Monday, January 23, 2017

Movie Review: The Happening

M. Night Shyamalan takes on the fear of terrorism, environmentalism, and the apocalypse in his worst film. The Happening begins with people randomly killing themselves for seemingly no reason in also sorts of elaborate ways from stabbing themselves in the throat and throwing themselves off buildings to shooting themselves in the head and hanging themselves. The suicides grow progressively more outrageous reducing the horror of the mysterious affliction. It is revealed early on that the attack is airborne and centered in the Northeast. 

Science teacher Elliot Moore (Mark Wahlberg) decides to evacuate Philadelphia by train with his wife Alma (Zoey Deschanel) after being invited by math teacher Julian (John Leguizamo). They hear more disturbing new and witness more disturbing deaths as they lose contact with major population centers. The evacuation transpires without much fear being generated. In a reversal from the most nonviolent previous film, The Happening goes out of its way to display grotesque deaths.

There is some marital strife between Elliot and Alma as in many of Shyamalan's films but Wahlberg and Deschanel don't have much chemistry. The dialogue is lacking and the sense of dread nearly nonexistent. The movie tries to generate fear in other ways but there is only so much fear that can come from the wind blowing and trees wafting back and forth.

There is nothing much else about this film worth noting as it has a cheap ending devoid of any climax. The emotional core is lacking and the characters aren't very likable. This film was the last of Shyamalan streak of thrillers when he moved to adaptations and a sci-fi studio film. I remember being excited when I first heard of this film and then catching wind of the twist and feeling disappointment as the critic reviews came out.

I'm going to skip review on After Earth and The Last Airbender. I saw After Earth once and have no desire to watch it again. I only have one more thriller of Shyamalan's to watch and that one sparked what I hope is his triumphant return to the genre. it was only because I enjoyed his films so much that I was willing to give movies like The Happening, Lady in the Water, and The Village another chance but they were not enjoyable. 

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