The Happening – Review


A strange happening is moving across Philadelphia, seemingly targeting people in built up areas and causing them to act somewhat irrationally. The story in The Happening focuses on a couple who are going through a rough patch, Elliot Moore and Alma Moore played by Mark Whalberg and Zooey Deschanel. Elliot’s friend Julian and his daughter Jess are also along for the chaos played by John Leguizamo and Ashlyn Sanchez.

As the seemingly unknown happening spreads from the built up areas we follow the journey of Elliot and Alma as they try to make sense of what happening and also make sense of their currently rocky relationship. The first few scenes of the Happening build up the story pretty quickly and it has an eerie feeling that doesn’t really shock you straight away, but definitely grabs your attention. In fact the movie only has one scene which will potentially shock or scare you. And this is the problem with the happening its actually a step back from atmosphere and sense of impending pressure that was prevalent in The Sixth Sense, Unbreakable and The Signs, which were all far scarier and more brooding.

In the positive things to note, The Happening is a welcome return to the less absurd storylines that we have to deal with in Lady in the Water and The Village. So while The Happening is not particularly good or bad, I still enjoy watching M. Night Shyamalan films. You never really know what I’m going to get with them even though many share similar themes and character relationships. As far as the cast goes, John Leguizamo is underused, Zooey Deschanel takes a while to get into it, but in all fairness isn’t given a great deal to actually work with. Mark Whalberg does a solid turn and manages to keep the movie from floating away with a down to earth approach.

Overall the Happening is an average movie, but after a couple of duffers it’s a step in the right direction from Shyamalan. If you’re a fan you might find it worth a watch, otherwise approach with caution.