When you watch the newly released movie “The Happening,” you will hear one sound and visualize one picture in your head.
The sound is M Night Shyamalan’s career hitting the ground with a thud not unlike when the construction workers smash against the ground in the first few minutes. The visual is a few studio heads showing a briefcase filled with cash to Shyamalan, wanting a smash thriller, then switching to Shyamalan sitting at his computer, looking at the blank screen about five hours before he needed to turn in a draft.
Read the rest of JW’s review after the jump!
“Hmmmmmn.. I GOT IT! What if grass and trees made people kill themselves!” he replied, feverishly typing away, knowing he can coast on his reputation.
“The Happening,” depending on how you want to take it, is a cautionary tale of how our treatment of the planet can one day eat us alive, or a hilariously bad movie made by someone who is out of ideas.
The movie starts with crowds of people savagely committing suicide for seemingly no reason at all, en masse in New York City. We then cut to science teacher Mark Whalberg, our prerequisite hero, teaching his class in Philadelphia. This scene is where it skids off the runway, as his entire monologue (about how bees are going extinct, and referencing how Einstein once predicted that when bees die, humans will follow – which Einstein never said) is done with him raising his voice as if every line was a question. The “happening” spreads to where they are at, and Whalberg, his wife Alma (played by a possibly sedated Zooey Deschanel) and others basically run away from a breeze for the entire movie.
Now the concept is unique, I guess: nature turning on us due to how we treat it. But the idea of yet another movie with end times/apocolyptic scenes will presumably make humans wonder why we were so obsessed with our extinction if we are still here thirty years from now. But none of this matters, because the movie is ninety minutes of insanely horrible writing and acting. Have you ever watched a movie in which the crowd went in just ready to have fun, and half way through just realized it was horrible? Cell phones start opening up, laughs all around, people begin to get up and just wander off for a while. The Happening was just like that. There are about three or four scenes that are supposed to be dramatic and end up so laughably bad that if the movie cut to M Night Shyamalan yelling “GOTCHA!” everyone would have passed out from laughter.
“The Happening” is ten minutes of graphic suicides and eighty minutes of hilarity. You should watch it, but only if you can see it at half price, or by sneaking in. My recommendation is for anyone who wants to see it is to take the day off, go at noon and be as high as humanly possible with your friends.