I figure if you go to see The Happening, it’ll be purely to experience the magic that is M. Night Shamyalan and the pitiful rat king he makes of filmmaking. And that’s not the kind of spectacle I can easily capture with words.
While this review does contain more plot than I normally like to reveal, i.e. greater than 5%, I wouldn’t exactly call it a “spoiler.” I figure if you go to see The Happening, it’ll be purely to experience the magic that is M. Night Shamyalan and the pitiful rat king he makes of filmmaking. And that’s not the kind of spectacle I can easily capture with words.
SHALL WE BEGIN?
M. Night Shamyalan is one of the worst directors of all time. There is simply no other way to put it. The man has used his Sixth Sense laurels to hoodwink financiers, respected actors, and moviegoers into relationships his films that they will inevitably come to regret. I mean, right? That has to be the explanation. Otherwise, someone actually allowed this man to waste millions of dollars making a movie about a plant uprising.
A plant uprising? Maybe I should explain. Plants are angry at us, see, because we’re hurting the planet etc. etc. To retaliate, they all start releasing a chemical that addles New Yorkers into killing themselves faster than they are already doing by living in New York. And because M. Night Shamyalan is angry at us, he releases a movie in which we are subjected to painfully slow scenes of glassy-eyed actors pretending to commit suicide.
I think his trademark twist in this one is that The Haps causes nightmares that will get progressively scarier as your week goes on, until you are both sleep-deprived and annoyed that the nonsensical products of your subconscious are, in fact, better directed than 90% of this millionaire’s movies. Hideous, childlike storyline aside (did he actually think we’d be shocked to learn that the environment is in bad shape?), Shamyalan clearly spent a lot of time crafting awkward, unsettling shots in order to heighten anxiety, and Mark Wahlberg‘s wooden acting is so uncharacteristic that it must have been an intentional direction. I’ve heard a couple of theories by folks who are desperately trying to make sense of it all, and they usually involve Shamyalan purposefully trying to make the worst movie he possibly can in order to mumble prove some mumble mumble point mumble. That last part is usually unclear. It’s hard to believe that this summer blockbuster veteran is suddenly attempting to create another Funny Games. If that were the case, I’m pretty sure the actual story would be a little more sophisticated and a little less full of holes.
No, I’d bet that Nighty was fairly confident this one would make up for the combined damage inflicted by The Village and Lady in the Water. He stayed simple, he chose a hot topic (“ripped from the headlines,” as they say), and concentrated really hard on injecting an element of camp. Then he repeated every line three times, wrapped it up with an anticlimax, and gave us all paper cuts and poured lemon juice on them. What’s not to like?
But maybe, just maybe those theories I keep hearing have a point. I can’t pretend that I wasn’t kind of excited to see just what mess Shamyalan had gotten himself into now. I’d have been disappointed NOT to have left sputtering with disbelief, ticking off the film’s faults on my fingers. Could it be that the smug Spielberg-wannabe is more intelligent than we give them credit for? And bear with me now, maybe, JUST MAYBE, we have damaged the environment in some way?** And…are my plants in the corner…whispering to each other??
Anyway, not to fear, guys. A Get Smart commercial just came on TV, reminding me that we have Steve Carell to look forward to this Friday. The world is still safe, and maybe M. Night Shamyalan’s houseplants will take the hint before his next masterpiece. Because I’m not sure we can handle another.
**Speaking of which, I’d like to see the specs on how much fuel and resources and whatnot that the making of a huge movie like that must have sucked up.