Review of “The Happening”

A lot of reviews I have read have described M. Night Shyamalan’s latest flick “The Happening” as a long Twilight Zone episode. And I agree, so no reason to change the analogy. In a nut shell, there’s a virus that’s causing people in the North Atlantic to kill themselves. Shyamalan shows us the mass chaos of a seemingly unstoppable, invisible killer and what it takes to survive it.

Pros: What I liked about the film:
- Not to sound like a weirdo, but I’m kinda intrigued by how the people decide to off themselves (sorry to be vulgar). I HATE the super gross and gore but it is visually interesting to see by what means people chose for themselves. Also, there isn’t a whole lot of the blood and guts that we are used to seeing in R movies.
- We see mass chaos without the typical clichés like people frantically running towards busses and subways trying to flee, pushing down children to rescue themselves or high pitched screams from terrified women. I love this aspect of the movie because there is still a sense of fear and confusion as people try to figure out what to do, but it’s just not shown in the typical ways.
- That’s another thing, perspective. You will catch yourself thinking “Man, what would I do in this situation?” more than once throughout the film. The perspective of the movie really focuses on what would be happening to you if this occurred. Shyamalan keeps the terror of the unknown on a much smaller scale. We know that bad things are happening to lots of people but the direct events are concentrated on this particular group that we are apart of. (I hope that makes sense).
- The acting is great! From the headliners to all the extras, they are all so good!

Cons: What I didn’t like about the film:
- It’s a little weird, not gunna lie. Not that living people seeing dead people or magical mermaids in pools isn’t weird either, but this, this is a bit odd. Maybe it’s that the killer isn’t a person or the whole suicide thing, I dunno.
- I feel it is a little political. It may just be bad timing, but in a day and age where “climate change” and “no offshore drilling in order to save the environment” are such prominent issues, I am a little annoyed that the main story line is that the Earth feels threatened by man kind.
- The crazy lady at the end. Uh, yeah, what is that about?

Unique Qualities
- It’s a “day in the life” film. Some of the storylines aren’t totally fleshed out or wrapped up.

So, the whole movie isn’t a total waste. And it is certainly the right time length. But I have to say that I didn’t have an instant “I loved it” or “I hated it” feeling when I left the theater. I had to sit down and read some reviews, talk with family and friends to wrap my head around it. Ultimately though, if you are tired of the sequels and comic book movies, then you may like this film for its different-ness in story. I was a little let down, but I am still looking forward to whatever M. Night Shyamalan is up to next. I just hope that it has one of his great twist endings as well as the imaginative plots he is famous for.

“Basically, I'm for anything that gets you through the night - be it prayer, tranquilizers or a bottle of Jack Daniels.” – Frank Sinatra

So may the prayers, tranquilizers and JD be with you and see you next time.

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