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Movie Review: "The Happening" (2008)

Updated on August 24, 2014
1 out of 5 stars from 1 rating of The Happening

DISCLAIMER: This review may contain spoilers.

I can think of several horrible end-of-the-world flicks, but "The Happening" is one that just sticks out so bad that it actually makes one want to laugh out loud. "The Happening" is director M. Night Shylaman's take on the apocalypse -- Mother nature uses her plants and wind to drive mankind to the brink of suicide.

The opening moments have a creepy ring to it, I'll admit, but the film slowly gets worse as it goes on. We are introduced to the main character, Elliott (Mark Wahlberg), a school teacher, and his co-worker Julian (John Leguizamo). Everyone gets sent home early due to the mass suicide building up in the Northeastern area of the US.

Elliott picks up his girlfriend, Alma, while Julian picks up his daughter, Jess. Then, they're off on the railroad train, departing New York City. Not for long though as the train abandons its course due to further complications related to the crisis, then they tell everyone to get off in the middle of nowhere in New Jersey or Pennsylvania.

From that point on, they meet more survivors, and everything snowballs into a full-fledged unintentional comedy as the survivors flee from mother nature's "powers".

Mother Nature Attacks

The main concept behind "The Happening" was wrong from the get-go. Admittedly, it sounds cool on paper at first. Mother nature takes control of the plants, using it to control humans to kill themselves. But any attempts to get technical with it beyond that result in utter failure... like the movie itself.

So if you ever feel insulted after watching movies like "The Day After Tomorrow", you'll feel a lot better after watching "The Happening". Because the concept of that movie makes more sense than this one.

"Stay Ahead of the Wind"

This is one of the funniest scenes in "The Happening". Elliott and his group of survivors are out in a grassy field and they suddenly realize that Mother Nature is using the wind to somehow activate the plants to make people kill themselves.

And then comes the line "We have to stay ahead of the wind!" or something to that effect. What a laugh-out-loud moment this was. Say, if the wind is a dead giveaway that death by mother nature is imminent, how come we didn't see this earlier in the movie? Why is it being mentioned around the mid-way point?

Mark Wahlberg and a bunch of fools running from... the wind. Say it with me now: LOL!

If These Plants Could Talk

This scene is pure comedic gold... Mark Wahlberg basically talks to a plant. After 'staying ahead of the wind', it was at this point that the movie steals the viewer's body and leaves the brain behind. No loss of words could ever suffice for what goes down in this scene.

Mother Nature is killing off the human race through her plants... and Mark Wahlberg is talking to one of them. Has it really come down to this? Oh dear Lord...

Hey, maybe the plant could have scored an acting nomination?

Random Things That Make No Sense

  • Elliot's wife, Thelma, is acting distant because she's cheating on him. Her lover continues to call her phone but she never puts it on silent or turns it off, despite her attempts to hide the activity.
  • During the construction scene early in the film, when the first body falls off the roof, the supervisor doesn't seem too shocked that his co-worker just died. I guess he was just acting on auto-pilot.

Remedies for "The Happening"

  • Garbage bin. Then talk to the nearest tree outside your house, you'll feel a lot better.


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    • Bigpayno profile image

      Bigpayno 5 years ago from Indianapolis, Indiana

      It's a bad movie, but I think Shyamala's had much worse. The Village was one of the worst movies I've ever seen. He hasn't done a great movie since the Sixth Sense and Unbreakable.

    • satomko profile image

      Seth Tomko 5 years ago from Macon, GA

      It's like a bad zombie movie without any zombies. I agree that the start of the movie is pretty good, but as soon as the audience and characters start to get an understanding of what is going on the movie squanders any goodwill it had built to that point.

    • FatFreddysCat profile image

      Keith Abt 5 years ago from The Garden State

      Oh yeah, this was a godawful movie. It started out very promising (the first half hour or so was very creepy and effective) but then it started rolling downhill and never stopped.