The Happening

The Happening ★★½

I cannot figure out how I feel about this movie. It doesn't suck, but it's pure garbage; it's the worst movie ever but it's honestly not as bad I expected. There is an unmissable intentionality to the actual horrors as they are presented, as M Night shows off his mastery of the camera to elicit terror from the simplicity of nature. The acting is atrocious and the scene progression is characterized by a whole bunch of baffling non-sequitors; but given all that and the invisibility of the evil, the only conclusion I can make from the undeniable sense of terror is Shyamalan's direction. Somehow the abominable corniness only momentarily distracts from the overall horror atmosphere without completely detracting from it, and the abrupt conclusion manages to actually be... wholesome?

Am I tying this into the Myth of Sisyphus because I just made a list about it, or because ultimately this movie is about the inexplicability of absurd horrors and the characters learning to insist upon their own emotional wellbeing despite that? I think there's an actual great film in here, and I don't think it's buried all that deep beneath the inexplicable stupidity; it's peeking out, begging to be seen, but way too easily missed, and I blame both sides of that on Shyamalan himself. What a weird movie. All I know is, Shyamalan hates science and I'd also kill myself if Mark Wahlberg was my teacher.

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