Sunday, June 15, 2008

Movie Review: The Happening

To make a long story short, the Happening shouldn't have been called The Happening. Instead, it should have been named The Not Happening... because that's what you get. A whole 85 minutes of a lot of nothing happening. For the last week, I read interviews and previews with M. Night Shyamalan going on and on about how this movie being rated R gave him so much freedom to really use gore and horror to shock the audience. I even read one interview where he went so far as to say "In the first version, we threw everything and the kitchen sink in. It would have gotten an X rating. Or been banned in the United States. I told the crew and the cast that we're making a B-movie, but we're making the best B-movie that anyone's ever made."

My question is, where is the shit that would give this movie an R rating?! This movie isn't scary! It's not even gory! The goriest part is some dude getting his arms ripped off by lions at the zoo, and that shit looks like a cartoon the CG is so bad. I didn't jump once. Hell, I didn't even see anyone else jump. Not one person gasped. No one screamed. We all just sat there, staring at the most boring movie I've ever paid 10 dollars to see.

I'll be honest, I saw Uwe Boll's last flick, In the Name of the King... and it was way better than this. That's saying a lot. M. Night Shyamalan just needs to go ahead and hang it up. Mark Walhberg should be ashamed of how shitty his acting is in this movie. I mean, don't get me wrong, Mark Walhberg isn't that great of an actor to begin with, but it was like he dumbed himself down in this role. Zooey Deschanel is her usual doe-eyed self. I don't see why people are still all goo-goo-ga-ga over her. Sure, she played an eccentric, quirky, indie chick in a couple movies, and it was okay... but after awhile, I'd like to see her try for something different. She basically wears the same face the entire movie, her lips quivering and her eyes watering up. Boring! John Leguizamo is the only person who bothers to try acting in this movie, and he kills himself off in the first half of the movie.

The rest of the cast is filled with weird extras, and that dude who played Horace on Doctor Quinn: Medicine Woman. M. Night for once didn't cast himself in an acting role, not that it would have mattered. He's shit for acting too. However, you can hear his voice, over a cellphone. He's Joey, the guy calling Zooey's character throughout the movie. Look for a weird appearance by Brian O'Halloran, as the driver of the New Jersey bound red Jeep, who never gets one line, before killing himself 4 minutes later.

Overall, I'm just really disappointed in this film. I've always been a really loyal fan of Shyamalan. I own the rest of his films on DVD, even ranking The Village and Unbreakable as two of my favorites. Sixth Sense, Signs, and Lady in the Water were all likeable as well. Signs, for what it's worth, is way scarier than this movie. The suicides, which aren't as intense as the trailers would portray them, are also not in as great a quantity as you would have expected. What could have been an intense, jaw dropping scene, of people shooting themselves in the head, only to have someone else pick up the gun and do the same thing, is instead a boring 4 minute long scene, with the camera at ankle level, never showing a single point of entry. Somehow two teenagers getting blown away at point-blank range even fell short.

The composed music for the film is borderline idiotic. There were tracks after tracks of almost Disney-like orchestrated music, interjected with quick shots of what had to have been intended bursts of tension bearing thematics, that in the end didn't even wake up the sleeping dude in the row in front of me.

There is no twist ending. It does have an ending, that leaves you thinking, but it's no twist. The cause of "The Happening" is contrived, and is never really explained in depth. I won't spoil it, just in case you're some kind of sadist, and insist on taking your friends to see it. The character development is meek, and even though Shyamalan gave Wahlberg and Deschanel character traits to work with, they never quite pull them off. Playing a married couple with issues shouldn't be that hard for two seasoned actors, yet these two seem more like a couple of teenagers trying not to break up for the fifth time. The subplot between them pays off in the final moments of the film, but it still felt pointless.

I'm really dissatisfied with the film as a whole. At 85 minutes it feels rushed, contrived, and just narrowly escapes something I'd expect to catch on Sci-Fi channel on Saturday night. I could go on for hours about how M. Night Shyamalan is bordering on Uwe Boll territory, but like I said before I really didn't mind In the Name of the King all that much. The Happening, on the other hand, just didn't happen for me.

P.S. I did see The Incredible Hulk as well, and it was indeed Incredible.


  1. Tried to tie in Devon not liking this movie because hes gay in someway, couldn't really come up with anything since from what I have read about every person on the planet, including myself hated this movie.

    Wait I got it. Everyone hated it because it was a crappy movie, Devon just hated it because Marky Mark didn't show off his Funky Bunch, if you get what I mean.

    On a serious note, good review.

  2. I seem to have the same taste in movies as you do, so I shall avoid this one

  3. Very nice review here, I'd like to see more of the same, very reliable review that makes sense, thanks!