The Happening

Poor guy. I don’t know whether director M. Night Shyamalan should consider himself lucky or snake-bitten. His first chance at bat (The Sixth Sense) resulted in a home run, while his subsequent films have ranged from solid (The Village, in my humble opinion) to average (Signs). I think he will forever be held to the standard he established with The Sixth Sense, which is somewhat unfortunate. I considered that movie to have been groundbreaking, and it’s one of my all-time favorites. It’s almost unfair to expect Night to duplicate his initial success, but he’s become sort of a joke in some circles.

Regarding his latest effort, The Happening, I must say that I enjoyed it. My opinion is not the prevailing sentiment, but I stand behind it. To each her own. I thought the movie was very high-concept on an micro-level, but I know others will take issue with the overarching outer concept, which is a bit fairy-tale ish. I apologize for the cryptic review, but I really don’t want to spoil the movie. The Happening chilled me to the bone. Maybe that’s lame on my part, but the concept of the movie was horrifying to me, and if it ever really happened in real life it would be the worst thing the U.S. has seen since 9/11, EASILY. Marketed as Night’s first R rated movie, opening on Friday 13th, The Happening was absolutely frightening. It basically explores what could happen if Mother Earth decided to punish her children for their misdeeds. Yeah, chew on that one for a second.

As I’ve mentioned before, I enjoy the psychological questions that doomsday movies present, and there were plenty of moral dilemmas and tough choices raised by the movie. The sense of urgency and panic in the movie resonated deeply with me, and I was on the edge of my seat throughout. Mark Wahlberg is an effective leading man, though he delivered some lines with a little to much wholesome innocence, if that makes any sense. Maybe I’m just used to him playing a bad ass.

Of course this movie is not on the level of The Sixth Sense, and we should stop holding Night to that standard and just enjoy his movies for what they are. For all of you that see this movie, hit me up, I’m curious as to what you think. tanyarlane@gmail.com

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