The Happening Reviews
The movie demonstrates a smart movie geek's obsession with the rhythms and gory details of horror storytelling, undermined by a pompous insistence on spiritual lessons of the tritest kind.
The final explanation, which comes as no surprise, is more preposterous than profound. If you want to see a scary movie about humans wreaking havoc on their planet, watch An Inconvenient Truth instead.
Mr. Shyamalan is plagued by a bad case of Robin Williams Syndrome, characterized by a desire to inspire and change the world through mediocre entertainment a" in this case, accompanied by ample and frequently creative bloodshed.
The Happening is an awful letdown, yet it leaves you with something new, as a gently waving tree -- that classical image of pastoral tranquillity -- mutates into a harbinger of doom.
Shyamalan's approach is more effective than smash-and-grab plot-mongering. His use of the landscape is disturbingly effective. The performances by Wahlberg and Deschanel bring a quiet dignity to their characters.
Wahlberg turns in one of his worst performances ever, but then he's saddled with preposterous scenes (like one where he tries to placate a ficus) and such lame lines as "Could this really be happening?" Funny, I was wondering the same thing myself.
The attention paid to [Wahlberg and Deschanel's] piddling relationship woes vs. the entire fate of humanity is absurd. We never feel persuaded that they have a bond, much less invested in seeing them patch it up.
Instead of shocks, we get moments of tension, suspense and violence between stretches of running scared. Nothing wrong with that, except that the stretches are awfully long in places. And in the end, it all comes to not much.