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The Happening (2008)
Written by: The Arrow
Director: M. Night Shyamalan

Starring:
Mark Wahlberg/Elliot
Zooey Deschanel/Alma
John Leguizamo/Julian
Ashlyn Sanchez/Jess
6 10
PLOT-CRUNCH
A bizarre and deadly occurrence rips through peeps in Central Park, New York and it sends the city’s citizens OUT OF THERE! Thing is the “mishap” is spreading and hiding places are becoming slimmer by the minute. We follow science teacher Elliot Moore (Mark Wahlberg) and his loved ones as they try to stay alive while attempting to discover what the f*ck is going on!
THE LOWDOWN

After the uneven and plot hole laced THE VILLAGE and the very disappointing (to me anyways) LADY IN THE WATER; M. Night Shyamalan finally takes a step towards "back to top form" with THE HAPPENING. Maybe the fact that the reviews I read before catching it murdered the hell out of it, hence my expectations were in the gutter right along with my ex girlfriend’s corpse; but I was engaged and entertained by this puppy (with rabies) for the most part.

THE HAPPENING started off with an uppercut right off the bat via a visceral and chilling sequence set in Central, Park New York. That bit set up the morbid stage and then off I went on a brutality laced joyride. In fact, through my sit down I kept thinking “Man M Night must be pissed off at the world these days, because he aint playing here”. You can almost sense the author’s (he wrote, produced and directed) anger seep through the screen to back-hand ya silly in your seat. Now, I won’t lie to ya, the inventive, gory-liscious and often almost poetically shot “kills” in this abattoir were my favorite parts of the whole thing. Say what you will about M Night, but when he’s “on” the man sure knows how to structure a “scare set piece” and here was no exception. The beats were on the ball, the tension thick and the unapologetic payoffs kicked some serious ass. I actually winced during a couple of scenes... and I don’t wince man (getting my VISA bill aside of course)!      

Story wise, well for two thirds, the flick rolled out at a smoother than shaved twat's pace.  I do think that your overall enjoyment of the picture will depend on if you buy into the “why” behind the tomfoolery. Don’t worry its not a “twist” a la usual Shyamalan, it just is. You go with it or you don’t. Luckily for me, I bought it, signed, sealed and spanked. It actually made total sense to me. It sure helped matters that in my everyday life when talking about “I can’t tell you to not spoil the why” with friends, I often spurt out what this film was basically saying. So there you have it. Tag to all that an infectious score by James Newton Howard, polished cinematography and on when they were on performances (more on that below) by the bulk of the cast and you get a decent macabre sit down.

With that urinated on keyboard, this celluloid F.T.W. was far from perfect. A lot of the dialogue and the deliveries by the actors often rang false. Mark Whalberg (whom I usually dig) just felt wrong for the first third of the film, fortunately he settled into the role half an hour in. And what was up with Zooey Deschanel here? For at least half the film, I felt like she was either on crack or from Zenu's volcano. Her performance choices were so oddball that it prevented me from giving a crap about her. Nice ass though. Which brings me to the relationship between our two leads which acted as the heart of the film. Didn’t feel it. It didn’t work. Walhberg and Deschanel had no chemistry together, no connection, cold was the word – too bad- was the result. Lastly, the whole lost its steam during its final act. The pace began to lag, we got a totally useless sequence with some “Granny from hell” and the flick didn't know when to end.  

But overall, THE HAPPENING gave me enough creepiness, shocks and above the norm audio/visual stimulation for it to be worth my vacuous time. It had its faults yes, but it wasn’t the absolute mess that everybody is saying it is (in my trivial opinion of course). Is the Happening gonna happen for you? See it and find out!

GORE
This was M Night’s first R Rated movie and the lad embraced the 18th letter of the alphabet like I clinch hookers. Self inflicted mutilations; gun shot wounds, feeding oneself to a tiger (that one’s new), a game of lie down under the lawn mower, spike in throat, glass in eye and more! It got RED!
ACTING
Mark Wahlberg (Elliot) took a while to warm his motor up but once he kicked in full tilt boogie, he worked. Not sure what happened with Zooey Deschanel (Alma) here, but she was way to quirky and strange for me to get attached. John Leguizamo (Julian) rocked it as per usual! I would’ve loved more of him though. Little Ashlyn Sanchez (Jess) was low key and quiet… the way all kids SHOULD BE…ALL THE TIME… just kidding… or am I?
T & A
None and I didn’t need it. I do need it tonight though – bootie call time!
DIRECTING
M Night served up visually arresting shots, stylish angles and taunt set pieces while displaying a firm grasp on foreboding, momentum and whoopass payoffs.
SOUNDTRACK
James Newton Howard’s subtle, melodic yet bleak score so hit the spot!
BOTTOM LINE
THE HAPPENNING hit where it count in terms of a gnarly premise, striking visuals, vile gory goods and a pretty groovy “why” behind the lunacy. Alas the script needed some work dialogue and structure wise and the acting was uneven (with Deschanel just being plain out freaky). But hey, I had a decent time with it (reminded of Stephen King’s novel CELL a bit) and I don’t regret putting coin in its meter. That's all that matters at the end of it. It's definitely an improvement over M Night’s last two films! Keep it up buddy and give us another UNBREAKABLE with your next one!
BULL'S EYE
The movie was shot in sequence.

M. Night Shyamalan had Mark Wahlberg in mind when he wrote the script.

VISIT THE HAPPENING WEBSITE HERE

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10:53AM on 01/22/2009
This film started off strong, then about halfway through they figure out what's doing it, and they sit and ponder "well maybe it is? naw you think?" and at the end there is no twist and they were RIGHT! This movie got boring pretty quickly. Decent idea though, but don't get me started on the acting....TERRIBLE!
This film started off strong, then about halfway through they figure out what's doing it, and they sit and ponder "well maybe it is? naw you think?" and at the end there is no twist and they were RIGHT! This movie got boring pretty quickly. Decent idea though, but don't get me started on the acting....TERRIBLE!
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12:43AM on 09/27/2008
Well, I liked Sixth Sense/Unbreakable and Signs was okay until the twist, but this was just awful. The gore was good and the first 10 mintues were intriguing but everything else was either horrible or hilarious. I guess this was entertaining in the Troll 2/Wicker Man/Dark Harvest/etc type of way, but definately not good. Evil Granny had me cracking up as did Zooey's horribly weird performance. Zooey brought back memories of Nicholas Cage in The Wicker Man with the odd facial overacting with the
Well, I liked Sixth Sense/Unbreakable and Signs was okay until the twist, but this was just awful. The gore was good and the first 10 mintues were intriguing but everything else was either horrible or hilarious. I guess this was entertaining in the Troll 2/Wicker Man/Dark Harvest/etc type of way, but definately not good. Evil Granny had me cracking up as did Zooey's horribly weird performance. Zooey brought back memories of Nicholas Cage in The Wicker Man with the odd facial overacting with the goofy wide-eyed expression. I just couldn't buy Mark Wahlberg as a Science Teacher and he just didn't click for me. I usually am fine with Wahlberg too. Hell, the little girl may have gave the best performance since she barely had any lines.

Maybe, I'd like the movie more if I never saw an episode of South Park because the multiple suicides seemed straight out of the Chris Hanson episode and the wind chasing people seemed straight out of the Global Warming episode which made some scenes hilarious too me. I will say that the pace seemed to lag at times and it felt longer than 91 minutes, the script was awful. M. Night should never write another script again.
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6:42PM on 07/25/2008

Disagree Completely

I thought this movie was OFF the ball, and A complete letdown. I love Unbreakable, Signs, and The Sixth Sense so much... so i'm not just a Shyamalan hater either... I just could not get into it... and none of it felt real.. I didn't know when I was supposed to laugh at the acting and when it was supposed to be dramatic and suspenseful.. I just couldn't get a feel for it. Shame.
I thought this movie was OFF the ball, and A complete letdown. I love Unbreakable, Signs, and The Sixth Sense so much... so i'm not just a Shyamalan hater either... I just could not get into it... and none of it felt real.. I didn't know when I was supposed to laugh at the acting and when it was supposed to be dramatic and suspenseful.. I just couldn't get a feel for it. Shame.
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8:31AM on 07/13/2008

Terrible movie. Awful waste of time

I was somewhat optimistic going into the cinema as the trailer looked pretty good. I watch a lot of bad horror films but I heard good things about this film. Unfortunately, the premise and source of the scares are just so God damn [link] it's tough for this film to get out of the blocks. You really have to shield urself from the driving force behind the plot.
2nd huge problem : I didn't think Marky Mark was a good choice for the character, I was very aware I was watching him act. Zooey
I was somewhat optimistic going into the cinema as the trailer looked pretty good. I watch a lot of bad horror films but I heard good things about this film. Unfortunately, the premise and source of the scares are just so God damn [link] it's tough for this film to get out of the blocks. You really have to shield urself from the driving force behind the plot.
2nd huge problem : I didn't think Marky Mark was a good choice for the character, I was very aware I was watching him act. Zooey Deschanel was wooden, aloof and unlikeable. I don't know what she was going for, but I didn't care for it at all. Overall, the acting was quite poor, highlighted by the leads. They have no chemistry together. It's cringe-worthy to watch.
Another point, what is their relationship? What's the backstory? Why is Julian so angry/bitter towards her? Why would he say "don't grab her hand unless you mean it?" None of these are explained.
Julian's subplot of trying to find his wife is dropped halfway in the film. For God's sake. There was some life left there. What was the deal with the crazy woman? They should've met her earlier in the film, acting all normal, would've had greater impact.
I have more but it reveals the flimsy premise of the film. Plot/reality inconsistencies really got to me in this film.
I'd love to give this 0 but some of the death scenes were cool. I wanted to leave but I'd have had to wait in the foyer for another 60 minutes by myself. So I stayed and tried to extract any enjoyment I could from the film.
That said, other people liked it better. I couldn't get over some basic movie requirements, (like plot, acting, characters, realism, emotional journey) to get into this film. If you must, place your expectations on the floor and watch it. Bring an iPod.
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9:25PM on 07/11/2008

Just missed all around

I'm no Shyamalan basher (I liked Sixth Sense, Signs, and was a big fan of Unbreakable) but he's definately on a downward trend lately. First the awful ending of Lady in the Water, and now the abrupt, uneventful ending of this one (I won't spoil it- but it just doesn't work, nomatter how you cut it). This one has a few good things working for it, particularly a nasty tone in the death scenes (R-rating feels good on him) and a pretty effective performance from John Leguizamo, who uses his math
I'm no Shyamalan basher (I liked Sixth Sense, Signs, and was a big fan of Unbreakable) but he's definately on a downward trend lately. First the awful ending of Lady in the Water, and now the abrupt, uneventful ending of this one (I won't spoil it- but it just doesn't work, nomatter how you cut it). This one has a few good things working for it, particularly a nasty tone in the death scenes (R-rating feels good on him) and a pretty effective performance from John Leguizamo, who uses his math quiz skills in an intense, standout scene halfway through the film in a particularly inventive way. But Wahlberg looks ill-suited to his "teacher" role, and even the death scenes are often underminded by a certain goofy-ness (the riding mower death was hilarious!).
Maybe it's time for Night to turn the writing part of "writer/director" over to someone else for awhile, and channel his energies where they're better spent.
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+0
11:42AM on 06/16/2008

Not as bad as you think

Well worth a second viewing on DVD. As with all MKS films the one thing to remember is that they're made for thinking people with IQ's above Forrest Gumps. Probably why Arrow didn't like it - just kidding!
Well worth a second viewing on DVD. As with all MKS films the one thing to remember is that they're made for thinking people with IQ's above Forrest Gumps. Probably why Arrow didn't like it - just kidding!
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4:46AM on 06/16/2008

well...i liked it

the ending lost me a bit, what with the cheesy mood ring crap. but...it wasn't horrible. but..it was pointed out too me that i find redeeming qualities in almost ALL movies. i also really liked indy 4 (better the 2nd time) x-men 3, and spiderman 3 (although a bit clustered) so...take my opinion for what it's worth.
the ending lost me a bit, what with the cheesy mood ring crap. but...it wasn't horrible. but..it was pointed out too me that i find redeeming qualities in almost ALL movies. i also really liked indy 4 (better the 2nd time) x-men 3, and spiderman 3 (although a bit clustered) so...take my opinion for what it's worth.
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2:19AM on 06/16/2008
I don't know what's wrong with peoplep; too afraid to embrace the genius of Shyamalan? They don't like movies that have a message any more? Yes, LADY IN THE WATER wasn't his best, but no-one should even try to write him off because of it.

Now, THE HAPPENING is one solid thriller, with actually a sweet message, and it's SO creepy at some points it puts most recent horror films to shame. The acting was quirky, but it's obviously intentional, and 20 minutes into the movie I started to root
I don't know what's wrong with peoplep; too afraid to embrace the genius of Shyamalan? They don't like movies that have a message any more? Yes, LADY IN THE WATER wasn't his best, but no-one should even try to write him off because of it.

Now, THE HAPPENING is one solid thriller, with actually a sweet message, and it's SO creepy at some points it puts most recent horror films to shame. The acting was quirky, but it's obviously intentional, and 20 minutes into the movie I started to root Elliot and Alma. There were some incredibly well-excuted scares: The people who hanged themselves being my top choice.

It's an excellent movie, albiet so unconventional in every possible way. Truely original, and a solid addition to Shymalan's filmography/
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+0
9:38PM on 06/15/2008
Finally some other people that seemed to like it as much as I did. Sure, it was a far from perfect film, and oh no, there wasn't a twist, but I found it damn entertaining. I was almost glad there was no twist, as a twist near the end would've just been pointless, it wasn't needed. It visually looked amazing, Marky Mark was fine, hell, I even thought Zooey was fine, but perhaps just because I assumed her distance and blankness was part of her feeling guilty, lost, dazed and confused. Sometimes
Finally some other people that seemed to like it as much as I did. Sure, it was a far from perfect film, and oh no, there wasn't a twist, but I found it damn entertaining. I was almost glad there was no twist, as a twist near the end would've just been pointless, it wasn't needed. It visually looked amazing, Marky Mark was fine, hell, I even thought Zooey was fine, but perhaps just because I assumed her distance and blankness was part of her feeling guilty, lost, dazed and confused. Sometimes us folk do just seem rather blank and unemotional you know? Not everything needs to be screamed or cried or anything.

Anyway, very good film in my opinion. Hell, it's better than Disaster Movie.
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5:31PM on 06/15/2008
dude the acting doesnt always have to be academy award winning but compared to the acting of the leads in other films and even among the other titles in M.night's portfolio it was terrible here.

Lines like "cheese and crackers" and "out of here in a jiff" are completely out of place. The white kid swearing while attempting to kick a door was even worse.
dude the acting doesnt always have to be academy award winning but compared to the acting of the leads in other films and even among the other titles in M.night's portfolio it was terrible here.

Lines like "cheese and crackers" and "out of here in a jiff" are completely out of place. The white kid swearing while attempting to kick a door was even worse.
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2:26PM on 06/15/2008
I'm glad you didn't down it like most people do. Can't please everyone I guess. Oh, my question is: Is the acting supposed to be superb? Is any [link] ever? It's time to be realistic.
I'm glad you didn't down it like most people do. Can't please everyone I guess. Oh, my question is: Is the acting supposed to be superb? Is any [link] ever? It's time to be realistic.
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2:56AM on 06/15/2008

uhmmmhu

was this sopose to be good because Shyamalan did it? woow this was pure/utter horse DOO DOO...
was this sopose to be good because Shyamalan did it? woow this was pure/utter horse DOO DOO...
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+0
5:08PM on 06/14/2008
Not bad, Mr. Shyamallama. With the exception of the last half hour, and some of the acting early on, I was pretty engaged throughout. You gotta give the guy props--he KNOWS suspense. He's so creative when it comes to staging scare sequences. And that score....awesome.

I think the guy's still got the goods. He just needs to put down the pen for a while and direct from someone else's screenplay.
Not bad, Mr. Shyamallama. With the exception of the last half hour, and some of the acting early on, I was pretty engaged throughout. You gotta give the guy props--he KNOWS suspense. He's so creative when it comes to staging scare sequences. And that score....awesome.

I think the guy's still got the goods. He just needs to put down the pen for a while and direct from someone else's screenplay.
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+0
1:11PM on 06/14/2008
I didn't dislike the film at all, in fact I don't think it deserves to be raked over the coals the way it has by the critics. However, my enjoyment of the movie was greatly reduced by some stupid mother who brought her screaming brat toddler into the theater. Others in the audience starting yelling at her to get the kid outta there, and had I been able to zero in on her exact location, I would've thrown my drink at her. Hence I was only half concentrating on the movie because every time that
I didn't dislike the film at all, in fact I don't think it deserves to be raked over the coals the way it has by the critics. However, my enjoyment of the movie was greatly reduced by some stupid mother who brought her screaming brat toddler into the theater. Others in the audience starting yelling at her to get the kid outta there, and had I been able to zero in on her exact location, I would've thrown my drink at her. Hence I was only half concentrating on the movie because every time that kid started to cry, it would make me wince. It just made 90 minutes go by like three hours. Guess I'll have to see this one again. Note to new parents, if you must go to the movies, leave the infants at home! They're worse than cellphones!!!
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12:51AM on 06/14/2008
A solid Three from me, the acting was atrocious in most places, the best actors were the ones who were barely in the movie, the construction scene is a prime example of that and IMO that scene was M. Night at his best, the movie is sprinkled with brilliance throughout but when Wahlberg speaks it really brings the whole thing down, his lines were terrible and the way he spoke them was even worse, I'm not sure what happened there, we know M. Night can write a decent script and we know Wahlberg
A solid Three from me, the acting was atrocious in most places, the best actors were the ones who were barely in the movie, the construction scene is a prime example of that and IMO that scene was M. Night at his best, the movie is sprinkled with brilliance throughout but when Wahlberg speaks it really brings the whole thing down, his lines were terrible and the way he spoke them was even worse, I'm not sure what happened there, we know M. Night can write a decent script and we know Wahlberg can act better than this as well, there were a few parts where his lines and acting fit fine but 3/4 of the movie I was squirming listening to him talk and the others werent much better. Deschannel was WAY off and she just looked plain confused like she didnt know how to even play the part properly, husband and wife these two were not, zero connection PERIOD and that really takes away from the whole thing as well

On top of that almost NO ONE in this movie had any fear except the people who werent starring in the movie, I was disturbed quite a few times by some amazingly filmed and graphic scenes, but the main cast just wasnt there with me, this is supposed to be a downright disturbing and serious movie and none of the cast gave that impression at all

I loved the idea, loved the story and of course I love M. Night and his ability to film amazing tension and suspense and I can NEVER get enough of his phenomenal camera work, but this was easily the worst one I've seen out his library so far and thats saying something since I've really enjoyed every one of his films
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12:15AM on 06/14/2008
Arrow, you're usually my goto guy for movies. That said, I humbly think you are dead wrong on this one. In fact the Happening is so bad that I had to register to express it.

The story was bad, the acting terrible, and the ending atroicous. The lack of chemistry between the leads made it impossible for me to care during their impending doom scene. Wahlbergs delivery in particular was so horribly off in so many places I can only wonder if he actually cared about his performance. M.nights
Arrow, you're usually my goto guy for movies. That said, I humbly think you are dead wrong on this one. In fact the Happening is so bad that I had to register to express it.

The story was bad, the acting terrible, and the ending atroicous. The lack of chemistry between the leads made it impossible for me to care during their impending doom scene. Wahlbergs delivery in particular was so horribly off in so many places I can only wonder if he actually cared about his performance. M.nights dialogue was dated, silly and completely ruined any possibility of being taken seriously.

The ending, oh God, the ending. Was I watching 28 weeks later? Where's my M.night twist ending? Was this supposed to be an Inconvenient truth with an R rating? This movie gets a one for the tiger and mower and a decent, creepy score.
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5:12PM on 06/13/2008
My rating is 3.5 but maybe it's not that great. Still - I dug the movie a lot. And, I would recommend this any day over The Strangers.

That in no way is saying I hated The Strangers.
My rating is 3.5 but maybe it's not that great. Still - I dug the movie a lot. And, I would recommend this any day over The Strangers.

That in no way is saying I hated The Strangers.
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