The Happening (2008) Movie Review

The Happening (2008) Poster

The Happening (2008)

2008 | R | Thriller, Drama, Sci-Fi, Mystery, Comedy
91 minutes / 1h 31min

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The Happening Plot Synopsis:

Elliot Moore is a high school science teacher who quizzes his class one day about an article in the New York Times. It's about the sudden, mysterious disappearance of bees. Yet again Nature is doing something inexplicable, and whatever science has to say about it will be, in the end, only a theory. Scientists will bring out more theories, but no explanations, when a more urgent dilemma hits the planet. It begins in Central Park. Suddenly and inexplicably, the behavior of everyone in the park changes in a most bizarre and horrible way. Soon, the strange behavior spreads throughout the city and beyond. Elliot, his wife, Alma, and Jess, the young daughter of a friend, will only have theories to guide them where to run and where to hide. But theories may not be enough.

The Happening (2008) Review

The Happening (2008) is a 1h 31-min American science fiction thriller film that had an estimated budget of $48 million and grossed over $163.4 million at the box office. Director M. Night Shyamalan (The Sixth Sense (1999), Signs (2002), Unbreakable (2000), The Village (2004))
Understands fear and gave us a nail-biting tension filled movie that had the potential of being better but fell short in some areas. Shyamalan is a terrific director and could have easily made this film into an excellent watch, but I am not sure what he was thinking while directing this movie.

The Happening began by showing us several random people in Central Park in New York City committing suicide which was believed to be a result of a bioterrorist attack from an airborne neurotoxin. That theory quickly fades away as the "unknown whatever" is rapidly spreading across the northeastern United States. We are then introduced to Elliot Moore (Mark Wahlberg - Boogie Nights (1997), The Fighter (2010)) who is a high school science teacher in Philadelphia who decides to take the train to Harrisburg with his wife, Alma. Elliot’s friends Julian (John Leguizamo - Ice Age (2002), Moulin Rouge! (2001), Ice Age: The Meltdown (2006), Romeo + Juliet (1996)) and his eight-year-old daughter Jess accompanies them.

Julian heard that Philadelphia was attacked and leaves his daughter with Alma and Elliot so that he can return to Philadelphia to search for his wife. Elliot, Alma (Zooey Deschanel - Elf (2003), 500 Days of Summer (2009), Yes Man (2008), Almost Famous (2000)) and Jess hitch a ride with a man and his wife. The man is a nurseryman who thinks that the plants are releasing chemicals to defend themselves from human threats. Elliot later realizes that the plants are targeting large groups of people and split his group into smaller groups.

Elliot, Alma, and Jess met Mrs. Jones, who lives in a secluded area and does not know about the disasters happening. The group once again realizes that the plants are not only after large groups still but are now targeting anyone regardless if you are in a group or not. What happens in the next few scenes was too funny because how in the world can the movie end like that.

I was so over the tiresome melodrama Elliot and Alma’s relationship, but that does mean that there was not some good scenes and points in this film. I was fascinated to see what was going on in the movie as the story was remarkable and enlightening in a certain way but was also slow and tedious at times. I have all sorts of feelings about this film but it definitely is not a movie that I will see again. I gave this movie a five because of the breathtaking outdoor sceneries that I cannot get out from my head (it was gorgeous) and because it was slightly different where plant toxins are the cause of people committing suicide and dying.

  • The Happening Rating Scores
  • Our Score: 5
  • Overall Score: 3.96
  • IMDB: 5.0
  • MetaCritic: 3.4
  • Rotten Tomatoes: 1.8

About The Happening 2008

Title: The Happening
Year: 2008
Runtime: 91 minutes
Type: Movie
Genre: Thriller, Drama, Sci-Fi, Mystery, Comedy
Score: 2.5 / 5 stars
Avg. Rating: 1.98/5 stars from 181,035 users.
Total Avg. Votes: 181,035
MPAA Rating: R
The Happening Cast Starring: Frank Collison, Kerry O'Malley, M. Night Shyamalan, Mark Wahlberg, Vincent Riviezzo, John Leguizamo, Greg Wood, Ukee Washington, Robert Bizik, Brian Anthony Wilson, Chuck Schanamann, Jeffrey Mowery, Charles Pendelton, Basil Kershner, David Collihan, Lee Burkett, Joel de la Fuente, Tony Brown, Enrique Gonzalez, Kristen Connolly, Wes Heywood, Robert Bailey Jr., Cornell Womack, Enrique Novello, Mike Wilson, Marc H. Glick, Christian Dorsey, Ashley Brimfield, Don Castro, Samantha Steffen
The Happening Writers: NA
The Happening Director: M. Night Shyamalan
Box Office: $64,500,000
Production: 20th Century Fox
Language: English, French
Country: USA, India