The Happening

The Happening ★★★

The first film I've seen in a while that defies any kind of logical rating. Everything that's wrong with it - which is either "absolutely everything" or "just some things maybe WHO DARES KNOW THE MIND OF M NIGHT SHYAMALAN?" - just comes back around to make it more fun to watch.

The ongoing attempts to analyse this one generally seem to fall under the heading of "did Shyamalan know what he was doing?", and it's almost impossible to figure out. At least some of the wilfully bizarre, hilarious stuff in here feels intentional, but the deadly serious stuff is so mismatched with the baffling script that the end result cannot possibly be what he intended it to be. It felt to me like he was attempting something similar to Starship Troopers, trying to make one kind of film while telling his cast (and crew?) that he was making another. Unfortunately he gets so carried away with the suspense / horror sequences (most of which are pretty effective) that the goofy b-movie elements feel out of place, and vice versa.

But regardless of what the intention was, this is incredibly entertaining. Mark Wahlberg is seemingly performing his science teacher role using a bizarre "What Would Derek Zoolander Do?" approach; his relationship with Zooey is somehow oddly sweet despite the complete and utter lack of chemistry; a man runs himself over with a lawnmower. They meet a man who won't stop talking about hot dogs. A precocious teenager offers Mark relationship advice and then gets murdered. Nothing works, but everything does. It's amazing.

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