Exploring: The Happening

Review of:  The Happening

Overall Rating: 1 F---

Unfortunately betrayal and hurt was the only thing that happened from The Happening.  This movie was a terrible waste of time and money.  Please spare your self, this film is not even worth renting or wasting time on when it eventually gets put on TV.  It lacked an internal consistency, characters that we cared about, and a surprise twist.  The only good thing this film provides is as an example of how a great premise can be made terrible through poor choices, poor writing and poor editing.

The Happening is about when a Philadelphia high school science teacher Elliot Moore (Mark Wahlberg) and other people begin encountering breakdowns in human behavior in major American cities that lead to chilling deaths that seem to be willing suicides committed by the victims. Appearing to be a disease of some sort, the victims undergo a series of steps: loss of speech, followed by disorientation, and the third step is “fatal.” Moore flees from the crisis into Pennsylvania farmlands with his estranged wife Alma (Zooey Deschanel), math teacher friend Julian (John Leguizamo), and his daughter Jess (Ashlyn Sanchez) (via Wikipedai).


  • Zooey Deschanel did a good job acting in the film.

  • The Idea / Premise behind the film was fascinating.

  • M. Night Shyamalan did have some moments of supernatural horror in the film. I will give him credit for the brilliant terrifying scene where we just get to see the feet hear the sounds and then see the feet again.

  • Although most of the surprises in the film were overly predictable and taken from the book of bad movie devices they at lease refrained from one *****Spoiler Alert***** they didn't kill the child *****End Spoiler Alert *****

Dislikes / Concerns

  • Movie was overly predictable.  We got to the point where we made the predictability of the movie into a game where we would call a countdown to a camera pan or a change from one person to another.

  • The movie felt like it was written by committee.  Far too many ideas seemed neutered.  There were so many devices and people put in for no purpose at all and they even contradicted events that happened merely minutes earlier.

  • There was far too much time spent on characters I just didn't care about.

  • I didn't think nor have the expectation that the happening was a monster film so why was the wind treated as if it was a monster.  Even the filming techniques were handled as if I we were watching a monster film turning the happening into a monster film that lacked a monster.

  • The movie was far too long and slow moving.  If we were to cut out all of the inconsistent, unnecessary and repetitive parts there would be about 30 minutes of true terror left.  It would have made a nice short film... maybe.

  • The not so dramatic cheating subplot:  it was terrible, unsatisfactory, over dramatized and much better done on the Simpsons where at least Marge not only had brunch with another man but she also went bowling.

  • That entire part would have made the movie better if it had been cut and we were just left with knowing they had a fight in the past without the reason why.

  • This part of the movie made me not like the two main characters even more after learning why they were fighting this is very bad because the tension is lost when the viewer could care less if the lead characters die.

  • Where's the Twist?  M. Night Shyamalan is well known for having a wonderful twist to his movies but that did not happen in the happening.

  • Most of the characters actions felt scripted and lacked an internal consistency.  The most prominent example of this being John Leguizamo's character.  He is a math teacher who has a passion for probability.  He knows the probability of his wife's survival is very low and yet leaves his daughter... Why???

  • ***** Spoiler Alert ***** The wind chase scene was terrible.   First, I liked the scene in Planet of the Apes, I like some other movies that put in an homage to that scene, but this was not one of them.  It's hard to make the wind into a monster, why didn't they make it a cloud of pollen or some kind of yellow  cloud.  Then we would have had something visual that could have risen, fallen, lurk and chase people.  It would have made the whole movie far more dramatic and given a more terrifying visual monster. *****End Spoiler Alert*****

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