Watch The Happening
- 1 hr 30 min
The Happening is a 2008 science fiction thriller directed by M. Night Shyamalan and starring Mark Wahlberg, Zooey Deschanel, and John Leguizamo. The film follows a series of mysterious, escalating attacks that occur in major cities around the world. People begin to behave erratically, inexplicably committing suicide in public places en masse.
The opening of the film begins with an idyllic park setting in New York City. People suddenly freeze in their tracks before walking backwards and committing suicide in various gruesome ways. The scene then transitions to a classroom at a Philadelphia high school, where a science teacher named Elliot (Mark Wahlberg) is discussing the possible human response to unknown threats. As the class ends, they receive news of the strange events occurring in New York and are quickly dismissed.
The plot and pacing of the film picks up quickly as Elliot and his wife Alma (Zooey Deschanel) attempt to flee the city with their friends Julian (John Leguizamo) and his young daughter Jess. Unbeknownst to them, a mysterious natural disaster is occurring, causing the air to release a neurotoxin that prompts individuals to experience violent mood swings before taking their own life. As the group tries to make sense of the escalating events, they embark on a tense and unsettling journey to escape the disaster and reach safety.
One of the most polarizing aspects of The Happening was its tone. At times, the film teeters on parody and over-the-top melodrama. However, it's clear that M. Night Shyamalan was attempting to create a serious and thoughtful science-fiction tale. The combination of science, climate change-related natural disasters, and the very human experiences of love and loss make for a unique and interesting premise that Shyamalan executes in his distinct and often-controversial style.
Mark Wahlberg's portrayal of Elliot as a science teacher and everyday hero is the film's core. Wahlberg brings a sense of sincerity to his character that at times borders on innocence or naivetÃ©. While this can sometimes come across as stilted or rigid, for the most part, it's a compelling performance that works within the framework of the film. Zooey Deschanel, on the other hand, plays Elliot's wife and provides a decent supporting role. However, her portrayal lacks some of the nuance and depth audiences might expect from such a talented actress. John Leguizamo appears in a more minor role as Julian, but his performance is memorable and quite powerful in the right moments.
One of the standout aspects of the film is the way that Shyamalan utilizes the environment as a central character. Throughout the course of the film, nature and the environment become more and more menacing, and the scenes that take place in parks, forests, and fields are among the most haunting in the entire film. The visuals of people suddenly freezing and walking backwards before committing suicide is also jarring and incredibly well executed.
Ultimately, while The Happening might be a flawed film, it's still a captivating science-fiction thriller that stays with you long after the credits roll. Its unique plot, quirky style, and intriguing performances make it an interesting watch, and it's hard to deny the film's ability to creep you out and make you question what's really happening to the world. Shyamalan's direction coupled with the performances of the lead actors create a suspenseful narrative that carries audiences through the highly improbable plot, and as such, the film still remains an entertaining and thought-provoking watch to this day.
The Happening is a 2008 thriller with a runtime of 1 hour and 30 minutes. It has received mostly poor reviews from critics and viewers, who have given it an IMDb score of 5.0 and a MetaScore of 34.