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The Happening

The Happening

Director:M. Night Shyamalan
Cast:Mark Wahlberg, Zooey Deschanel, John Leguizamo, Betty Buckley
Release Date:2008

By Cole Haddon | Posted 6/18/2008

The Sixth Sense's staggering success almost a decade ago convinced writer/director M. Night Shyamalan he could do no wrong, which is probably why every movie he's released since has been more audacious, more ludicrous, and progressively more unwatchable than his early masterpiece. The Happening is no different, and joins The Village and Lady in the Water in being not just a bad Shyamalan movie, but a bad movie altogether. Mark Wahlberg plays Elliot Moore, a high-school science teacher with a gentle soul (similar to every other male lead in Shyamalan's flicks); the problem is, Wahlberg always looks like he's acting--or possibly mentally diminished--when charged with conveying more than his natural, frazzled edge on screen. With his noncommunicative wife, Alma (Zooey Deschanel), he must contend with a mysterious phenomenon, possibly of terrorist origin, that begins wiping human life out in the Northeast United States. At 90 minutes, The Happening is probably Shyamalan's best-directed work since Signs, but it doesn't feature enough story to sustain more than 55 minutes of screen time. Even Shyamalan's twist, which oddly comes a third of the way in, proves less than menacing after a few minutes and must be replaced by unrelated threats during the last scenes.

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