The Happening (2008) Movie Review

The Happening (2008)

2008 | R | Thriller, Sci-Fi, Drama
91 minutes /

User Score: 58/100

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The Happening Review


A science teacher, his wife, and a young girl struggle to survive a plague that causes those infected to commit suicide.

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.

About The Happening (2008)

Title: The Happening
Original Title: Green Planet, The Green Effect
Year: 2008
Runtime: 91 minutes
Type: Movie
Genre: Thriller, Sci-Fi, Drama
Score: 2.5 / 5 stars
Avg. Rating: 2.9/5 stars from 12 users.
Total Avg. Votes: 12
MPAA Rating: R
Starring: Frank Collison, Mark Wahlberg, Kerry O'Malley, M. Night Shyamalan, Vincent Riviezzo, John Leguizamo, Greg Wood, Robert Bizik, Charles Pendelton, Basil Kershner, Lee Burkett, Joel de la Fuente, Brian Anthony Wilson, Ukee Washington, Chuck Schanamann, Marc H. Glick, Mike Wilson, Don Castro, Christian Dorsey, Ashley Brimfield, Jeffrey Mowery, Samantha Steffen, Peter Appel, Whitney Sugarman, Julia Yorks, Joseph Tornatore, Jann Ellis, Babita Hariani, Dustin LaValley, Lyman Chen
Writers: M. Night Shyamalan
Director: M. Night Shyamalan

The Happening Cover Poster Art