The Happening (2008) [REVIEW]

the happening movie poster large 2008

 

This is the last one, I promise. There aren’t any more M. Night Shyamalan movies I really felt like watching, and the only reason I watched The Happening was because I only saw it one time and didn’t remember it being complete garbage. If any of you follow me on Twitter, you might have seen what I was going through while watching it and will also know that I had to come to terms with my errors of judgement because, yes, this movie is pretty terrible. And to think that I had given this movie two stars on Netflix! Two goddamned stars! What was I thinking?! Even though this movie is somewhat universally hated, there were a couple of things I actually really dug about it, and the things I hated might not be what you expected. Or maybe you did expect it because you hated the whole fucking thing. Fuck it, here goes!

 

the happening movie mark wahlberg staring eyes

And the award for “Dumbest Dead-Eyed Confused Face” goes to…

Two people are sitting on a park bench when everyone else in the park stops walking and one person on the bench stabs herself in the neck with a knitting needle. We also see a bunch of construction workers throwing themselves off of the roof of a building. What is happening?! Wait….THIS IS ACTUALLY WHERE THE GET THE NAME OF THE MOVIE FROM. EVERYONE KEEPS SAYING SOMETHING IS “HAPPENING” SO THE MOVIE IS NAMED THAT. In this universe, Marky Mark Wahlberg plays a guy who supposedly knows science and is married to Zooey “Dumb Dumb” Deschanel. People start thinking all these people killing themselves is a terrorist attack so they try to get out of major cities, but other people notice a lot of these events seem to be starting near and around large parks. Hmmmm, that’s peculiar. Marky Mark and Dumb Dumb end up meeting some dude who loves plants and hot dogs and he talks about how trees produce our oxygen and also provide us with a chemical that prevents us from causing harm to ourselves but the trees are now pissed at us for ruining the planet so they won’t give us that chemical anymore. Marky Mark and Dumb Dumb keep wandering around like a couple of morons and then they end up at some lady’s house and there’s a scene where they talk to each other from different buildings that are connected by some sort of underground talking pipe. They talk about how much they love each other and say that if they’re going to kill themselves anyway, they want to be together. When they embrace in the middle of an open field, nothing happens, as this “happening” has apparently ended. Months later, the news is talking about how this event started and ended with no apparent reason, and then it shows the same thing happening in France. OH NO! PROTECT THE BAGUETTES!

 

the happening movie zooey deschanel staring eyes

A NEW CHALLENGER EMERGES!

Hey, remember how one of M. Night Shyamalan’s strengths was how talented of a cast he was able to pull together? WHAT THE FUCK HAPPENED?! EVERYBODY IN THIS MOVIE WAS FUCKING TERRIBLE, WITH THE EXCEPTION OF THE GUY WHO LOVED HOT DOGS. Marky Mark as a science teacher? Okay, I get it, acting. As if Marky Mark being a science teacher wasn’t hard enough to believe, he looks 30 years older than Dumb Dumb Deschanel, which is weird because they’re only 9 years apart. These two have ZERO fucking chemistry together and it’s painful to watch. Marky Mark would have more chemistry in a scene where, oh, I don’t know, he had a conversation with a fake plant. WAIT…THAT SCENE HAPPENS IN THE MOVIE. MARKY MARK TALKS TO A PLANT. WHO THE FUCK THOUGHT THIS WAS A GOOD IDEA?! Ya know what? I actually do think the idea is kind of cool. The execution of it isn’t all that enjoyable, but I see a potential cool idea wasted. Maybe had the reveal of the cause of all of this had been delayed to the beginning of the third act instead of 45 minutes into the movie and the paranoia of society could have been emphasized, but no, just garbage. This is another instance of Shyamalan and his stupid reputation for twists buttfucked him and his audience. Considering how many times he reveals some important information at the end, when we had a character explaining that trees were the reason for what was happening, I don’t think anyone watching actually believed him. We waited and waited for an answer, only to realize that we were told the answer 45 minutes ago. Goddammit.

 

 

the happening movie construction scene suicide

Obligatory “It’s Raining Men” reference.

Just because there’s some terrible stuff in this movie, no wait, a LOT of terrible stuff in this movie, there’s a handful of sequences I think are really cool. An interesting thing about Shyamalan’s horror career was that he was able to build up such a following while making PG-13 rated horror movies. Some people think that PG-13 horror can’t be done at all, and I definitely got creeped out multiple times in all of his PG-13 horror, so with The Happening, we got to see how he could amp things up and I thoroughly enjoyed those sequences. Once sequence involved driving through a town where people have hung themselves from tress that hang over the main road, while another interesting sequence involves a police officer shooting himself in the head, dropping his gun, another person picking up the gun to kill themselves, dropping the gun, and the chain continuing. I already mentioned the sequence where construction workers kill themselves, and I know that might not sound all that creepy, but it’s done in a really interesting way and is probably one of the creepiest sequences the Shyamalan has ever done. Sadly, these sequences aren’t strong enough to really make the movie worth watching, but maybe you can find the cool parts edited down into one video on YouTube or something. I do also like the idea of something like this taking place with absolutely no rhyme nor reason, especially since you’ve never really seen that happen with nature before. You’ll see movies where killers murder people just for fun, but with natural disaster movies there’s always SOME sort of advanced warning. Ultimately the film is a whole bunch of missed opportunities. Luckily, this movie is so bad that you can watch it and laugh at how terrible it is. Forget what I said earlier about the good not being able to cancel out the bad, because luckily the bad is SO bad that it makes it good again. Confused? Great, now go start yelling about trees and you’ll be just as convincing as Marky Mark.

 

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