Sunday, June 15, 2008

SX0T's The Happening Review

The Happening is M. Night Shayamalan's latest theatrical effort. The general plot is a film about an unseen something that is causing people to commit suicide. This threat is happening in many different locations in the Northeastern area of the United States and we follow the journey of specifically a small "family" consisting of Mark Wahlberg, Zooey Deschanel, and Ashlyn Sanchez as they try to "outrun" the events that are happening.

The Awesome

There isn't much, let me tell you that. I was extremely pumped to see this film as I have generally been quite a fan of M. Night's work and this was his first R rated film. The trailers at first did not seem that good, but got better over time making me really want to see this. The gore was decent and not overplayed, which was kind of nice, and there were a few moments that were slightly unexpected (we're not talking major plot twists here). The idea for the story was good. The plot generally fits under the category of Awesome...unfortunately not much else does. John Leguizamo's character was the best in my opinion, but like I said, we aren't offered much in the department of scares, jumps, good dialogue, plot twists, or anything else that makes a good film. I think what I enjoyed the most was following the story of a man who at most points seemed to already be a dead man.

The Not So Awesome

The script for this film was pretty bad resulting in poor dialogue and some really awkward and not explained moments of un-needed "false" tension. The acting was generally terrible (Mark Wahlberg and Zooey Deschanel, I'm looking at you). The characters were pretty weak and the scares and suspense do not deliver. Mark Wahlberg who is generally a decent performer seemed to play a weak and lifeless biology teacher (I understand that he had to be this way for the plot to make sense). Zooey's voice is lifeless and lacks any amount of enthusiasm or shock about the events that are happening around them. I also found it pretty difficult not to laugh at some of the things that I'm pretty sure were not supposed to be humorous. I really don't have too many good things to say about this film. The film aspires to be something of Hitchcock legend, but falls desperately short. The environmental warning tag on at the end made the film just seem desperate for justification.


I will generally defend M. Night's films as I have enjoyed or at least mostly enjoyed all of his other films and I truly think he is one of the most genuine film makers out there right now who is telling original stories. With that said, there isn't much left to defend about this film OTHER than it's premise and story. As I said before, if you are looking for the usual Shayamalan flick, don't look here, but if you are curious at all about what this guy is doing, I'm sure you won't mind at least watching it. I keep finding myself WISHING that this film was a little bit better so that I could tell people to go see it, but what I think I really NEED to wish for is that Shayamalan takes a break and thinks about his choices a little more carefully for his next stab at this type of film. Overall, I give this film a 4 out of 10.
Posted by SX0T at 7:51 PM |  


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