The Happening (15)

Film

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Time Out rating:

<strong>Rating: </strong><span class='lf-avgRating'>2</span>/5

User ratings:

<strong>Rating: </strong><span class='lf-avgRating'>2</span>/5
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Time Out says

Tue Feb 26 2008

M Night Shyamalan’s mix of modern ecological fable and ’50s sci-fi paranoia is not a happening thing. At first, a great deal happens, then nothing much happens for quite some time, then something so underwhelming happens that one is left wondering, ‘Did that really just happen?’

Since the surprise success of ‘The Sixth Sense’, Shyamalan’s ambitious but increasingly frustrating films (‘Unbreakable’, ‘Signs’, ‘The Village’) have been all build-up and no pay-off. ‘The Happening’, likewise, has lots of clever cinematic sleight of hand but no actual magic trick.

Philadelphia high school teacher Elliott Moore (Mark Wahlberg) is quizzing his students about the mysterious disappearance of millions of honey bees, when reports start emerging of a possible terrorist attack on New York’s Central Park. Together with his wife Alma (Zooey Deschanel), fellow teacher Julian (John Leguizamo) and Julian’s 8-year-old daughter Jess (Ashlyn Sanchez), Elliott flees the city on a train. But it stops at a tiny rural station: ‘We’ve lost contact,’ explains the guard. ‘With everyone.’

Vague, speculative news reports now suggest that an invisible, airborne ‘natural compound’ has induced mass suicides in densely populated areas. Does our ecological abuse of the planet have a nasty sting in the tail? Have plants instigated a targeted, coordinated attack on their number one enemy?

John Leguizamo suggests that Shyamalan’s ‘fanciful nightmares’ reflect the post-9/11 fear that something world-shattering might happen at any moment. Witness the shocking scene that echoes newsreel images of people jumping from the stricken Twin Towers. Sadly, for all his ill-focused Revenge of Nature eco-babble, Shyamalan lacks the courage of his apocalyptic convictions, so the film’s flabby (anti)climactic scenes are a virtual re-run of ‘Signs’, in which an external threat re-cements fragile familial bonds.
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Release details

Rated:

15

UK release:

Fri Jun 13, 2008

Duration:

90 mins

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<strong>Rating: </strong><span class='lf-avgRating'>0</span>/5

Average User Rating

3.2 / 5

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  • 4 star:1
  • 3 star:2
  • 2 star:4
  • 1 star:0
LiveReviews|44
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TheRealCritic

This film was amazing, the actors were fantastic and the storyline was intriguing. I was hooked onto it from the very start. Zooey Deschanel was OUTSTANDING and Mark Wahlberg was not too bad either. I have loved Zooey Deschanel from the very start of New Girl and when i found this film, i was ecstatic! This film does not deserve the poor reviews you people have given it. I think the acting was superb and whilst Mark did have a frown throughout the whole of the film, it was part of his character. It was a very good film and lots of suspense in it. 10/10 for me.

TheRealCritic

This film was amazing, the actors were fantastic and the storyline was intriguing. I was hooked onto it from the very start. Zooey Deschanel was OUTSTANDING and Mark Wahlberg was not too bad either. I have loved Zooey Deschanel from the very start of New Girl and when i found this film, i was ecstatic! This film does not deserve the poor reviews you people have given it. I think the acting was superb and whilst Mark did have a frown throughout the whole of the film, it was part of his character. It was a very good film and lots of suspense in it. 10/10 for me.

walriley

First time I saw it, I was underwhelmed. Seen it since and, whilst not great, it was a lot better. Nowwhere near as bad as some other reviews make out.

John

Both as commentary about humanity's treatment of the environment as well as its production and execution as a movie, this is one of the worst I've ever seen.

Pandora

Never in my entire life have I seen such diabolical acting as last night during The Happening. Mark Wahlberg had the same puzzled constipated look on his face throughout the movie, Zooey Deschanel managed what I thought was impossible - to be even more wooden than Wahlberg. The movie started off well, then descended into .... well, nothing in particular. HOW did Deschanel and Wahlberg get work after this appalling rubbish? Have given it one star, as the beginning of the film was promising, shocking and well acted. Then Wahlberg turned up.

Rebecca

The film's beg. and middle were good... and then it ended... Then I thought to myself Ive just wasted around 1 and a half hours of my life. The ending could of been better!

RockAndRoll

Wow The Undead! 10 out of 10 for the most illogical and ill-based rant I've heard in a long time! I suppose you have evidence that this film will "create suicides"? Any actual facts and figures, or just your own paranoid delusions? An appalling film, although not for the reasons propounded by our aforementioned friend. Shyamalan is now officially living off the success of Sixth Sense. There is much hype of his movies prior to their release, with mysterious and enticing traliers, but oh so little substance to back it up. I watched this in the cinema with my girlfriend and we exchanged many bemused looks and uncomfortable smiles, punctuated with fits of laughter during the "tense" moments. So bad that it is actually mildly entertaining.

Ben and Ida

Quite frankly THE worst film my girlfriend has ever chosen fro the rental shop. Unbelievably bad.

MrMo

A real pile of embarssing rubbish! This movie will cost M Night dearly. The fact that he appears to be the sole producer of this absurd journey into cinematic suicide might explain how it made it into the theatres. I can only warn you that this probably is the worst movie of 2008. Wooden performances from actors that probably fell under the spell of a charismatic director but in that case talentless; end up looking like a bunch of geeks/nerds/Aspergers/idiots trying to survive the devastating effects of a pathetic blow of the wind carrying chemicals released by naughty plants that have just had enough of the human threat. Shameful! And what's with the sound pole making its appearance every second scene. This was the most entertaining part of the movie though, peaking at the top of the screen, over M Wahlberg head, with fluff, without... I don't usually take the time to share my opinion of a movie but I felt I had to warn as many cinema goers as possible. Complete and utter waste of time. Sad!

Richy

I was very dissapointed with this film. It started really well - the people falling off the buildings and the policeman sequence with the gun being passed on was really well done. In fact I think the 1st 40 mins was very well done - it couldn't keep that momentum up - I like the slow story telling - iIt makes the dramatic parts - action better - But it went nowhere - and the old lady part was nothing short of hilarious - I heard people laughing and I was trying to hold that back - and the main actress as stunning as she was kept pulling funny faces - I make some comedy and if this had been a spoof i would say it was brilliant - but it was meant to scare? I like films that scare without obvious in your face techniques - too many films gofor the obvious - but when the main actor started talking to plant - reasoning with it - I wa takeing notes for comedy short films - Then the old ladies in thegasmasks - what was he thinking the director. Then I saw the funny side and actually joined in and laughing is good for you . A poorly executed film - good idea. The only thing i don't undertsand is criticism of Signs and The Village which are very good films - well acted and thought provking - if people didn't like The Village etc WHY DID THEY GO AND SEE THIS - the reviews were bad - why not see soemthing else - which I recommend other people do - Indiana Jones film is excellently entertaining and is entertainment- this film was awful -

Louise

Absolutely terrible! The only half decent part of the entire film was when the bodies began falling right at the start. I would only recommend you to watch it if ‘‘wind & plants’’ scare you! Very very disappointed!

mattyman

This was truly the most embarassing film i have ever had the misfortune to see... regardless of whether the concept was good, or was based on scientific fact, as some reviewers state, the acting was shockingly bad and the script was so poor... this is the only film i have ever had to leave during because i couldn't stop laughing, for all the wrong reasons. How it got to the stage of actually being released i'll never know!! Some people have suggested seeing it for its (hopefully) unintentional comedy value, but i wouldn't encourage anyone to waste either their time or money, plus they don't deserve our custom for such a poor end product. its such a shame as some of his earlier films were great. cinema has taken a big step backwards with this one.

kpizz

I loved it. I thought it was creepy, strange, and hilarious. At some poitns, the entire audience would shreak, and hide their eyes, and at other points the entire theatre would be hysterically laughing. I thoroughly enjoyed it.

kpizz

I loved it. I thought it was creepy, strange, and hilarious. At some poitns, the entire audience would shreak, and hide their eyes, and at other points the entire theatre would be hysterically laughing. I thoroughly enjoyed it.

Gavin

Its a great idea, and the start to the film is superb, but then everything falls totally flat. I love film and was really looking forward to seeing this but was very disappointed. There were times during the middle part of the film that the audience was laughing at the film because it was so bad. Don't be fooled by the trailer, this is a really poor film.

amy king

The Happening is not happening. The first few scenes with the falling bodies made it seem promising and shocking but the more i watched the moe i waited for whatever was supposed to be 'happening'! I disagreed when people dismissed signs and even the village but this was just appalling!!! The acting was truly terrible, the only good thing was the mad old woman. Oh and did anyone notice, twice through the film the boom kept dropping into the frame??! I seriously wondered whether we had been shown a spoof cut. Go see it just to see how terrible it is

Sarah

By far the worst film i have ever seen. why anyone would rate this with more than 1 star beats me. Acting - Dreadful. Story line- Equallly as dreadful. Which leaves? urmm... Camera angles and what not? Which are JUST ok. Shyamalan has gone down in my books!

Mark

Danielle has it spot on. I couldn't believe what I was watching actually got released at the cinema. The story was hilarious and Wahlberg cracked me up every time he spoke. Zero effort. I also considered whether it was a spoof, but I don't think it was, which makes it even funnier. In the closing scenes I was considering whether it was the worst film I've ever seen. Yes, it is. For those of you who rated this film highly, are you sure you didn't see something else?

Court

I really am shocked by all these poor reviews about this movie. I enjoy Shyamalan's movies, and I agree none can compare to his first hit, yet I still find them intriguing. This film was his most disturbing yet, with graphic scenes of people continuously commiting suicide in the most uncanny ways. I couldn't look for half the film because of the shock value and gore. Really good concept for a film. Many people are writing on here about how the ideae is ridiculous and over the top, however, I feel I left the theatre more conscious of my surroundings and it made me think. I did my research on the film and the director did talk to many scientists about the idea and as crazy as it sounds, everything in the film is true. Something like this really could happen. However, we do not think plants can have emotions and seek revenge on us because of the way we have destroyed our planet, but plants can communicate and put out toxins in the air, thereofre, this is an event that is a possibility. Thought it was horrifying and I def recommend seeing it for yourself!

Court

I really am shocked by all these poor reviews about this movie. I enjoy Shyamalan's movies, and I agree none can compare to his first hit, yet I still find them intriguing. This film was his most disturbing yet, with graphic scenes of people continuously commiting suicide in the most uncanny ways. I couldn't look for half the film because of the shock value and gore. Really good concept for a film. Many people are writing on here about how the ideae is ridiculous and over the top, however, I feel I left the theatre more conscious of my surroundings and it made me think. I did my research on the film and the director did talk to many scientists about the idea and as crazy as it sounds, everything in the film is true. Something like this really could happen. However, we do not think plants can have emotions and seek revenge on us because of the way we have destroyed our planet, but plants can communicate and put out toxins in the air, thereofre, this is an event that is a possibility. Thought it was horrifying and I def recommend seeing it for yourself!

Jojo

Oh dear, what a pile of bollocks. first 20 mins good, then give up. Apparently this was a make or break film for M Night Syamalan.... oops!! Save your money and see something else.

jake and lewis (not gay)

best film we've seen in years. the acting was triumphant and an enjoyment to watch the storyline was outstanding. BRAVO! you will be on the edge of your seats and when it reches its climax you will leave the cinema feeling very very happy with yourself.

jake and lewis (not gay)

best film we've seen in years. the acting was triumphant and an enjoyment to watch the storyline was outstanding. BRAVO! you will be on the edge of your seats and when it reches its climax you will leave the cinema feeling very very happy with yourself.

Nik

It really was the worst film I've ever seen - the acting was dreadful. Great concept, poor film.

anna

Everyone has pretty much said it all. The main two areas at fault for me were 1)the acting by the two protagonists. I usually quite like Mark Wahlberg, but oh dear oh dear..there was ham coing out of his ears this time. 2) The script and dialogue was pretty shccking, and not in a good way. There were many characters that had no relevance for the story (cue crazy old lady, best friend and his little girl). The dialogue actually made me laugh when it should've made me hold my breath in suspense. What a shame, because with more thought it could have the potential to be good. Very disappointing and suprising.

ed the ball

As usual SHYAMALAN has come up with a terrific conceit but then doesn't know what to do with it. He did exactly the same thing in SIGNS and to a lesser degree UNBREAKABLE. It's innovative enough to keep you watching though and the "idea" would seem to make sense applied to our world. Nothing ever quite creeps you out or moves you as much as the stunning opening sequence on an NYC buliding site. A future classic horror sequence I think. Don't want to add any spoilers but I will say that this flounders and ultimately peters out towards the end. Not SHYMALAN's worst, I wasn;t a fan of either SIGNS or LADY IN THE LAKE. But neother is this is his best. It's frustrationg because it damn well near could have been. At times, it is! It's HAPPENING for the first hour then.... it's more like THE SHAMBLING....

Rafael

This is the second worst film I have ever seen (the first being battlefield earth with john travolta.

Alison

Don't waste your time and money going to see this film - if your could call it a film!! It is the crappiest film ever there is no story, no acting I don't know how it got into the cinema - well it won't be there long. Anyone who watched this rubbish should be entitled to their money back under the Trade Descriptions Act and also misleading advertising.

Mudger

It loses a star straightaway for the boom mike being in shot in one scene. But enough of that. I thoroughly enjoyed this film, and it engaged me from the opening to the closing credits. (In this way, The Hulk, for example, is the antithesis of this film, but equally entertaining). Despite the quite obvious references to the tragedy of 9/11 with the opening scenes of workmen jumping from the roof of a tall building, whatever was 'Happening' was not going to be a chemical attack instigated by terrorists. I saw the film, as a whole, being a vehicle that through shock tactics underlined the ideal of 'lov(ing) thy neighbour' - be that neighbour your child, wife, other countries around the world or indeed the environment in which we live. In beginning with the final scene (so to speak) where Alma asks Elliot what colour 'love' is, he cannot say. My take on this is that the one thing that is vital to the development and survival of the human race – love - is in itself not tangible, and cannot be qualified. This theory permeates the film throughout. The workmen rushing to help their colleague who throws himself from the building. The intent with which Julian asks Alma to care for Jess. The 'hospitality' of the old lady in her house and the final scenes of the film where Elliot and Alma realise they are to be a couple. If my above mentioned 'take' on the film is believed, I think this goes a long way to explaining why the 'Happening' is invisible, and that it is referred to as a 'naturally occurring phenomena' in the film. Another thought provoking film from M Night Shyamalan – a triumph if for no other reason than thorough the discussion as to it's meaning that has already ensued. Anyway, I enjoyed it, and at the end of the day, is that not the reason that we go to the cinema?

Skarto

I wish I had been drunk whilst watching it... what a shitty movie for a first date! *Headdesk*

Partner and I

We give this movie 1 star because zero is treated as unrated. We recently rented the movie Bug, which we thought was the worst film we had ever seen but boy were we wrong. This non-happening film has by far the most stupid plotline ever created, we were laughing at what can only be described as utter rubbish. It's so so bad that I was actually wishing for the main characters to die. Wahlberg's act was terrible, what was he thinking whilst doing this film? I agree with another viewer who suggests the director must be laughing at all the idiots who paid to go watch this film, but again, the trailer looked good yet the movie lacks of credibility, plotline, exitement, good acting, etc. We feel robbed! there should be a watchdog for movies that are completly crap so inocent people like us dont get ripped off and mislead by the dodgy trailer. 10 viewers cant be wrong, this film is DREADFUL!

brooklyn

Two minutes of good images does nothing to save the other hour and a half. Awfuk acting, AWFUL script...scenes of Marky Mark to make up his mind ("I need another second!") while a crowd stands around looking at him....a really laughable picture, maybe that is what M.Night was trying to do?

Alexandra

Me and a friend went to watch this film yestarday, thinking it was going to be really scary because of the good advertisment. well wernt we utterly wrong. The first 5 or 10 minutes were quite good, and a bit scary but then it just went downhill from there, Shyamalan should have got much better actors to play elliot and alma as they were two of the worst actors i have ever seen, they really let the film down, along with the most stupid plotline of plants killing people. I really think that this could have been a great film if it had better actors, a better plotline that makes you gasp and although this might sound a bit wierd, more scary and traumatic deaths.

Katb

I think it's such a shame that a potentially promising plotline (and first 10 minutes) resulted in such an anti-climax and frankly bizarre ending. As others have said, the film starts out promisingly. People committing mass suicide - some dramatic and grisly scenes followed by Mark Wahlberg and his annoying girlfriend running round the countryside for an hour. It did occur to me at certain points during the film - notably when the group were in the showhouse, that it was a spoof - sadly, the humour was limited to this scene alone and the plot dragged along leading to a pathetic ending. Nothing was really explained and although some fantastic films end abruptly leaving you thinking - this was not one of them. It just left you wondering why you just paid good money to see it. Verduct - The not happening (had to be said)

termite

The movie started out somewhat O.K. But 30 minutes into it everything a blur. I woke up to the usher tapping me on the shoulder that the movie was over. best nap i had in Months well worth the 10.00 bucks

Miktal

Every year New York is attacked by something. Either an invading alien, mysterious monster, fanatical terrorist or now a veggies fart. I dont really care anymore, and maybe that`s the reason I watched these mass suicides with a sense of satisfaction. The film is total pants. When a man, who is driven by scientific logic, asks a rubber plant if its OK to use the toilet, you know something has gone seriously wrong.

usman khawaja

mark wahlberg rescues this well conceived and ably directed mystery thriller which is afflicted with a load of suicidal maniacs as well as some basic flaws like the collapase of the north -eastern u.s almost isolated from the mainland in an incredible manner only possible in fiction ,as everyone watches on televisions people are dying all over the place and some nutty and paranoid explanations are being offered,toxins and terrorists are in forefront. exploiting the 9/11 in a rather mushy and inappropriately vulgar manner for some adrenaline kicks ,shyamalan has designed a sporadically interesting treatise on american paranoia but it is a gimmick and any larger vision that assimilates into corporating good cinema is only partially present in pieces. the eerie vegetation and the insouciance of the suicidal masses is praise worthy but the sangfroid with which the calculated massacres are executed are vile,if not tasteless. there is a chilling terror imbued to some sequences and the end is almost the red herring but it reeks of implausiblity ,though much superior to his last 3 efforts which were some private myths badly transferred to screen. i hope he can improvise on this because it is adequate but nothing special ,except for the awesomely talented and charismatic wahlberg,he is a phenomenon and deserves much better , watch it for marky mark and some well executed sequences . the satire on government cospiracy theories and bio-warfare is getting too cliched even if true and is boring as cinema , this could have had a little more suspense easily like the birds by hitchcock but then MNS has a long way to go before he will even get a fraction of that mans vision , wyler,kubrick,hitchcock,kazan,welles,wilder are not within reach of spielbergs and shyamalans . go see HULK -this WEIRD movie is a rather waste of time other than wahlberg and he should start acting in things which can do justice to his immense talent and persona - better then the lady in water but then anything would be better then a personal bedtime story written by a 2 year old as a weird myth with the worst sfx ever , syamalan take a break as you are not UNBREAKABLE .

Pulomius

A deeply deeply terrible film. Abysmally directed with laughably wooden acting. Went to see it in a packed cinema in Bath. The audience were simply laughing at it in an entirely negative way. Plenty of people walked out shaking their heads. I am a real fan of M Night's earlier films (6th sense, Unbreakable, Signs) and thought The Village was bearable but this is one plummet too far. If he produces anything else I shall treat it with extreme suspicion before contemplating spending a penny on seeing it.

Ben Hodgson

Nice idea, horrendous execution. In all honesty, this is the worst film I have seen in my life to date. Avoid like a natural neurotoxin.

Taylor

ive just been to see this. It was audaciously bad. It was utter rubbish for crying out loud. Im insulted and i feel robbed of my money i paid to see it. There was no plotline at all it was just spontaneous suidides for two hours. Me and my friends were laughing at it. I think this will you allow to see how the trailer was manipulated. The eerie thudding on the wall of the house and that amn looks terrified? Its an old senile woman headbutting it outside. what the hell is that. This film, in my opinion, was a disgrace to the director. Good points a few scary creepy bits and a tiny bit of mystery but this is outweighed by the stupid plot and some guy thinking "hmmm how many random ways of suicide can i fit into this film?" as always il say see it for yourself but dont say i didnt warn you.