The Happening

Cameron Sanderson

by: Cameron Sanderson
June 13th, 2008

When I first saw The Sixth Sense I was amazed. I begged my friends to go see it and ended up watching it 6 times in the theater. When it came out on DVD, I was the first to buy it and when the special edition double disk was released, I didn't even hesitate. I tell you all of this to say that I am a huge M. Night fan and it only got better with Unbreakable and Signs.

The Happening was no let down. It was a complete and total disaster. I left the theater wishing it had never happened.

The movie opens with a familiar scene: two girls sitting on a bench in a park. You know the scene. It's the same one everyone saw in the trailer, except this time with blood. From there, we are taken to different locations in the park where more scenes from the trailer unveil themselves. I can now safely say that I have seen every way known to man for someone to kill themselves.

From the beginning, the uninfected characters either showed no emotion or had overly animated emotions, which led to several giggles and laughter from the audience. Mark Wahlberg and Zooey Deschanel also showed a lack of interest. From Wahlberg's whiny voice (which often sounded like an 8th grade boy begging his girlfriend not to break up with him), to Deschanel's total lack of excitement (which was reminiscent of her unenthusiastic character in Tin Man), their attempts at bring their characters to life often fell short. With actors of their caliber, I can't think of anything other than bad direction to pawn this tragedy off on.

However, the film almost redeems itself when survivor Elliot Moore (Wahlberg), his wife, Alma (Deschanel), and their newly acquired daughter (sorta) take shelter at a quiet looking home nestled far from outside civilization (no, not the Village). There they meet Mrs. Jones, an old widow, who turns out to be the only terrifying part of the film, and possibly the only one on set who felt like acting. She actually scared me.

I wont give away the ending (for those who still want to see it), but I will say this: If an outbreak like this was to hit us for real, it would have started after tonight's screening.

Some may say that this is M. Night's attempt at breaking away from the box that his previous movies held him in (including the PG-13 rating), but I hope that it will only serve as an example of what not to do with his future films.

M. Night, come back.

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  • http://www.myspace.com/iamchaaaaase Chase Whale

    GATW quote “You’ll probably kill yourself after viewing this movie.”

  • http://www.scotomaevents.com EricScotoma

    Wow – it couldn’t have possibly been worse than Prince Caspian. Or could it?

  • http://none zach

    Congradulations Shamalaya for completely ruining my evening with your overly simplistic, suicide-exploiting day dream, probably conceived from you sitting in the back yard, completely out of ideas. I supported each of your movies, even liking Lady In The Water, (I know I know).
    Sorry this movie is a turd in the water, another sign of you completely abandoning what made you famous in order to look more than one dimensional. You’ve taken the previously successful approach of not showing “it”, and used it as an excuse to be lazy. That’s all that’s happening. 2/10

  • http://www.myspace.com/raytwin Raymond

    “I’m going to go home, water my plastic plant and hope I don’t get killed.”

  • http://Blah Scott Morris

    Thank you Chase and friends for the free movie pass, unfortunately M. Night completely failed at life last night. Really? the plants are attacking us???

  • Ryan

    Despite all the guff people are giving this movie, I actually enjoyed it. It was refreshing filmaking and reminded me if David Lynch and Alfred Hitchcock had a child. The overacting was on purpose obviously, thats the way he wanted it to be made, he wanted it to be kind of ridiculous but at the same time based on real fears (not killer plants, but how we treat our earth). I also dont think he went to the extreme that he did in his past movies, I doubt the budget was gigantic and I think this is just kind of a project that he really wanted to do, and when youve made as much money and acclaim in the industry as he has, you can reward yourself with movies like this. Thats all I have to say.

  • JamesBeam

    wow, my friends really want me to go see this with them tonight. Fuck it, if it sucks that bad it’s worth it to go watch it so i can get back on here and review it into the ground.

  • http://the-grab.com mel

    “If an outbreak like this was to hit us for real, it would have started after tonight’s screening.” ouch. GATW FTW

  • http://www.questions.deviantart.com tarah

    i really dont agree with ryan (mostly because he decided to mention alfred hitchcock), but he is entitled to his own opinions.

    i personally feel like if you really wanted to go see a movie wait to read reviews until after you’ve seen it. its easier to form your own opinions and support them without feeling like an idiot because everyone else doesnt like it.

    having said all of that, i was extremely disappointed in this movie. i think if it werent for mark wahlberg’s comical expressions throughout the entire movie i would have walked out. i was seriously laughing the whole movie. i do wish however i wouldve come on time to see everybody die in the beginning.. that might have made it a little more endurable as well.

  • monique

    agreed. the only part i covered my eyes at was when the creepy old lady went psycho.
    i even laughed at the tractor scene…is that wrong? meh.

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