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The Happening


The Happening is a suspenseful mess. M. Night needs to start directing other peoples screenplays. As I was watching the movie, I would be on the edge of my seat and then someone would open their mouth. The acting was horrific, but they really didn't have much to work with. For example, if I were trying to convince someone that I wasn't crazy and rational dialogue wasn't doing the trick, the next logical step would not, I repeat, NOT be to start singing Black Water by the Doobie Brothers and then say, "... see? We're normal."

Another huge problem with this movie is (also directly related to the screenplay) the relationship between Mark Wahlberg and Zooey Deschanel. There's no rule that states that "people in healthy, stable relationships can never be the central characters of disaster movies," and yet it's always a budding romance or a marriage on the fritz in these situations. This is a natural disaster movie, albeit unconventional. Being unconventional, however, I kinda hoped Shyamalan would avoid the typical "relationship works out as the disaster works out" scenario... but he doesn't, and that's exactly what happens. The biggest problem is that we don't know these people well enough to care... we're too preoccupied with the fact that everyone else is killing themselves.

As bad as the screenplay and acting are, The Happening does show off Shyamalan's brilliance when it comes to scaring the crap out of you. Earlier I called this movie a suspenseful mess and I want to give credit where credit is due. I was frightened. I was afraid to see how these people would kill themselves. Afraid to see how they would react to the unknown and how fear could turn them against the familiar even though it's all they have left.

It's clear that Shyamalan didn't know how to end The Happening. I'm pretty sure he didn't even know what was happening in his own movie... and if he doesn't know, who could?

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