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The Happening

2.8 out of 5 stars 742 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

From director M. Night Shyamalan comes a lightning-paced, heart-pounding paranoid thriller about a family on the run from an inexplicable and unstoppable event that threatens not only humankind... but the most basic human instinct of them all: survival.

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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Special Features


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:
  • Studio: 20th Century Fox
  • DVD Release Date: September 8, 2015
  • Run Time: 91 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 2.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (742 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B001DZOC6Y
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #15,915 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "The Happening" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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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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.

...Read more ›
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(Review contains some spoilers)

After a rash of apparent suicides, the government believes New York is under attack by terrorists. Enter School Science Teacher played by Mark Wahlberg. He and his family and friends flee the city, hoping to escape. Unfortunately, there doesn't appear to be any escape from the biological weapon which kills without warning.

I knew the film was going to be bad the moment the one girl removed a long hair stick and impaled herself with it. I thought to myself, please tell me this is not going to be a guts and gore film. Unfortunately, it does appear to be the case. Gore won out over the big mystery of 'what was happening' to the citizens, and from there, it just sort of escalated. The mystery was lost, as we are treated to about a dozen senseless suicides, which were meant to underscore the seriousness of the biological weapon, but instead gave the film a really silly slasher quality.

Mark's character Elliot and John Leguizamo's character were about the only characters I cared about. I could not stand Zooey Deschanel's acting and her droopy character, and Julian's kid just added nothing to the screenplay, except a tagalong and an excuse for Elliot and Alma to not get the heck out of Dodge as quickly as possible.

Overall, I was disappointed in this film. I am accustomed to rather clever films from Shyamalan, and this film just seemed to lack direction, and be rather obvious. The limp half-hearted explanation of events at the end of the film was just silly, as was the forced romance between Elliot and Alma who had little chemistry. This film just left me unsatisfied.
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Format: DVD
The sixth sense was an absolute masterpiece, and that fact still makes me give any M. Night Shyamalan (Shy) movie a chance. However Shy's movies have gotten progressivly worse, culminating with this atrocity.

Reason No. 1 this movie was bad. Acting
Who can forget Haley Joel Osment's haunting portrayal in The Sixth Sense or that of Toni Collette, who played his mother, or Bruce Willis in arguably his best role? Zooey Deschanel was awful. I have seen better acting in high school plays. John Leguizamo was completely under utilized. Whalberg did the best he could with bad dialog.

Reason No. 2 this movie was bad. The Script was Horrible
Shy tries to give the movie a basis in science but his logic is impossible to follow. Nothing about the major plot points make any sense. For example, A train stops in the middle of nowhere becasuse they have lost contact with "everyone". How does a national train system lose contact, when we have been told the event is localized to the northeast U.S. and cell phones and national media coverage are still running? The premise that plants were releasing a toxin into the air was interesting but it was never fully developed. There was no shocking reveal at the end, no payoff (like sixth sense or the village), just some lame eco babble about the planet sending us a message.

To sum up.
The dialogue is weak and directly impacts the performance of the actors. The suspense never really mounts and although there is some disturbing imagery there are absolutely no scare moments. The story is nonsensical and never goes anywhere. This is not even a renter.
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