Written by Hombre Divertido
The Happening isn’t.
After the underappreciated and misunderstood Lady in the Water, writer and director M. Night Shyamalan attempts to return to the simple intensity of his successful Signs, but fails to include any of the elements that lead to said success.
In The Happening, something in the air is causing masses of seemingly normal people to commit suicide. Though the film is full of disturbing imagery that certainly would appeal to the fans of horror movies, it lacks too many other qualities of a good scary movie.
Primarily, no reason is given for us to care about the stars. In fact, exactly the opposite. Our lead characters, if anything, are annoying. Mark Wahlberg plays a high school science teacher who you want to believe early on will figure all this out and solve the problem, but that is not the case. Our hero leads his wife (a horribly miscast Zooey Deschanel) his best friend and fellow teacher (John Leguizamo), and the friends’ daughter (The under-utilized Ashlyn Sanchez) out of the city, cuz that is what you do in all of these movies, except Signs. Hello? M. Night? Signs was good, The Happening isn’t. Let’s learn from this.
The problem is that there is absolutely no character development in this film, and subsequently no attachment to the characters by the audience. Instead, a problem in the marriage of Wahlberg and Deschanel is contrived in an amazingly ridiculous fashion, which doesn’t matter because no one in the audience would ever believe the two of them to be married anyway. In the case of Leguizamo and his daughter; the wife and mother, whom we never meet, is unable to make the same train out of the city, and the uncertainty of her survival is somehow supposed to endear the characters to us.