The Happening opens onto a scene in New York City Several people in a park strangely become disoriented and start repeating their words. Others freeze in the positions they are standing in and some begin walking backwards. Before you know it, the entire park population is spontaneously committing suicide any way possible. After several more "suicide" incidents, the government immediately deems these strange goings on as some part of a terrorist attack. Soon, however, scientists discover that there could be a connection between the "attacks" and Mother Nature. As the epidemic spreads rapidly, a small group of survivors band together in an attempt to get away. A young science teacher (Mark Wahlberg) and his wife (Zooey Deschanel) lead the charge.
There are several things wrong with this film and very few things correct. I wanted more from M. Night if this was supposed to be his big comeback. I was fairly disappointed by the acting and I thought there were some useless side story lines that did little aside from distracting me. The punch line to this joke known as The Happening was never fully explained and the little information we were given was vague at best! M Night makes a cameo as he always does, but in this instance, his cameo is as lame as they come!
Other reviewers may tear me up for printing what I am about to, but I feel pretty strongly about this opinion even if it may differ from that of nearly EVERYONE else. I am a Wahlberg fan. I do enjoy Marks work. I think that even though he is usually typecast as the tough macho bad boy character, seeing his softer side here worked well and was extremely refreshing. No one else seemed to like him as the shy, timid, mildly nerdy science teacher with a heart of gold struggling to fix his flailing marriage all while fending off an epidemic the likes of which the world has never known, but I loved him in this role.
The reason this was ultimately a stinker was basically the script. The dialogue was weak, the story suffered, and the reveal was lame. The acting was not great and Zooey Deschanel was hardly believable. The death scenes were visually done quite well, but few "shocking" images of death does not a movie make.
I would not recommend this film unless you are an ultimate die hard tride and true Shyamalan fanatic. Wahlberg's work is impressive, but if that’s all you want, you can get stellar Wahlberg in a number of other films that are actually worth your while.
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