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Overall Rating

Awesome: 2.35%
Worth A Look: 7.06%
Average: 14.12%
Pretty Bad: 34.12%
Total Crap42.35%

5 reviews, 55 user ratings

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Happening, The
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by Lybarger

"The not-so-fertile seeds of destruction."
2 stars

Sometimes it’s a shame that movies have to last at least 80 minutes before they can get into theaters. M. Night. Shyamalan’s latest thriller ‘The Happening’ works in early spurts, but apparently Shyamalan (who gave us ‘The Sixth Sense’ and ‘Signs’) ran out of ideas once he came up with his uniquely insidious killer.

Imagine an unseen force that leads legions of people to inexplicably kill themselves at once. Within minutes, New York’s Central Park becomes a bloodbath without a single assailant attacking.

The event understandably sends the residents of outlying regions into a panic. The source of the carnage is uncertain, and people quickly become like the zombies in “Night of the Living Dead.” But they’re more interested in offing themselves instead of dining on the flesh of others.

Shyamalan quickly heads to his hometown of Philadelphia where a science teacher (Mark Wahlberg) and his neurotic wife (Zooey Deschanel) rush to make it out of town once it appears the force has apparently struck their city.

The farther they and their math teacher pal (John Leguizamo) run out of the city, the more chaotic things get. Instead of becoming scarier, the film devolves into a bizarre self-parody.

It’s as if Shyamalan ran out of interesting ways for the victims of his plague to kill themselves, so he settles for the most outrageous means possible. After a while, the deaths become more comical than tragic.

Perhaps if the people running from the plague were more than simple one-note characters, it might have been easier to hope they’d survive. Instead, many seem like excellent reasons for natural selection.

Shyamalan recreates the same creepy atmosphere of his earlier film “Signs.” But his previous movie was a fine example of how what viewers don’t see is scarier than what they do, “The Happening” is full of gore. Because the people aren’t that interesting, the torn bodies seem like a poor substitute for suspense.

To his credit, Shyamalan is the son of physicians, so it’s great to hear scientific lingo coming from Wahlberg’s mouth that actually sounds right. If Shyamalan had spent as much time thinking of how people act and talk, “The Happening” would have been more scary than silly.

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originally posted: 06/15/08 08:39:59
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User Comments

9/12/17 morris campbell lame 1 stars
5/28/16 Ken This film is a big fat fail! 1 stars
8/15/14 Mario is the Best What a stupid movie! 1 stars
1/18/12 Marc DC Nothing HAPPENING... Doesn't even deserve 1 star 1 stars
1/17/12 Lenny Zane One star for eye candy of Zooey Deschanel. Plot is a descent into crass lunacy. 2 stars
8/16/11 chris Creepy, a little, but the hilarious acting kills it and so does the hilarious twist. 3 stars
9/21/10 art A WILD STORY!,A VERY WILD STORY!!!! 2 stars
3/28/10 Adam The dialogue was eye-gougingly bad...but I didn't hate it. 2 stars
10/20/09 2Cruzy Even on DVD...Pretty Crappy! Glad I didn't pay real money to see this POS... Fail! 1 stars
10/19/09 auzzie chickie first 30 secs r great but the rest... It's the wind! RUN! ppl running from nothing?..ok... 2 stars
8/13/09 Daniel Kelly Saw it last year and was not impressed. Can't imagine it gets better on a 2nd viewing 2 stars
7/07/09 art A FRIGHTENING FABLE! 4 stars
7/05/09 MP Bartley Woeful acting and dreadful in spots - but equally quite tense and effective in others. 3 stars
4/18/09 Dani O. Mark Wahlberg's performance? Two words: "Garbage Day!" Such a squander. 2 stars
1/27/09 Shaun Wallner Scary Film! 5 stars
12/22/08 FrankNFurter Wahlberg begging mercy from a houseplant is the funniest moment in American cinema. 1 stars
11/24/08 g. ho hum 2 stars
11/16/08 drdanny The reviewers are too kind. it's just awful. 1 stars
11/04/08 David A pretty well thought out movie, and i actually as well as most of my friends enjoyed it 4 stars
10/21/08 George (DUKE) Hokey Hokey this is last M Night movie 1 stars
10/08/08 Jon G A fun movie 4 stars
9/13/08 Bruce Curb Cheap ending indeed(but I think premise really has nowhere to go),but ZooeyDesChanel is HOT 3 stars
9/13/08 Meredith Harshaw Suspenseful buildup, cheap ending. Premise more suited to pure horror than message flick. 3 stars
8/26/08 KTM Chick Have an absolute horror of summer breezes? A must see! 1 stars
7/06/08 Jayson Save your money and run. 2 stars
7/03/08 damalc Sobczynski could really use an editor 2 stars
6/29/08 ahnold Similar to Signs, but "so what"? Interesting interplay bn characters as usual. 5 stars
6/28/08 frank_reed Search YouTube for The Crappening: A Happening Parody 1 stars
6/27/08 ab Awful Movie 1 stars
6/27/08 Ole Man Bourbon "The Crappening" would be an honest title. Comically bad. 1 stars
6/23/08 L.A. Francois Bady storyline, poor script. Disappointing for this director. 2 stars
6/21/08 Erix This Shyamalan hatred is bordering on irrational. This was a good thriller. 4 stars
6/20/08 Oliver Klozov More 'Earth good, Man bad, must die' blather, makes Day After Tomorrow look smart 1 stars
6/19/08 Tom A sub-par Twlight Zone episode padded to 91 minutes. 2 stars
6/18/08 Gary Remember when his movies had cool endings? Even Wahlberg cant save this one 1 stars
6/18/08 Quigley A major misstep for M. Night. Let's hope he'll come back eventually. 3 stars
6/18/08 Joe So so So So Bad 1 stars
6/17/08 Anthony G Good, sad to see people become sheep and not form their own opinion. 4 stars
6/16/08 matt I thought it was an interesting social commentary... but the ending was just stupid 3 stars
6/16/08 Grace He's a fine director, but he really needs to stop writing his own scripts. 2 stars
6/16/08 pin I didn't even see this, but I know it sucks. 1 stars
6/16/08 Amy E Awesome premise... too bad it didn't have an awesome movie to go with it. 2 stars
6/16/08 ESC Did anyone else play 'spot the boom mic?' What was that about? 1 stars
6/16/08 Sean I wanted this movie to be good, but it sucked... 2 stars
6/16/08 bhavin This guy deserves one "STAN......""ONE TIGHT SLAP"...STANDING ovation in yr dreams syhamlan 1 stars
6/16/08 Kristy The acting was horrible and the end was so predictable. Not worth the time or $ 1 stars
6/16/08 GC NOTE to hollywood-yeah 6th sense was good, but please STOP letting this man make movies 1 stars
6/16/08 jessica i seriously walked out.... the most scripted acting I have ever seen. HORRIBLE!!!!! 1 stars
6/14/08 Jesse WORST movie I've seen in many years. 1 stars
6/14/08 Random meaningless meanderings 2 stars
6/14/08 James Eric M Night: Run yourself over with a lawnmower or get eaten by a lion please 1 stars
6/14/08 Alex Thorne Odd to say the least. a promising start quickly leads to lethargic meandering. strike 3?... 2 stars
6/13/08 Harish Nayar Quite bad! 2 stars
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  13-Jun-2008 (R)
  DVD: 07-Oct-2008


  DVD: 07-Oct-2008

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