Review of The Happening (2008)

20 Mar

The Happening (2008) is a mystery/sci-fi/thriller film. It is about people trying to get away from a neurotoxin that makes you commit suicide.

Directed by M. Night Shyamalan (Wide Awake (1998), Unbreakable (2000)).

Written by M. Night Shyamalan (The Sixth Sense (1999), Stuart Little (1999)).

Starring: Mark Wahlberg, Zooey Deschanel, Joey Leguizamo, Ashlyn Sanchez, Frank Collison and others.

This is a movie that shows that Shyamalan is better in small amounts. After The Sixth Sense the quality of his movies keeps decreasing and now he has become more of a punchline in a joke about twist endings than a respectable filmmaker. I just don’t understand what the hell he was thinking when making this movie.

The writing is stunningly bad. As I was listening to the dialogue I felt like I’ve missed some class in human communication, called „Numbingly stupid conversations”. I just don’t see how someone could write these ridiculous lines and think „yeah, ‘hotdogs got a bad rep’ that sounds natural”.

There’s barely a chance for any actor to redeem the awful script, but Zooey Deschanel and Mark Wahlberg are not the ones to try. Deschanel is cast for reasons I cannot fathom. You know, because which hipster chick who is actually a musician and has been in some comedies can’t do convincing dramatic acting?

And Wahlberg? Can someone please explain to me, what exactly was he doing? I just didn’t get it. And him talking to a plastic plant didn’t help that either. He has some acting experience, how didn’t he realize that he is talking utter nonsense? The best I can describe it is, if Forest Gump somehow got through college and became a science teacher, he would talk like Wahlberg here. You know, still retarded.

I like John Leguizamo, but I’m sometimes surprised by either his choice of roles or him getting cast in those roles. Here he plays a character that could be summarized as latino-teacher-dad. It didn’t require a guy who played that clown thing in Spawn. In this movie his just a bit neurotic and compared to the other actors isn’t bad.

There’s a little reference to Psycho. And I started wishing I was watching that instead of this. Alfred Hitchcock liked twists as well, but on his worst day he wouldn’t make The Happening.

Could everyone stop saying the word „happening”? It is repeated like… enough times, to have a drinking game.

The actions of characters are also very peculiar. They have interesting ideas like hanging around on a porch with an 8-year-old girl, looking at the two guys who just been shot on it, I guessed they used up their running limit on that scene a couple of minutes earlier when they were running from the wind.

It sort of has a twist ending, although it is stupid and not surprising at all.

Overall, one of the most ridiculous mainstream movies I’ve ever seen. It’s just stupid. Not recommended, except if you want to watch this with some friends (preferably while drinking) and laugh about it.

Pictured: Wahlberg slowly realising what kind of movie he's in. (Also my expression while watching it)

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