Review of “The Happening”

Posted at Dec 22, 2008 8:13 am

I really should just write "garbage" and let it go. But honestly, I loved M. Night’s films and the trailer for his latest looked great. I am feeling a bit betrayed, hence the post.
"Sixth Sense" was one of my all-time favorites; I’ve watched it several times. "Unbreakable" was also excellent. "The Village" was.. meh, and the twist was predictable (my sister guessed it halfway through the film).  I actually liked "Lady in the Water," even though I haven’t found anyone who agrees with me on that one.
But "The Happening?" Eric and I were actually trying to figure out if the actors were doing a terrible job on purpose.    Mark Wahlberg can act; I’ve seen "The Departed."  But in this film he whined the majority of his lines, most of which sounded like they were drafted by a drunk soap -opera writer. The female lead, Zoey somebody, was so awful that we were rooting for the nameless neurotoxin to finish her off. (It didn’t.)  And the music and choreography was so rushed and cheap that I felt like I was watching a director’s joke, the "what -not- to -do" list they teach in movie-making 101.  (Don’t bring in a smart -talking African-American teen for brief comic relief and then kill him off in "Scream 4" fashion).
I really expected M. Night to jump out in his one of his signature cameo moments and shout out "Gotcha!" and introduce the real film. He never appeared, actually.  Too embarrassed, I expect.
The only memorable moment in the movie was Eric’s comment half-way through. (Some background on the film; the plot line is: The trees have had enough of human pollution/ destruction. They release a toxin which causes the entire population of the Northeast to commit suicide in horrible ways.)  So Eric says: "The only way this film could make sense is if the toxin was killing off only the men, except Mark Wahlberg.  And this was a porno flick."


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