The Happening M. Night Shyamalan

The Happening M. Night Shyamalan
A friend told me that he felt The Happening was the funniest movie of the year, and after revisiting it on DVD, I understand what he means. M. Night Shyamalan may have been the go-to director to find that chill down your spine but he’s increasingly lost the plot over his last few efforts, to the point where he’s now unintentionally directing big budget comedy. He has an interesting concept to work with: one day people just all of a sudden begin offing themselves in convenient and/or grotesque manners. However, when it comes to an explanation, well, that’s the real punch line. I’ll give it to Mark Wahlberg, Zooey Deschanel et al., they certainly know how to roll with the incredible script, delivering overblown and aloof performances while running away from the gentle breeze — the absurd killer of choice used to emphasize Shyamalan’s weak ecological message that yes, plants will eventually fight back against our abusive behaviour. The director doesn’t give us a commentary, most likely because after seeing the finished product he felt the same way, although he’s giddy in the featurettes produced on set. He describes the film as an homage to ’70s paranoia films, the "best B-movie you’ve ever seen, but somewhere it slipped into something deeper.” The B-movie aspirations are spot-on, thanks in large to the overreaching acting (the relationship between Wahlberg’s overenthusiastic, know-it-all science teacher Elliot and Deschanel’s remote, almost catatonic Alma is just plain bizarre) and the hysterical reaction that terrorists are responsible, not to mention scene after scene of characters running from the wind. But that deepness is nowhere to be found. Shyamalan also seems proud of the R rating The Happening received, admitting that at times, "it was like making an X.” Uh, yeah. Some deleted scenes prove the director’s taste for blood was even stronger, including one violinist topping himself with his bow, and a much gorier shotgun blast to a young teenager’s head. Trying to prove the point of the film, Shyamalan explains that it is a reflection of our environmental crimes, adding, "We’re not the victims, we’re the villains.” To that I say, speak for yourself, Night. (Fox)