johnlink ranks THE HAPPENING (2008)

Sometimes you hear such bad things about a movie, that you can’t possibly imagine it is as bad as everyone says. Then there is THE HAPPENING. All the bad things said could not come close to approximating the actual terribleness of this film.

THE HAPPENING is a movie about trees and grass talking to each other and deciding to kill people…. Okay. Maybe that is a harsh description made to make the movie sound silly. But, really, it is true.

I watched THE HAPPENING (2008) on 8.31.09. It was my first viewing of the film.


M. Night Shyamalan tries. He really does. This movie has subtle moments in the shots’ backgrounds. There is the sign for a car which some business which proclaims ‘You Deserve This!’ while people drop dead. There is the clever use of color, putting the lead female in green to mark her as okay to live. Shyamalan really tries. The problem lies in the fact that so much of this film is heavy handed, that it becomes laughable. There is a talking head on a news show at the end of the film who proclaims the film’s theme in bold statements, as if we haven’t been smacked over the head with it enough. I consider myself someone who is sensitive to the environment, I am definitely a liberal when it comes to ‘green’ issues. But I rolled my eyes more times watching this movie than I do during an Ann Coulter lecture.

Plus, I have to downgrade Shyamalan for the acting in this thing. I’ll get there in more detail later, but I have never seen more bad performances from good actors. I just don’t get it. THE SIXTH SENSE, and UNBREAKABLE are great films. SIGNS is better than people give credit for, and I don’t have the hate-on others have for THE VILLAGE. I don’t understand how the same person who made those films, and who had the same director/writer/producer credit, could make such an inept movie. SCORE:3


There were exactly two moments in this film that had me. The intro up until people started to ‘act’ (about two minutes in), and the scene on the porch which was the one scene which packed the wallop of previous Shyamalan films. Other than those segments, this movie was slow, tedious, and careless. The major character development centers around a mood ring. That about sums up this movie. SCORE: 4


Holy shit bad. I have now seen two movies with Mark Wahlberg which suck. I’m not even sure if he is a good actor anymore, or if some directors can get good work out of him. His character choices in this, whether his or his director’s, were abysmal. His arguments with Zooey Deschanel (who is usually extremely good even in average movies like ABANDON) sound like arguments you would hear in the back of a sophomore Math class. They whine, mope, and Wahlberg (in a move I learned was bad in my first acting class) finishes statements as if they are questions. John Leguizamo tries to make the best out of what he has, and if I had to pick someone who performed decently it would be him, but he gets so bogged down in bad dialogue and monologues that he can’t pull it off. SCORE: 2


The premise is an interesting one. I would have liked to have seen a good movie come out of this. But the only stuff which works are the random suicides. And, really, they aren’t all that creative themselves. I’m not sure someone who wanted to commit suicide at all costs would take the time to set up a lawnmower to run himself over (ignoring the fact that lawnmowers have fail-safes to prevent such occurrences).

It is the dialogue and character development which really suck hard here. I’m not sure if Shyamalan has someone to edit his scripts, but he needs someone, (anyone!). It feels lazy and obvious, like the product of a sixteen year old who just read one of Syd Field’s books and attempted a first draft of a film. That bad. I want my hour and a half back. SCORE: 1.





~ by johnlink00 on August 31, 2009.

2 Responses to “johnlink ranks THE HAPPENING (2008)”

  1. I can’t believe I was woken up at 2:15 am in the middle of this movie only to be left wide awake and watching it with some faint hope of it recovering itself. I’m glad I at least slept through the first half.

  2. I should start keeping statistics on the number of movies you half watch while asleep next to me on the couch. 🙂

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