Absurdly Late Review: The Happening

From the writer of Signs, The Sixth Sense, and Stuart Little

Another installment in my series of Absurdly Late Reviews is M. Night Shyamalan’s 2008 film The Happening. I would consider myself a fan of Shyamalan; the aforementioned Signs and The Sixth Sense as well as The Village were all enjoyable movies.

The Happening, like The Village before it, suffered some pretty bad reviews. I blame The Village’s reviews on its advertising campaign which failed to take into account the plot of the movie. I blame The Happening’s reviews on critics who just missed the point of the film—as they often do.

Shyamalan stated the film was done as a B-movie, which obviously affected the product. Critics seem to be convinced that Shyamalan only tries to top the success that was The Sixth Sense, even while he so obviously isn’t time and time again.

The Happening had its negative parts, the actors seemed completely detached from the whole situation. And while that would be a desirable state of mind in the wake of such a disaster, it probably wouldn’t manifest itself in such a short period of time.

Some serious scenes were comical because it sounded so much like the actors were being sarcastic, which detracted from the few bits of real humor to an extent.

What The Happening did right was turn the creepiness factor to eleven. The affected characters—the ones who were supposed to be detached—were absurdly nonchalant in the wake of death occurring around them. They were so unemotional that this will probably be the only time I deem mass suicide to be entertaining and enjoyable.

The slow deaths were much scarier than any boogeyman jumping out from behind a tree and taking a chainsaw to someone’s face.

In another B-movie element, there was a message to the film—about taking care of the environment—that go as unrecognized as the point of the film itself. 7.5 / 10

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