paralyzed, then I tried to hang myself afterwards
Smells_Like_Cheese29 November 2008
Warning: Spoilers
M. Night Shyamalan's first Rated R film and he blew it completely, I remember this year actually wanting to see this movie, it looked really interesting and Mark Wahlberg is becoming a more great actor in his experience. The only problem here is M. Night Shyamalan, this man is constantly credited for Signs and The Sixth Sense... that's it, because that and Unbreakable are his only good movies. Honestly, he's just loosing it, I think he's become so cocky and now he's trying to have more of an edge with this R rating. His story lacks any sense, there are just so many things wrong with this story and not to mention the characters have no sympathy. Nothing was ever properly explained and there are tons of plot holes. The ending was just a cop out, it was nice to see that Shyamalan didn't go for his typical "twist" ending, but still this story just needed so much work and probably would've been better under someone else's name.

According to reports, citizens in the vicinity of Central Park have suddenly and inexplicably begun seizing up just before killing themselves by whatever means are at their disposal. As the phenomena begins to spread and talk of terrorism fills the airwaves, Elliot, his wife, Alma, their friend Julian, and his daughter, Jess, board a train bound for the presumed safety of the country. When the train screeches to a halt before arriving at its final destination, however, the frightened passengers are forced to fend for themselves as each consecutive news report paints an increasingly grim picture of the situation in more urbanized areas. Theories abound on what could be causing the unexplainable rash of suicides, but the only thing that everyone seems to agree on is that it's some kind of airborne contagion that is carried in the wind.

I feel so bad for saying this, but seriously, I was laughing at the suicide scenes. I don't know why, just first there is a police officer who shoots himself in the head, literally his forehead, why would you aim it that way? Also a trainer feeds himself to his tigers that rip his arms off instead of knocking him down and people film it?! There is a woman who is on the phone with her daughter, puts her on speaker in front of a group of people to hear her commit suicide?! Also, Julian just leaves his daughter to find her most likely dead mother in the hands of a woman he doesn't trust, yes, let's leave the daughter and most likely make her an orphan. Gosh, I could go on and on about how horrible this movie is, but I think I'd run out of room. Just trust me, the story is just horrible and could've been good if maybe made more as an independent film, but Shyamala-ding-dong just ruined it.

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Believe it...
heyuguys198812 June 2008
I hate this. I want to tell you guys that this was Shyamalan's comeback and that this film is just as terrifying as you've been promised. But, I cannot.

The film starts off actually quite well. Minus some less than stellar acting (in fact, its horrible) and some just as bad dialogue, I really thought that maybe this film could pull it off. Disturbing death scenes ensue.

Then, bring in Mark Wahlberg. What happened to this guy? Nominated for an Oscar for his turn in The Departed, Wahlberg seems like a safe bet, but in actuality, he's playing a role that just isn't made for him. This role was made for someone nicer. Walhberg has been typecast time and time again as the angry and bad-ass guy, and now I see why. He's good at that and god awful at being nice.

No one else is particularly good either. Zoey Deschanel disappoints, John Leguizamo (Everyone in this movie has a name that's difficult to spell), and all of the extras are just as bad. There is not a single moment of good acting in this movie.

And all of that is because of how rushed this film feels. This is one of those movies that it seriously felt like the director was working on a very limited budget and then took the first take for every actor, none of them had a chance to get into their roles (or so I hope).

It's obvious who will get all of the blame for this (M. Night Shyamalan) and it's really too bad. I can't say that the plot is necessarily bad, it isn't, and with maybe one more draft the script would've been good. The faults of this film all land on Night's shoulders though. I hate to say it because I am very much not a hater of his (I love The Sixth Sense, Unbreakable, and Signs) but I'm forced to say I hate this movie. Not so much for how bad it actually is (it's very bad) but because I really had faith in the director. The trailers almost felt promising and Shyamalan (am I even spelling this right?) promised me that I'd walk out shaking. Instead, I was shaking my head in disappointment.

One thing I'd like to add on though, I can tell that they were going for a Hitchcock vibe and the best way I feel that I can describe this is "a very bad version of The Birds." That is all.
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It might be cliché, but it has to be said: The Happening is not happening.
shariqq12 June 2008
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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The End of an Era (but not a career)
sro28-115 June 2008
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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The Not Much Happening
simonjauk14 June 2008
What can I say. This movie sucked. Not even Mark Wahlberg, whom I rate as a great actor, could save this turkey.

I don't intend to include any spoilers, unless you include the fact that nothing of any note goes on in this picture. Equally the script seems to be written from the perspective of a naive 10 year old for a U-rated audience. The details concerning the relationship friction between the central characters seem so childlike as to be pointless.

Zooey Deschanel, who I enjoyed in Failure to Launch, seems completely miscast or just terrible. Her principle role seems to be to appear as a giant doe-eyed girl stumbling from scene to scene as though awakening from a drug-induced coma.

Shyamalan made a great first movie and I also enjoyed Unbreakable. Other than that he's been sliding into an abyss of drivel and somebody needs to stop funding his crap so I can stop kidding myself into sitting through it with the idea that surely this time it'll be worth it.
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Not brilliant but it is worth a look
cosmic_quest13 June 2008
When I first saw the trailer for 'The Happening', I was quite excited at the prospect of another film by M. Night Shyamalan. After all, I enjoyed all his previous films, save 'Lady in the Lake', and was sure he would deliver another breath-taking blockbuster. Sadly, I was wrong and while the film was not a turkey, it was not of the excellence I had expected.

The film sees some sort of mysterious ecological event leading to people committing mass suicide, the phenomenon spreading first from large cities then to smaller towns until it is clear a huge chunk of the East Coast is affected. At first, it is assumed to be a terrorist attack but, as more and more people are spontaneously kill themselves, it is clear the cause may be something else entirely...

One of the problems with the film was the quality of the acting and the characters themselves. Mark Wahlberg stars as Elliot, the science teacher who is our main protagonist, and he does flounder in many scenes as if he forgets he's playing an intelligent but ordinary everyday guy, not a gung-ho military hero who is cool in all situations. He could have injected more emotion into his performance. Zooey Deschanel plays Elliot's girlfriend Alma and she too fails to make the audience care for her with the way she depicts the character to be some sort of an escapee from a teeny-booper romance flick. To be fair, it is not entirely Deschanel's fault as Alma is a weak, self-centred character with the emotional capacity of a young adolescent (for example, she puts Elliot and a child at risk a couple of times with her stupid decisions and, at the start, when it's clear people are dying, she is in a huff because Elliot and his friend 'hurt' her feelings).

When it comes to the actual storyline, the plot does start off intriguingly and there are many chilling moments when we see people are coolly committing suicide like mindless zombies. However, the finale doesn't deliver what the build-up promised. There are no real explanations or solid end result. In many ways, this film is similar to Shyamalan's previous project 'Signs' both in terms of a mass disaster and no real end resolution to the events but 'Signs' worked better because the characters were more effectively portrayed and their personal storyline was enough of a finale to compensate. This is not the case in 'The Happening' where the storyline fizzles out.

Overall, this is by no means a terrible film. It is enjoyable and fits nicely into the apocalyptic genre but 'Signs' has done this sort of idea before and did it better. That said, there was not only moments that had me on the edge of my seat but also lines which were quite humorous. And certainly, it does make one think about the state of the planet in regards to whether humanity does have it coming to them and how we would cope in such an event. It is worth a look, especially in a week when the other premiere is 'The Hulk, a film aimed at keeping twelve-year-olds' entertained.
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Why this film is important...and why people don't like it that way:
philmographer13 June 2008
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.
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Shyamalan Delivers A Cinematic Masterpiece: An Analysis of the Film; TAKE THE TIME TO READ THIS
Thesnake90814 June 2008
Warning: Spoilers
The film starts out with the big blue eyes of Alma staring at the camera. What is she doing? She is on the telephone with a man named Joey, without her husband knowing, Elliot. She isn't cheating on him, but, as Elliot explains a few minutes later, she seems, "distant." It is their growing distance that begins the "event." The colors on the mood ring, and their symbolic meanings, are as follows: Blue: Reserved, tranquil, calm, believed to keep the bad spirits away. Yellow: Sign of hope, happiness, unpredictable. Green: Life, nature, great intelligence, seen as a lucky color.

Elliot was extremely inward in his feelings about the relationship he shares with his wife. When speaking about the absence of bees, he exclaims to his students that, "there are forces at work in nature beyond our control," and in this there is a double meaning. He can't control what his wife does, in fact he feels powerless and unable to do so. If blue represents tranquil, he certainly symbolizes one who is too reserved to speak up, which prevents him from regaining his wife's love back. This is where nature must step in.

But killing everyone around him wasn't the only factor in nature's method, it needed a vessel, a prophet if you will. Yellow represents happiness, exactly what is absent from Elliot and Alma's life; and what color does the ring turn when Elliot tells Jess puts it on in the diner? Yellow. What color are bees? Yellow, and what does Elliot say at the beginning of the film when he's in his class of students? "The disappearance of bees is an act of nature, something uncontrollable." If yellow represents happiness, he basically just stated that happiness has been absent in his life. The meaning behind the bees is double, not only is it connected with the actual science aspect of the happening, it's literally happiness that has disappeared from Elliot's relationship with Alma. When Julian decides to leave Jess with Alma and Elliot, he says to Alma, "Don't you dare take her hand unless you mean it," Alma decides then and there to comply with nature's wish, to bring them together. When they approach the isolated, old lady's house, she says, " "Why are you eying my yellow drink?" Making it clear that he is eying, or yearning for happiness. The lady invites them inside, and they're sitting at the dinner table. Shyamalan uses great lighting to make a strange plate in the middle of the table stand out to the viewers, and only if you were paying close attention to the cinematographic details would have realized it, but the plate and the cookies were more significant than you think.

If yellow represents happiness, and blue represents tranquility and protection from evil forces, then you must have realized what the plate stood for. The plate was circular, obviously, and had a blue border. In the middle sat yellow cookies, and when Jess attempts to snag one, the old lady (who is wearing a shawl which has flowers and other nature-esquire features on it, indicating that she represents nature at that point) snaps at her, saying, "you mustn't take what isn't offered to you." The old lady, nature, is guarding the plate. The lady just told them that if they want happiness they're going to have to earn it, and work for it in their relationship, so they must admit to their mistakes and stop looking for ways out of it. But if you look closer, you'd see what nature is REALLY protecting on the plate: Elliot and Alma. Alma agrees to look after Jess, by taking her hand after Julian warns her not to unless she wants to commit, like one would take another's hand in marriage. The plate symbolizes blue surrounding and shielding the yellow from the outside. Think back to when the two boys were gunned down on the porch of the isolated house, what did Elliot say to Alma? "We have to protect Jess." And when does the event finally disappear? When Elliot says he doesn't care about dying anymore, and loves her, and wants her. So he walks outside, afraid but determined, and she meets him there. They've proved their love to nature, and they walk outside and come together in the middle of the two houses. Notice that there was a telephonic-like thing communicating between the house? That represents their distance. "I can hear you like you're right here," says Alma, just like their relationship. They were both physically present in their relationship, but in reality they weren't connected like they two people in love should be.

"What color was love?" "I don't remember." Again Shyamalan effectively uses double speak, they have forgot what their pure love was actually like, but moments later they realize it emotionally remember and they risk their lives by going outside, to meet each other and die together. They've learned that their lives don't matter if they die alone, and they have found the love and happiness they had been missing the entire film. So they go to each other and break the barriers separating them, and the event stops, "randomly." Great, but what does it all mean. Well, in elementary school art class, what color formed when you were painting and you mixed blue and yellow? Green. Green, the symbol for nature, the underlying force of protection and life, was the reason the "happening" happened. Nature takes drastic measures to make apparent to Alma and Elliot find happiness together. I hope this made some sense to those of you bashing the film, because frankly it was brilliant, and deserves much more recognition and appreciation than what 99% of critics have been saying. Look deeper, there's more to it than what was supposed to be a scary movie.
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If it's intentional, it's still a bad film
supah7915 July 2008
I'm a Shyamalan fan. He's not afraid to take chances. And he believes in himself and his story. Most of the time, that helps. Gems like Unbreakable en The Village would never have seen the light of day if someone other than Shyamalan came up with it. His direction always makes sure his story gets the maximum effect. I like his screenplays because they always consist of two things: originality and well written characters. His new feature has neither. It's that simple. As a Shyamalan fan, I felt this disappointment a little with Lady in the Water. But now, it's twice in a row.

In a nutshell: Beginning in Central Park NYC, people are effected what is first believed to be a neurotoxine causing people to behave irrational, even to the point of suicide. But then the survivors start to uncover signs that it's not terrorists, but nature itself spreading this virus: yes, it's nature against men. And nature is winning.

I thought Wahlberg was a very poor choice. His range as an actor is far too narrow to play in any production that needs a little nuance. In other words: he shouldn't be in anything else than a movie about cops or (ex-)marines. Also the rest of the cast is surprisingly aloof. This includes Zooey Deschanel, who looks like she's a live-action version of a Manga character. Can those eyes be any wider?

The way the information is brought to the viewer is simple. There is a hinge of a critical message about massmedia, how we get our information and how we as a society are depended on TV, mobiles phones etc. to get in touch with each other. But it's nothing major. Because there really isn't much to tell. The first 15 minutes are the most interesting. Although the very first scene with the two women on a bench in the park (in hindsight) is telling. I really had my doubts about everything: the acting, the actions taken by the characters, the total mood and feel of the film. Once it goes into the 2nd act, the movie becomes more and more (non intentional) laughable and silly.

After seeing this I read that Shyamalan intended this to be an expensive B-movie, in the tradition of Romero etc. If that's the case, then my original rating of 5 (outta 10) should be a 3. Because nowhere in the movie does this become apparent. If you want a good homage, take a look at Zach Snyder's Dawn of the Dead (although that's really a remake.) I don't like a these talented filmmakers who want to take $100 million budgets, to make movies who look like they've been made for $10.000. But at least someone like Tarantino or Rodriquez adds originality and a real love for the genre.

The Happening is really bad as a serious film. As an homage it's boring and without heart. Take your pick. But you will be disappointed either way.
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The Happening is Definitely Not Happening
Runelady25 July 2008
Warning: Spoilers
M. Night Shyamalan started with a great idea for this movie: Mother Nature taking revenge on mankind for abusing the planet. This could have been a truly amazing film. What this turned out to be is something that should have been left on the cutting room floor to be swept away and left to rot in a landfill. In terms of quality, this movie makes Manos: the Hands of Fate look like the Silence of the Lambs.

The movie starts out okay. Mark Wahlberg plays a quirky science professor. His class discussions suggest some foreshadowing and expertise behind future events; however, these expectations fall dreadfully short from being fulfilled. Actually, all expectations for this film are refuted. The storyline is bland and has no real plot. Early in the film, one event sets the wheels in motion for the rising action. That's pretty much where the movie plateaus. There is no driving force to carry you through to the end.

The dialogue is synthetic and clumsy. If I were facing a life-threatening, environmental crisis, I would be discussing things relevant to the events at-hand. These people had the most odd, insignificant things to say. It was absolutely ludicrous. Some scenes were so bizarre that all I could say was "WTF?"

The actors' performances were equally as hollow as the individuals they portrayed. The characters have no depth and offer no additional substance to this film; no glimpse into something that might ignite a plot twist, or, even more importantly, A PLOT. The general over-all feeling was as if everyone were fumbling their way through the script for the first time. Mark Wahlberg is typically a very good actor. In this movie, his acting seems forced and unnatural. The closest comparison I can think of is watching his reaction to someone repeatedly snapping a rubber band against his face. Zoey Deschanel's character seems oblivious and disinterested in the events surrounding her. John Leguizamo was slightly more convincing, but very awkward.

I thought the Fantastic Four sequel was awful, but this by far takes the golden turkey for the worst movie I have seen in the past year. I would rather chew on broken glass and gargle lemon juice than watch this again.

My rating: 1/10 Stars.
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The Happening: Woefully Acted, Barely Written and Just Absurd
imagiking8 February 2010
I suggested that my friends and I go to see this film in the cinema when it was released. As a result, I have never since been allowed to choose the film.

The Happening concerns a mysterious phenomenon which is leading to mass death and causing wide-spread panic around the world. Mark Wahlberg plays a high-school teacher thrust into the middle of this emergency situation with his girlfriend, played by Zooey Deschanel. They are journeying across the country to escape "the happening".

The premise is interesting to begin with, a message lying at the heart of the film. It is, however, taken beyond the point of redemption by Shyamalan. The script is simple, generic, unimaginative, boorish rubbish. Stupid, emotionless, and inhuman lines spoken by characters which might, with a degree of kindness, be described as two-dimensional. The relationships between them are entirely unbelievable and insincere. And the acting? Oh the acting... Wahlberg deserves a slap as the blandly irritating and vapid "hero" who appears to have only a single tone of mundanity available to him as a voice, and Zooey Deschanel is... well, simply, Zooey Deschanel isn't. Having Wahlberg speak to himself would have been less painful (oh wait, he does try that). The "expressions" of joy, fear, shock, and sadness upon Deschanel's face are entirely indistinguishable from each other, and indeed from emotion at all. Possibly the single worst "performance" I have ever seen. To make matters worse, both characters seem more attached to turning their heads to the side than they are to each other. You'll think they're trying to get something out of their ears. Perhaps its the sound of the dialogue, clunky and tacky as it comes.

Woefully acted, barely written, and just absurd, the only thing happening with The Happening is the steady flow of people leaving. Shyamalan continues his recent trend of awfulness, digging ever deeper his cinematic grave.
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For those with imaginations... and attention spans.
kvinneslandr13 June 2008
I'm surprised this movie is getting as many bad reviews as it appears to be getting... but the occasional good review is very telling, especially Ebert's. I'd recommend reading his review because in my opinion he 'got it', and no need to repeat his observations here.

As usual, MNS comes up with a thinking-man's view of what exactly is disconcertingly eerie and/or profoundly horrible... that which you can't really immediately understand... and even more telling, that which is beyond controlling.

But if your imagination is such that the sudden downfall of society doesn't shock after the first random suicide of a person sitting next to you, or your attention span is such that watching a normally calming pan across a countryside turn into something deeply ominous for more than a few frames bores you, then this won't be a movie to your taste.

Within the microcosms created by MNS in his films, I never walked away with a feeling of having to suspend an untoward amount of disbelief... that seems to be a major complaint of many who are panning this movie, but I don't see it. I can only chalk it up to the 'cynical chic' of the South Park generation... those for whom empathy is an alien concept, to whom ennui is epitomized by screen images which don't provide visual bombardments even few seconds, and by whom mean-spirited irreverence is demanded in lieu of actual humorous or heartfelt dialog.

If the dialog seems simplistic, well, look a bit deeper and realize exactly what 'regular folk' might say or do if the events of this Happening actually were occurring... this is the way the world ends, this is the way the world ends... not with the bang of snappy repartee or quotable sound-bytes, but with the whimper of incredulity and dread.

Complaining about the acting or dialog in The Happening is like complaining about the 'jumpy camera work' in Cloverfield. In short, anyone who just doesn't "get it" to that extent really shouldn't be posting their opinions on movies.

Finding the truly human and poignant moments in the outwardly mundane yet intrinsically significant details of his landscapes and characters is one of MNS's great gifts, and he hits the mark here too.

The cinematography was superb, the actors all hit their strides, the story was compelling, the occasional odd character, visual pun, and good-natured joke worked well... no complaints on that score.

I even went in expecting to be underwhelmed by the acting of the two lead characters, but came out pleasantly surprised.

But then again, I loved The Village, and found many good things about The Lady In The Water... so I guess mine will remain the minority opinion.

But if you have admired MNS's previous work, you will enjoy this film as well.
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globewriter14 June 2008
Warning: Spoilers
I read with amazement that some people actually thought this smelly pile of rubbish to be good. Far be it for me to question the sanity of others.

I found it strange that the film opened here in Trinidad before the official release date of Friday 13th in the US ( gosh what a clever release date) but I am sure once the critics rightly savage the film on Friday it will be thrown straight on to DVD. Actually, in my view that would be a waste of a DVD blank. The premise of this travesty, in a nutshell - and not to put too fine a point on it - is that the plants get annoyed and decide to kill us. But they don't actually kill us themselves, oh no, that would be far too simple and a bit too Day of the Triffids, what they do is release a "toxin" in the air that makes us kill ourselves in a variety of creative and colourful ways. We throw ourselves off buildings, shoot ourselves, slash our wrists, get run over by lawn equipment and even bash our heads into walls. Oh gee..I almost forgot...we also jump into lion cages and tease them until they bite our arms off as it is captured on iPhone video. If we take this incredibly stupid premise that the plant version of Google Labs suddenly figured out this clever formula and pair it with some of the worst and most stilted dialogue I have ever heard and then throw in some incredibly bad acting we end up with a recipe for an instant headache.

When I say bad dialogue I don't mean just bad dialogue I refer to the sort of dialogue that would make your eyes roll back into your head and never want to emerge again. We are talking lines such as "don't let the wind catch you" and "if I have to die I want to die with you" and I, of course ,paraphrase because I was having a hard time staying conscious. This sort of thing might work if it is done tongue in cheek but M N S takes himself so damned seriously with what I gather was meant to be a morality lesson about the environment that I have to assume it was unintentional.

The acting made me think they just rounded up a bunch of people and dropped them on the set. Mark Wahlberg makes a fine underwear model but i swear his range makes Keanu Reeves look like Larry Olivier. Zooey Deschanel, the female lead, seems to have been given some sort of pupil dilating drops and then pumped full of medication before being let loose on the set. The only person who seemed to have escaped this film with her career was Betty Buckley who at least managed a camp crazy lady performance.

So, to summarise, people start dropping like flies within the first 5 minutes, then for the next 6 hours..OK fine...1.5 hours ...we have to listen to bad dialogue as people try to figure out what is going on and "run from the wind". I am all for freedom of expression but I shouldn't be lured into having to sit through a grade Z movie. I can see no reason for this "film" other than wasting time and effort and making cinema enthusiasts feel ripped off. I read with alarm that M N S is about to embark on making another movie. Please M. Night do film a favour and put down the pen, fold away the director's chair and step away from the camera.
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Shyamalan's stock drops further with a film that lacks tension, characters, good dialogue, drama, urgency or intelligence (SPOILERS)
bob the moo13 July 2008
Warning: Spoilers
It is a normal day in Central Park whenever people start talking strangely, moving awkwardly and inflicting fatal injury on themselves. With the media buzzing with talk of terrorist attacks, mass evacuation of the central New York area is organised. Among those fleeing is teacher Elliot Moore, along with his wife and a few others. The theory is that the municipal areas are the targets but somehow the attacks continue in smaller areas all along the East Coast. Seeking refuge further and further from population centres, Elliot tries to work out what is happening – if only to stay alive.

It didn't help that I watched this film shortly after watching the much better The Mist, which has the same sort of theme in regards an unknown and deadly disaster. Seeing something hitting the mark highlighted for me just how badly short of the mark this most recent M. Night Shyamalan film is. Of course it didn't really need another film to highlight the problems because they are all up there to be seen by all viewers. The opening scene drops us into the middle of a disaster starting out in New York where suddenly people are killing themselves, jumping off roofs and so on and it does grab you that something big is happening. Problem is, it has nowhere to go from there apart from delivering a clumsy and obvious environmental rant that makes little sense or impact. The film tries to make things personal and tense by focusing on a small group of characters but it doesn't work and the visual effect of the wind (like Kermode said – "who's making it blow?") just doesn't work and you never once feel genuine fear or urgency.

It doesn't help that the script is full of terrible dialogue and has no room or apparent need to have characters that the audience can care about. Many others have highlighted the terrible performances but in fairness with these lines and this direction, how could they have been much better? I say this as someone who likes Wahlberg in films that suit him but here he is clunky and unconvincing, totally hampered by the material handed to him. Deschanel spends most of the time gawking and offers nothing of interest while at least Leguizamo has the good fortune to get out early on – but even this is a surprisingly emotionless event. The fault for all of this must rest with Shyamalan himself because he has turned a mass disaster into a dull and lifeless affair; the good things he has done (Unbreakable and Sixth Sense) are slipping further back in time and if his plan is to fill his resume with stuff like this then I wonder how long he can continue to have the career he would like.

The Happening is a good idea but it falls down badly when it comes to the delivery. It lacks tension, urgency, character, drama, dialogue and intelligence and, one way or another all of these problems can fairly be laid at the door of Shyamalan. A roundly poor film despite the potential.
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Stop bashing this movie!
dabrookman14 June 2008
I don't get it - I watched this movie yesterday in a packed house with people who seemed to be enjoying themselves. They were scared, they jumped in their seats and they laughed at the many humorous moments. Everything seemed to work and I wasn't alone at the theater in having fun with this film. Mark Wahlberg and cast are totally believable innocents, so much so that you really care about their almost-naive characters.

It's definitely the most Hitchcock-like of Night's efforts to date ("The Birds" comes to mind). I must have missed his cameo though. Now I see these bad reviews all over the place, and I just don't get it.

I think people just need to let go of the expectation of a 'Sixth Sense'-style bombshell, chill and enjoy themselves. Like I did. Good flick!
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Worst. Movie. Ever.
rickyscouture27 April 2015
This movie's so bad, you'll be thinking that Mark Wahlberg should've just stuck with rapping. I can't even describe how terrible this movie is. If you're sifting through reviews to find a reason to watch it, don't. It's normal for a film to have cynics and skeptics, but in this case every criticism is well earned. The acting? Nope. The plot? No. And the dialogue? Hell no.

This movie has absolutely no continuity whatsoever and the pacing is so bad that you'll have at least a dozen moments where you just sit and think "Maybe they made this movie this bad on purpose. Like, to end up in the Hall-of-Fame for worst movies of all-time or something". Because, trust me -- it's absolutely that bad!

I literally don't understand how this movie could make it from production to premiere without a wall of people protesting it for its awfulness. I wish I could grade this film with dookies instead of stars, because even giving it the lowest slotted amount of stars (1) feels wrong. I'd feel much better giving this film one giant dookie...Or ten. Or 50,000. I'm not even sure at this point, that's how bamboozled I am by this horrible movie.

I didn't even think it was worth a review until I realized I may be the difference between someone watching and not watching and so I feel it's my civic duty to not let that happen. Save your two hours and go watch paint dry. You'll be thankful you did.
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An Important Message....
febangel3029 January 2009
Warning: Spoilers
Although, several people did not like this film, I have to say that I enjoyed it tremendously. From the beginning of the film, you become hooked. It was incredible to see that only a few minutes into the film, you witness the strange event happening so soon. When the people in Central Park become affected by the chemicals, they look like they are frozen in time. Then the real horror begins. As I watched it got me thinking about years back when sea creatures began "killing themselves" by beaching themselves. There was no explanation for this event in the first place and it created quite a stir. Many marine biologists theorized that there might been some type of bacteria or threat in the ocean that caused it to happen

In "The Happening", you realize that the whole cause of the horrific events is the plants themselves and their sole purpose is to exterminate as many humans as possible. You realize that the plants are pretty much fed up with the human race's neglect towards the environment. As this epidemic worsens, you see the ugly side of people emerge. This movie teaches us all a lesson, be kind to nature and remember to talk to your plants...or else...J/K.... Seriously go watch the movie for yourself, you just might like it. :-)
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I Will Never Understand People
Scars_Remain13 June 2008
M. Night Shyamalan has created a very original story with a lot of creative ideas, amazing tone and brilliant shock and suspense scenes that would make even Hitchcock proud. So why all the hate for such an awesome movie? The only conclusion I can come up with is that either people just love to hate on Shyamalan, as was evident with The Village, or they just wanna see more rehashing. People must love love all of the sequels(Indiana Jones 4, The Incredible Hulk), remakes and adaptations(Speed Racer, Iron Man), and the straight forward rip-offs(The Strangers, The Ruins), etc. etc. Don't get me wrong, I liked most of these movies with the exception of the rip-offs and Speed Racer but The Happening is far superior because it actually has originality. It truly, in my opinion, is the greatest movie of 2008 so far and maybe the best movie of the past few years.

I loved everything about the story. The thing about Shyamalan is that people always complain about his movies being unbelievable or unrealistic and this simply makes me angry. A movie is not to be watched the intention of learning about the world, it meant to be watched to see a story. It doesn't need to be realistic, it doesn't need to follow some sort of snobbish standard. It's art for God's sake! Anyways, back to what I was saying about the story. It moves amazingly well and I was upset to see it finally end because I wanted it to keep going. There are a lot of shocking and very disturbing moments which is why I was surprised that more horror fans weren't impressed. After all of his PG-13 films, I thought this would have had very little violence and barely deserved the R rating because most of his movies have been pretty tame. I'll tell you right now that it definitely earned the R rating. It is one of the most gruesome and disturbing Hollywood releases I've seen in a long time.

I also wanted to mention how people have been complaining so much about the acting in this film. It was definitely bizarre and awkward but I thought that it followed along with the story and helped the movie create its own little world in that sense. I thought the whole cast did a great job.

Don't buy a ticket to this one if you want to see another rehash of something that's already been done. It is a truly different film and I think it is ahead of its time. Shyamalan is one of the only directors out there still doing original work, and he does a damn good job of it if you ask me.
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As bad as the critics say
tinab118114 June 2008
Warning: Spoilers
*SPOILERS* ahead First let me say...frankly I think if you go into The Happening expecting a couple of scenes where you will be subjected to something gory or the suggestion that something gory will happen shortly, and that is all you are looking for, I think you may like this movie. But otherwise, No.

Hilariously everyone slammed Lady in the Water, but I think that it has more merit as a complete movie and was at least watchable. Lady in the Water suffered because really it should have been more dolled up and sold as a kids' movie.

The premise of The Happening is that the plants in the Northeastern U.S. begin emitting toxins which cause people to harm and eventually kill themselves. It begins in the cities (where the largest populations are) and then finally spreads out to essentially the middle of nowhere. The premise could be promising but the movie is ruined by poor writing and a terrible attempt at a romantic subplot. The movie would have been more satisfying had Zoe Deschanel and Mark Wahlberg's characters killed themselves as well, so great was my apathy towards their relationship. The only character I had any empathy for was the little girl.

Someone on this site praised the Roger Ebert review of this movie, and man, I just didn't see the movie that Ebert saw. If M. Night Shyamalan wanted a character study set in an apocalyptic world where the plants are out to get us, then give us some decent characters. Don't give me people in a café watching on their video phone as someone at the Zoo feeds themselves to the lions or a young military kid chanting, "this is my rifle..." before shooting himself in the head.

Save your ten from your admission and go rent a Hitchcock. Shyamalan does an excellent job with his sets, but this one missed everything else. Basically from the moment we're introduced to the Wahlberg character I began my very own chant in the theater, "this is soooo bad..."
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Good in a Way and Really Enjoyable to Watch
xxltmoney5 April 2009
Warning: Spoilers
When I saw this movie, I thought it was really good but then, I watched it again and realized it was only worth seeing once. Since I know that M. Night had made the film with the goal of getting an R rating, it was clear that the graphic violence was over the top and highly unrealistic. Although this movie was intended for adults, younger teens would enjoy this movie more. The movie also didn't have a great ending and wasn't a great moral to life but it was entertaining I half to say. M. Night has done better movies such as The Sixth Sense and Signs but this movie wasn't as bad as everyone said it was but it was one of those movie were you would sneak into the theater just to take a peek at what all the excitement was.
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a very disappointed fan **Spoiler**
textile_fiend12 June 2008
Warning: Spoilers
I *really* wanted to like this film; I was so excited to go. I loved The Village and enjoyed Signs. I had read the couple of early bad reviews and just figured they were haters. Alas they were right; I'm so sorry I doubted you Gregor Wossilus!

Everyone who commented on the terrible acting was right; Zooey Deschanel was MUCH worse than Wahlberg though. John Leguizamo was vastly disappointing. However Ashlyn Sanchez was pretty good.

I hated the score. It was so obtrusive in a bad 50s B grade way; dum dum dum duuuummmmm.

The foreshadowing was so overdone; ugh, that classroom scene.

The scene where the zoo keeper taunted the lions to rip off his arm was promising. I thought for one gorgeous second that Shyamalan was going to turn the film into a Return of the Living Dead-style gorefest. I laughed out loud and settled in for the ride...but no, this ridiculous scene was completely straight!

I agree with the other reviewers that the second half was eventless.

At least we had fun on the way home ripping into the film.

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