FILM : The Happening Yang Pening

The Happening

Synopsis : It begins with no clear warning. In a matter of minutes, episodes of strange, chilling deaths that defy reason and boggle the mind in their shocking destructiveness, erupt in major American cities. What is causing this sudden, total breakdown of human behavior? For Philadelphia high school science teacher Elliot Moore (Mark Wahlberg) what matters most is finding a way to escape the mysterious and deadly phenomenon. Though he and his wife Alma (Zooey Deschanel) are in the midst of a marital crisis, they hit the road, first by train, then by car, with Elliot's math teacher friend Julian (John Leguizamo) and his 8 year-old daughter Jess (Ashlyn Sanchez), heading for the Pennsylvania farmlands where they hope they'll be out of reach of the grisly, ever-growing attacks. Yet it soon becomes clear that no one—and nowhere—is safe.

Ok.. people. As you all know, the last 15 minutes of any Shyamalan movie is very important. So, right now, I'm going to reveal the twist ending of this movie. Straight up. No Bull.

Ready..? If you are still reading this than you are ready.
Well.. ready or not, here it comes.. Shoot...

It has no ending

In fact, I don't even know what the hell is happening (excuse the pun) in the movie. I could see almost everyone in the cinema hall having a WTF?! look on their faces as they were walking out of the cinema. What is going on? A vague, subtle fantasy thriller? C'mon.. only Hitchcock can do that. Post-apocalyptic sci-fi tale? It doesn't fit the bill. A big-budget homage to B-movies? I just don't fucking get it!

OK, I admit it's not compulsory for Shyamalan to have a twist ending for each and every one of his film. But at least have a good story, and a very strong reason not to have one. Otherwise, the audience will definitely become confused and frustrated.

The movie has a good premise. Conceptually, the idea of the film is very intriguing. To be fair it started off really well.. giving us some ideas about the terror that is striking the city. People started killing themselves with hairpins, jumping off buildings and blowing their head off with guns; it definitely got the audience attention. But as we try to understand the phenomenon that is occurring, the cause and effect.. we got lost.

The many supporting characters come and go. They were all weird, kooky and downright crazy. But we never see the connection between those character and the story. What's with the creepy old lady (Betty Buckley's character)? What her story? The awkward dialogue seems to make things worse. The scripting is shallow and pointless. The plot is too thin. And the acting... OMFG! Please don't start me off on how atrocious the acting is..

Mark Wahlberg as a science teacher? Give me a fuckin' break! I never really thought the guy can act, probably a little bit overrated (that's what a 10 inch prosthetic penis can do to your career), and in this movie, he's just plain bad. In every emotional scene, he always have the same expression; the I'm-so-hurt-that-I-wanted-to-cry-but-couldn't look. Zooey Deschanel is probably a good actress, with a quirky wide eye look, but she seems very out of place in this movie. Pair them together, and all you got is disaster. There's zero chemistry between them both. You could never believe they were married. The usually reliable John Leguizamo doesn't help either and most of the supporting cast is just plain OK.

The Happening is a great movie struggling to break free. The concept is fantastic, but poor dialogue combined with even worse performances make for a disappointing and frustrating 90 minutes of film. It's not quite Lady in the Water bad, but when compared with the likes of The Sixth Sense and Unbreakable, it sure isn't good, making one wonder if Shyamalan will ever recapture that early spark of brilliance.

Best Bit : Hardly any, but the scene where the guy kills himself with a lawnmower was quite gory and funny at the same time.

Interesting Fact : The movie was produced by UTV's Ronnie Screwvala, who produced a string of Bollywood hits and notoriously, local soap drama, Idaman.

Verdict : It's a great idea. A silent, unknown killing machine knocking people off while a science teacher tries to figure out why. But the application of this idea just didn't work. The entire cast seemed out of place, not knowing how to react to the terror that was killing everyone. I enjoyed his first 3 big budget films (especially the underrated Unbreakable), but it looks like he is going on a three-film losing streak starting with The Village. Don't say that you haven't been warned.


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