$2.50 Reviews: The Happening (2008)

$2.50 Reviews:

The Happening

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The Happening is a 2008 film by director/writer M. Night Shyamalan, starring Mark Wahlberg and Zooey Deschanel. Advertised as M. Night's first R rated film, it was categorized in the "Thriller" genre. The film takes place in present day America, and follows the stars trying to avoid being exterminated by some kind of airborne substance. What is that substance, you ask? Watch about half the movie and you'll find out what it is.

That's the main problem I have with The Happening. It doesn't give itself enough time to build up tension before the big reveal happens. You are just getting to know the characters when they are told the origin of the mystery substance. The rest of the film involves the characters trying to avoid being caught by the substance that is now chasing them. Mark Wahlberg plays Elliot, a Science teacher, while his wife Alma is played by Zooey Deschanel. You can tell they have issues with each other from the beginning of the movie, but you never really feel like their relationship is in jeopardy. Apart from the daughter of Julian (John Leguizamo), played by Ashlyn Sanchez, the rest of the cast is pretty much non-existent. Elliot and Alma pretty much carry the entire film, with other characters coming and going like the wind.

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Seriously, she is the scariest thing in the film

The Happening never really seems scary or tense. It's just a story guiding you through, but I always got the feeling that everything would be all right by the end. The substance that ends up being unleashed upon the world goes through three stages. The first stage is forgetfulness and difficulty speaking coherent sentences. The second stage is paralysis, while the third stage is suicide. The suicides are usually creative and enjoyable to watch. No two suicide scenes are the same, and you will get to witness many different ways for people to kill themselves. Despite the suicides being enjoyable to watch, they seemed to be the only real reason this film even got an R rating, and I believe that turning down the gore would have been enough to get a lower rating, and would not have hampered how much the film could be enjoyed. The rest of it is pretty tame, and after the first 2/3, there isn't all that much even happening, especially with the substance. It plays more of a bystander role during the last part of the film, and lets the people tell the story.

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Yep, talking to a house plant

The acting in The Happening is laughable, but in a good way. Whether this is intentional or not is beyond me, but it kept me chuckling quite a bit throughout. A large portion of the lines are delivered in a way that is unintentionally funny, especially when the characters are expected to be taken seriously. Mark Wahlberg is especially guilty of this, but I can't dislike him because I have a nagging thought in the back of my head that this is what was intended by M. Night. Before the film was released, M. Night went on the record to say that he was trying to make a good B-Movie. Did he succeed in that? He pretty much does. Despite it not being a good movie, it is enjoyable enough to warrant a watch. And that should be what really matters.

The plot is quite silly and ends up being there just to guide the characters through a few different locations. The "twist" of an ending is something that will be figured out far before you should, and the acting, while funny, can't be called "good". It is still a fun film to watch, and I would at least recommend you to check it out if you see it for a cheap price, or if it comes on television one night. Watch it with a couple other people, and laugh at the hilariously forced dialogue that the characters deliver. This movie is fun to watch at least once. It likely won't be as good the second time, but give it at least one chance.

This was my first movie review. Please give me feedback on it!

Ah, The Happening. Such a funny movie, for all the wrong reasons.

Anyway, I dislike The Happening, but I agree with many of your points. The R-rating simply seems stuck on as an excuse for M. Night to go 'You want an R rated movie? Here's your god damn R movie!'. It seems more like a 'screw you' to the critics rather than having any real impact on the film Does it succeeded in being a B-Movie? Yes, but that doesn't mean it's a good B-Movie. A good B-movie I would class as the old Godzilla movies, or some of those terrible Jaws knock offs that Italy was populated with in the 80s and 90s. They were so cheap and showed it, and it gave them a sort of charm. The Happening feels too high-concept and too high-budget to be charming, and so just settles at being bad.

Apart from that, it was well-written and made good points (you didn't slam it simply because that's what everyone does when it comes to The Happening). Only criticism was it was a little too short, but you still managed to fit in a decent summary and critique.

That was a pretty good review. Straight forward and simple, just the way I like it.

OT: Now you reminded me of that scene with Wahlberg and the old lady.

Good review, though I didn't find the movie at all fun to watch. It was simply painful. So much crappy dialogue and pointless scenes (guy obsessed with hot dogs and, of course, the talking to a plant scene), and most of all, a poorly told story. I could stand Lady in the Water and heck, I actually liked The Village, but this movie was plain awful.

FargoDog:
*snips*

Too short? *takes note*

Next movie review will be longer! How much longer do you think? This one was about 650 words. Would the 1000 mark be a good goal?

LustFull0ne:
That was a pretty good review. Straight forward and simple, just the way I like it.

OT: Now you reminded me of that scene with Wahlberg and the old lady.

Did you not like that scene or something? Thanks for the comments. :)

Crimson_Dragoon:
Good review, though I didn't find the movie at all fun to watch. It was simply painful. So much crappy dialogue and pointless scenes (guy obsessed with hot dogs and, of course, the talking to a plant scene), and most of all, a poorly told story. I could stand Lady in the Water and heck, I actually liked The Village, but this movie was plain awful.

I found the dialogue to be so bad that it was enjoyable to listen to. I'll agree about the pointless scenes, but again, I didn't hate it because it was funny.

I don't really remember much about The Village, (saw it in grade 6), and I haven't seen Lady in The Water yet, but I'll likely watch both of those again.

Thanks for the kind words about the review. :)

Marter:
-snip-

I just couldn't stop laughing. Also, Wahlberg's soft spoken, intense, concerned voice didn't help.

LustFull0ne:
*snip*

That scene made me chuckle a lot too.

If you haven't already, look at this video.

Marter:

FargoDog:
*snips*

Too short? *takes note*

Next movie review will be longer! How much longer do you think? This one was about 650 words. Would the 1000 mark be a good goal?

1000 should be good, although it's not necessary if you don't feel there's enough to be said about the movie.

Also, for when you get back. Here's a link to something that we totally weren't talking about on MSN.

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>.>

Excellent review. I remember watching this on TV a few months ago. When the credits started rolling, I just thought, "Did I just watch that?"

Crimson_Dragoon:
Good review, though I didn't find the movie at all fun to watch. It was simply painful. So much crappy dialogue and pointless scenes (guy obsessed with hot dogs and, of course, the talking to a plant scene), and most of all, a poorly told story. I could stand Lady in the Water and heck, I actually liked The Village, but this movie was plain awful.

You could stand Lady in the Water? I thought that was worse than The Happening!

Short but concise, well worth reading, well presented. Keep it up!

superbatranger:
When the credits started rolling, I just thought, "Did I just watch that?"

In a good way, or a bad way? Thanks for the kind words!

Sinclose:
Short but concise, well worth reading, well presented. Keep it up!

Thank you. I will. :)

Huh. You know, I myself was about to do an M Night retrospective.

Anywho, great review. Short, sweet and to the point and fun to read.

Keep up the good work!

 

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