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The Happening (2008)

Mark Wahlberg , John Leguizamo , M. Night Shyamalan  |  R |  DVD
2.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (595 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Mark Wahlberg, John Leguizamo, Betty Buckley, Zooey Deschanel, Ashlyn Sanchez
  • Directors: M. Night Shyamalan
  • Format: Multiple Formats, AC-3, Color, Dolby, Dubbed, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: English (Dolby Surround), French (Dolby Surround), Spanish (Dolby Surround)
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish
  • Dubbed: French, Spanish
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: R (Restricted)
  • Studio: 20th Century Fox
  • DVD Release Date: October 7, 2008
  • Run Time: 91 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 2.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (595 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B001DZOC6Y
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #10,549 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "The Happening" on IMDb

Special Features

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

In this heart-pounding apocalyptic thriller from M. Night Shyamalan, the writer-director of The Sixth Sense and Signs, an unstoppable event threatens the world's population by attacking the most basic human instinct of all - survival. Academy Award Nominee Mark Wahlberg (2006 Best Supporting Actor, The Departed) stars as Elliot Moore, an ordinary man trying to save his family from a terrifying, invisible killer. As Elliot discovers the incredible possibility of what is happening, it is clear that no one - and nowhere - is safe.

Amazon.com

You'd expect the end of the world to be no day in the park, but in M. Night Shyamalan's The Happening, a day in the park is where the end begins. One otherwise peaceful summer morning, New Yorkers strolling in Central Park come to a halt in unison, then begin killing themselves by any means at hand. At a high-rise construction site a few blocks over, it's raining bodies as workers step off girders into space. And all the while, the city is so quiet you can hear the gentle breeze in the trees. That breeze carries a neurotoxin, and what or who put it there (terrorists?) is a question raised periodically as the film unfolds. But the question that really matters is how and whether anybody in the Middle Atlantic states is going to stay alive. The Happening is Shyamalan's best film since The Sixth Sense, partly because he avoids the kind of egregious misjudgment that derailed The Village and Lady in the Water, but mostly because the whole thing has been structured and imagined to keep faith with the point of view of regular, unheroic folks confronted with a mammoth crisis. Focal characters are a Philadelphia high-school science teacher (Mark Wahlberg, excellent), his wife (Zooey Deschanel) and math-teacher colleague (John Leguizamo), and the latter’s little girl (Ashlyn Sanchez). Instinct says get out of the cities and move west; most of the film takes place in the delicately picturesque Pennsylvania countryside, with menace hovering somewhere in the haze. There are no special effects (apart from a wind machine and some breakaway glass), but the movie manages to be deeply unsettling in the matter-of-factness of its storytelling. Especially effective is its feel for what we might call the surrealism of banality. One warning sign that someone has been infected by the neurotoxin is irrational or erratic speech and behavior, yet Shyamalan has a genius for dialogue that sounds normal and everyday as it's spoken, yet flies apart grenade-like a second later as its logic (or illogic) sinks in. Then there's Deschanel's eye-rolling dodginess about the messages some guy has been leaving on her cellphone. Or the fellow (Frank Collis) who addresses his greenhouse plants as though they were his children--has a stray toxic zephyr wafted his way, or is this just his idea of normal? --Richard T. Jameson


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
38 of 40 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Off the Rails October 15, 2008
Format:DVD
The Happening is the story of a couple, teacher Elliott More (played by Mark Wahlberg) and his wife Alma (played by Zooey Deschanel), who wake up one day to find that the east coast of the United States is under some sort of event/happening/terrorist attack. They flee the city via train, trying to escape this happening, and this is where the movie takes off.

I have to admit, I liked the first half of this film, the buildup wasn't bad, and the script was pretty good. But then somewhere near the middle, during a scene where the protagonists exited a train, the movie went off the rails.

The last half of this film was a huge disappointment. The happening seemed to attack everyone but the lead characters, and the movie turned into a spoof of itself. The ending was flat, and you are left with an emotionless feeling; a sense of "why did I watch this" washes over you.

Unlike many people who reviewed The Happening, I am a fan of M. Night. I loved Signs, Unbreakable and Lady In The Water. But The Happening is not cut from the same mold. The script, especially the dialog, are horrendous and read about as hokey as it gets.

Rent before you buy this movie.
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54 of 66 people found the following review helpful
We all know what started it. The Sixth Sense. Let me clarify, though. THE SIXTH SENSE was NOT a success because of its third act twist. Shyamalan's breakthrough film succeeded because he created believable characters dealing with a solid, definable conflict that came to a powerful, relatable conclusion AND THEN he introduced a twist. And not a cheap, showy, carnival twist, but a twist that ADDED TO (not reversed or mutated) the gut-wrenching emotional climax that preceded it. Although it got all the press, the twist in THE SIXTH SENSE was simply the icing on the cake of that film. And as any eight year-old kid who's been to a wedding can tell you, if you only eat the icing, all you get is sick.

Shyamalan has languished ever since, but only because he ended up falling for his own hype. He tried (and, I believe) set up an equally satisfying emotional bedrock in Unbreakable, but he expected his twist in that film to BE the resolution, instead of supplementing it. Bad idea. A twist is NOT a conclusion.

His characters and his conflict and even his conclusion were more solidly established in Signs, but -- whoops -- he was dead-set on tacking on one of his patented twists, and the story he'd created didn't really need one, so the twist came across as being not just unnecessary, but also ludicrous.

The Village came closest to reliving the old Shyamalan magic, and that was APART FROM the silly twist.
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23 of 27 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars The Day the 'Night' Stood Still June 15, 2008
American cities of the northeast are plagued by an apparent terrorist attack in which people become confused then suicidal - leaping off skyscrapers, shooting themselves, impaling themselves with hairpins. As high-school science teacher Elliot Moore (Mark Wahlberg) and his unhappy wife and colleague flee to the country, it becomes evident the threat is more likely environmental. Nature is fighting back, with plants releasing some kind of toxin to defend themselves against the human industrial onslaught...

M. Night Shyamalan executes on this charming premise with a deliberate eye to the sci-fi B-movie, both in style and theme, with lashings of gore, a cheesy score, and expository dialogue that at times sounds more like a textbook. Sadly, however, it doesn't entirely work. Shyamalan's no fool. He wouldn't make a B-movie without a specific intention. So what's going on here? Is the substance connected to the style? Does Shyamalan want us to go back to the 1950s? Is he trying to tell us that cities are bad? Is he echoing E. F. Schumacher's cry that "small is beautiful"? Or is this a response to misplaced moral hysteria around 9/11? Falling bodies around 9.00am on a New York Tuesday certainly stir the echoes. Is he saying there are bigger threats to worry about than a few ideologues in planes; that 9/11, though a tragic event for those involved, is ultimately a miniscule blip compared to our disastrous global environmental trajectory? Or is it simply a musing on the fragility of humankind and the paucity of our knowledge? He'd be right on all counts, of course. But his intention is never clear.

As an argument the film isn't very convincing, and as a piece of entertainment it's worse.
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
Format:DVD
You don't have to be a major film fan to realize that writer/director M. Night Shyamalan basically has created movies that slowly go less and less into his first works The Sixth Sense in overall quality. But when it was announced that Fox wanted him to make his first ever "R" rated picture, would that be enough to break him out of his never-ending slump?

Nope.

The Happening stars Mark Walberg as a high school science teacher who among everyone else in his Pennsylvania suburb hears that an airborne biological terrorist attack has landed in New York causing it's victims to lose control and find a way to commit suicide. As residents flee towards help, soon they realize that this attack has spread over the Northeastern portion of the United States and that they're right in the middle of it. But is this plague manmade or of a more natural kind? Could it be caused by nature itself? Will anybody know or care after watching this dreck?!!?

I doubt it. While "M" and this film try to be all scientific-like interesting, it truly falls amazingly flat. To be honest, this is M. Night's absolute worse film. First, the infected all basically do the same thing which is babble for a second, walk backwards, and find some way to kill themselves, all the while looking like they are still in complete control. Another is the dialouge. While the acting isn't all that great to begin with, I personally haven't heard words written this bad since some kid named Anakin was breaking some pregnant chick's heart. At times I truly felt more for myself watching this than for the victims screaming at the sight of seeing a brisk breeze of air flowing ever so calmly in front of them. Oh my God, WIND!!!!!

However, an "R" rating does mean something had to earn it and in a small way it has.
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Horrible movie...
It's like Zooey doesn't know what movie she is in!
Aug 28, 2009 by G. Broschart |  See all 5 posts
M. Night Shyamalan keeps getting better
i agree, this is shaymalan's best....and i'm not even a huge fan. i think that the mood he sets w/ pacing and imagery is the obvious genius, but i'll take exception to the other reviewers that claim that the story is garbage.....use your imagination folks, don't expect all directors to lay... Read More
May 31, 2009 by M. Chen |  See all 10 posts
of course i`ll buy this item
You are truly sad. I "recomandate" you get some help.
Sep 1, 2009 by Couch Potato |  See all 2 posts
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