THE HAPPENING is M. Night Shyamalan’s eighth film, and this time he has chosen Mark Wahlberg and Zooey Deschanel to try and get him back on track. This film is much like his other films in which there is some phenomenon or hidden agenda that is revealed at the end. In this case, many people are acting bizarre and killing each other as well as themselves for no known reason and as the craze spreads Wahlberg and Deschanel must find a way to hide or escape from an unidentified happening.
I’ve enjoyed all of Shyamalan’s previous films, even the ones that were not box office successes. I like how he has brought back the suspense and fear without the gore or slasher-like qualities in the normal horror genre. I hope Mr. Shyamalan will continue to make his movies his way and disregard the criticisms of his recent movies.
My favorite thing about his films is that there is no real hero that will end up saving the day. Usually there is just some event, occurrence or situation in which regular people find themselves and we get to watch them react. In this case we see Wahlberg, as a science teacher along with his wife and friend’s daughter, try to find their way out of a strange incident that is closing in on them. Like his other films, I tend to find myself wondering how I would react and comparing that to what the characters are doing onscreen.
Although an entertaining ride, there were some problems with the film. The first would be the acting, it was a bit sub-par. Alone I think Wahlberg and Deschanel are fine actors but I didn’t see any real chemistry between them in this film. I know throughout the film their relationship is strained, but I felt there should still be a little spark somewhere. There were no real emotions coming from either of these two, it was kind of stiff and without any emotional range almost to the point where I couldn’t empathize with their characters.
My other issue was the graphic violence. I like violence and gore in action films but I had a tough time with some of these scenes. I’ll have to attribute it to the fact that Mr. Shyamalan never gives you a release from the suspense in most of his films. I don’t really recall a moment of humor to break up the tension so watching some of the scenes made me squirm because I was anxious during the entire film. Like I said, this was a minor problem and lovers of the horror movies will most likely not bat an eye.
I believe M. Night Shyamalan has been given a tough time and received a lot of criticism for his last few films. He’s really a great storyteller and if you can get past his formulaic plot lines and just enjoy the narration on screen you’ll find that his films really are entertaining and thought-provoking.