The Happening

The Happening ★★½

"Be scientific, douchebag."

Okay, hear me out, but... The Happening is not that bad of a film. I can definitely see why people hate this film, and it is easy to make fun of it, but what if the comedy was actually intentional in trying to showcase how people react stupidly and illogically to apocalyptic events? What if The Happening is just meant to be a throwback to the 1950s B-movie classics that just ended up being taken seriously?

Nevertheless, The Happening is fascinating and entertaining to watch for various reasons. Since my country's undergoing another partial lockdown in response to COVID-19, The Happening feels relevant, and there's a genuinely chilling mood that accompanies most of the suicides that take place. The thought of being infected with an airborne toxin that spreads quickly and then being doomed to commit suicide as you lose control is a terrifying idea, something that is well-executed by M. Night Shyamalan. He certainly wanted to touch on ideas of post-9/11 paranoia and an environmental catastrophe, and I think it kind of works?

And that's where I'm completely divided on The Happening. As interesting as it is to think about, I think I need a rewatch to let the film grow on me, plus some aspects rub me off the wrong way. Mark Wahlberg and Zooey Deschanel are awkward with the material they have, and it's unfortunate they are forced to deliver bland, clunky dialogue (unless that may have been the point?). The editing lacks consistency, the characters are underdeveloped as hell, and the near-resolution feels oddly rushed.

But even with all these flaws (intentional or not), The Happening is nevertheless a fascinating watch. You'll either roll your eyes at how poorly executed you may find it, or you may be genuinely terrified by what The Happening has to offer. You may want to watch this with your friends while laughing your asses off and having heavy drinks or provoke a discussion about the film's environmentalist messages. It's that film where you wonder if M. Night Shyamalan knows what he's doing or he's lost the plot entirely. Up to you what you want to think about him and this film. But I genuinely don't think The Happening is as awful as the 1.9/5 Letterboxd rating suggests.

That's just my opinion. Take it or leave it. Your call.

🎃🏳️‍🌈 Nicholas (Nic) 🏳️‍🌈🎃 liked these reviews