The Happening may have been the last movie I looked forward to from M. Night Shyamalan (unless reviews of future films turn out to be stellar.)
Other people have enjoyed Shyamalan’s output even less than me. I very much enjoyed his THE SIXTH SENSE, UNBREAKABLE, and, to a lesser extent, SIGNS.
Most people I’ve talked with hated THE VILLAGE and the LADY IN THE WATER–or whatever it was called. Awful movie.
To make a comparison, like the music of the group Counting Crows, the films of Shyamalan have gone steadily downhill–each one worse than the last…. but still somewhat enjoyable.
If Shyamalan doesn’t reinvent and improve his screenwriting quickly, his movies will soon dip under the box office waterline to become exclusively direct-to-video releases.
Certainly we now know that Shyamalan is not the cinematic modern-day equivalent of Hitchcock that he was touted to be just a few short years ago.
He has jumped onto the new extremist religion: the anti-Christian pro-Environment “Green” bandwagon with this last film.
“The Happening is a terrible title for a movie, I was thinking, as I paid for my ticket to the Christie Digital Presentation at the Carmike Cinema box office. (Powers and Pulsar Drive.)
I went out to the movies alone that Monday afternoon, and I was the only one in the theater until, a couple minutes before the show started, three women, maybe in their thirties, walked in.
If you’ve read the book “Hollywood Worldviews,” by Brian Godawa, then you will know where I’m coming from as I analyze this film.
The premise of the film is as insulting to humans in general, as it is transparent: the Environment, (specifically trees and vegetation), is taking it’s revenge on a mostly non-Environmentally friendly humanity by exuding a deadly virus into the air that causes people to commit suicide in spectacular ways. (Our “heroes,” the Environmentalists, are granted immunity by their “God,” (The Environment, of course.
Yes, I find this an aggressive and offensive and politicized premise, indeed.
I have just described the entire film, whose main source of suspense is wind blowing in the tall green grass. Very ineffective. (But very pleasing, I am sure, to the studio execs counting the cost to make this film.)
To add to the offensiveness that something like a TWISTER never had, Shyamalan makes the only really creepy, mean and villainous character in the movie a Christian woman who has a wall in her house covered in Christian crosses and paintings of biblical scenes.
After showing a wall full of her Christian art, this evil creepy Christian woman smashes her head into the windows of the house repeatedly, killing herself. To me, this was the very image of the Shyamalan’s contempt for Christianity.
Yes, believe it or not, I find that offensive.
(In the fairly recent film, SUNSHINE, the villain aboard the spaceship is also a fanatical man who believes in God.)
The strong believers in God are almost always the bad guys in films nowadays.
Certainly in the Christian world, there are crazies and hypocrites and televangelists (no wait, I repeat myself), but, mostly, religion and faith, even looked at socially, are positive elements in people’s lives.
The is no real suspense, drama, or other deep meaning in THE HAPPENING.
I’d avoid it like you would avoid a flesh-eating virus…
Unless, of course, you enjoy that sort of thing.