Genres: Action/Adventure, Thriller and Politics/Religion
Release Date: June 13th, 2008 (wide)
MPAA Rating: R for violent and disturbing images.
Distributors: 20th Century Fox
Directed by: M. Night Shyamalan
JJ Rating: A
M. Night Shymalan’s imagination swirls with environmental fervor. An odd happening is going on in parks around the country. People die by their own hand and sometimes through their own folly. As it spreads throughout the country people fear what grows and surrounds us daily. The Happening.
I don’t understand why people go and see his movies when they don’t like Signs, Unbreakable, Lady in the Water and The Village. They expect what? To see another like The Sixth Sense? I don’t think he sees himself as someone who makes twist like endings. The endings to his movies after The Sixth Sense have had a subtle twist that was predictable from mid movie. I do not believe he means to have his films to have twists that shock people with what they had not thought would happen. This misunderstanding has created a brood of ignorant moviegoers that expect what shouldn’t be and perceive what isn’t.
There are few directors that I notice and actually comment on when I talk about their movies, because most don’t have great presence that can be noticed. M. Night Shyamalan is one I cannot deny noticing. His movies are easily seen as his and his signature touch is hardly without creative bolts of pure genius. I enjoy how every single character in the film seems to have their own personality. Background as to why they act the way they do is not normally forthcoming as in most movies. The viewer actually has to work at understanding the character without being spoon fed as to why they are reacting the way they are. And in case of The Happening one has to wonder about a ring or why are fighting a little more than one would in another director’s film. There’s not a whole lot of background as to why they are how they are and that’s one of the odd appeals I have in really loving his movies. Others find it frustrating not to know why someone is like the way they are before the movie ends, but if it were any other way it would not be a M. Night Shyamalan movie. He’s vision of how a movie should go has amazing pacing and creative innovation that is so rare in films today. He isn’t nearly as appreciated as he should be for what he brings.
Mark Wahlberg does a good job. Him and Zooey Deschanel make for an odd couple and one that I believe worked for this film. She was very distant throughout until the end when it was time for her to come around. John Leguizamo was memorable with his statistic lines that would seem out of place if it were nonfiction, but seemed to work because of him and the direction he received. Ashlyn Sanchez was the child and she handled her part well with the adults, and was not overshadowed by her lack of experience.
The story is every bit as unique as I would expect for a film by M. Night Shyamalan. The delivery was a bit more light than his pervious films even though the subject matter was a bit grim and it was first rated R film. The humor tied with some graphic deaths do make the story interesting even though they are a bit freaky at times, but bearable. Nothing too over the top. The one thing that I have said about The Happening is that it’s an environmentalist wonderland of in your face unbelievers. It could even be considered a revenge story if one wanted to twist it that way.
I don’t have qualms with people that believe in Global Warming but only do so if their qualms have me paying an arm and a leg for their stupid green ideas. So I have no problem with this films comparison to such and it doesn’t take away from my liking of it. The Happening isn’t for everyone, as I stated in the second paragraph, and to those that do like the films mentioned in that paragraph they will find interest in this one as well.
To me The Happening is a movie that puts something that is used for many things in our lives as a scary figure; as something to be afraid of, as something that provides an umbrella from the degrees into a position of horror. It’s funny what is chosen and it’s creative. I think that M. Night Shyamalan has a so many worlds in that head of his that each time I garner a morsel of his brain’s fables I want to see more and more. And even though The Happening is an environmentalist’s smorgasbord I still enjoyed the moral wonder and character filled tale of the ever classic (oh he will be) M. Night Shyamalan.