The Happening (2008)

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The Happening

Time: 90 Minutes
Age Rating: 860949[1] Horror scenes and violence
Cast:
Mark Wahlberg as Elliot Moore
Zooey Deschanel as Alma Moore
John Leguizamo as Julian
Betty Buckley as Mrs Jones
Director: M. Night Shyamalan

A strange, horrible and unprecedented crisis begins in Central Park. A high school science teacher (Mark Wahlberg), his wife (Zooey Deschenal) and a young girl do what they can to survive it.

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M. Night Shyamalon is a filmmaker that has taken a strange turn, he started off by making a few great movies but after that, his films have started decreasing in good reviews. The Happening promises to be his comeback, unfortunately if he does have a comeback, it’s not here. The writing is bad, the acting is wasted and sometimes hilarious and the story is not interesting, despite an initially interesting premise.

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In contradictory to the title of the film, I didn’t feel like much happened here. This film tries to be scary but fails; all the deaths are meant to be shocking and disturbing but because of how bluntly they are done, they come off as being hilarious; there is even a scene where someone turns on a lawnmower and lets it pass over him. The dialogue is also quite bad at times, so bad in fact that it is quite quotable, especially from Mark Wahlberg (“Come on guys, take an interest in science”). There are also some moments don’t add up to anything, such as when a guy is talking about hot dogs, and this is in a part of a movie where everybody is trying to survive and find out why all these events are happening. The characters aren’t very likable, the characters aren’t developed enough and any emotion they show is quite shallow; any sub plots with the characters go absolutely nowhere.

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This movie has some good actors but because of the script, they don’t have a lot to work with. Mark Wahlberg is completely miscast as a science teacher, he’s much better at tough guy roles and after watching his performance here you’ll understand why. He doesn’t seem to express much emotion here and to be honest, at times it looks like he’s a bit confused with the script; however that can lead to some unintentionally classic moments; check out the scene where he talks to a plant. Zooey Deschenal is a good actress but was unfortunately painful to watch here, she seemed to always have one blank expression on her face the whole time. There were no performances that lifted the film in being legitimately good; in fact the best performance is of a construction worker near the beginning that you see for less than 1 minute. I don’t blame the actors for the bad performances, I blame the script and the poor direction they were given.

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The cinematography is at times okay but there are some questionable moments; there is one painfully, painfully long close-up of Mark Wahlberg pleading with his group for time to think when trouble starts happening. Sometimes the camera is quite close to people’s faces that parts of their faces sometimes get cut off. There are also moments where the film literally tries to scare the audience with the wind, there are dramatic shots of people running and the grass around them is being blown by the wind. One thing I can say is legitimately good about this movie is the score.

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The Happening is not Shyamalon’s comeback and looking at his next two movies, it doesn’t look like it’s going to be happening for a while. Along with this movie at times being laughably bad, it just wasn’t that scary or very interesting. This movie is not very interesting and it’s a little boring at times. The Happening is called a movie that’s so bad it’s good; this movie wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be but it’s quite bad. If you are going to watch this movie, don’t expect to be particularly scared or interested. However whatever you expect, don’t expect a great Shyamalon movie here.

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3 thoughts on “The Happening (2008)

    1. thecinemacritic Post author

      Yeah, unfortunately that is the case with most Shyamalan movies nowadays, his cast, no matter how good it is, doesn’t really have much to work with. I haven’t seen After Earth yet but from what I’ve heard, Will Smith in that movie is completely flat and monotone.

      Reply

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