M. Night Shyamalan fans will enjoy it… simply because it’s from M. Night. But most audiences will probably be disappointed.
begins without warning. First there is confusion, everyone stops moving…a few begin to walk backwards, and then the unthinkable…everyone begins to kill themselves. Episodes of these strange and chilling deaths erupt all over the north eastern United Sates. For Elliot Moore (Mark Wahlberg), a Philadelphia high school science teacher, escaping and understanding the mysterious and deadly phenomenon is top priority. Though he and his wife Alma (Zooey Deschanel) are in the midst of a marital crisis, they hit the road with friend Julian (John Leguizamo) and his 8 year-old daughter Jess. It soon becomes clear that no one can outrun this terrifying, invisible killer.
I loved it, but I like Unbreakable, The Village
and Lady in the Water
, I think most people will skip it…so I’ll meet you in the middle and give it a “Rental.”
I’m a big M. Night fan, and I enjoyed this film… but let’s be honest… this is no “Signs”
(M. Night’s best film, by far.)
Funny… because I was gonna say, “This is not the Sixth Sense,”
his best film, by far.
I liked Sixth Sense
. It was definitely good. Probably his SECOND best film!
And I agree… Signs
was great. It was probably his SECOND best film!
But as for The Happening
, there are no dead people, no creepy little kids and no twist ending, so stop expecting them. What this is is a very unsettling movie about a mysterious “attack” that flips the switch on our instinct for self preservation.
I think the most upsetting part about this film is the lack of a twist ending. I know, I know… Signs
didn’t really have a big twist either (but it was still his best). But M. Night is almost known for his twists. The Happening
didn’t have the strong characters that Signs
did, OR a twist ending. It was only through his creative dialogue and unique “Hitchcockian feel” that I even liked this film.
M. Night Shyamalan is one of my favorite directors and once again his direction in this film is amazing. The camera movements and pacing are as creepy as the story itself, and the story is what M. Night is all about.
That being said, Mark Wahlberg is strong and believable as a confused high school science teacher who is trying to figure out what is happening. Like Signs
, the answers are there and pop up in some pretty unsuspecting ways. And like all his other films it does leave you with a “What in the world was that?” feeling.
All in all The Happening
is an hour and a half filled with flinches, jumps and an unsettling feeling that still hasn’t completely gone away.
You said it well. I couldn’t even verbalize why I liked it. But I did.
I will say this. The whole “M. Night’s first R-rated movie” marketing scheme was a laugh. I don’t know if you caught that. But all the previews really made a big deal of the rating, using it as a draw. Funny thing is… they must have had to really work hard to get the R rating. This film was CLEAN! There was barely any language, no sexuality of any kind… and the gore wasn’t even that bad. I think they worked hard to make a couple “intense” and graphic scenes to try to earn the R. Sort of ridiculous.
SHOULD KIDS SEE IT?
Not this one. The “scare” is enough for me to keep this one away from my 10 and 7 year olds but the violence in this one makes me think we should keep younger teens away too.
I wouldn’t hesitate letting my junior high or high school kids see it. It’s not dirty in any way. Just a little intense for younger kids, and with two scenes that are “slightly” bloody and violent. Trust me, there is FAR worse stuff on TV.
Three Simple Questions (with Answers You May Be Looking for):
- What are some of the messages or themes you observed in this movie?
- How do you suppose we—as serious Christ-followers—should react to this movie?
- How can we move from healthy, Bible-based opinions about this movie to actually living out those opinions?