Friday, May 16, 2008


M. Night Shyamalan is an inarguably-talented director. For some time, the hype was deafening - I recall a Newsweek cover a few years back profiling Shyamalan with the headline "The Next Spielberg?" - high praise for the then-up-and-coming director with only a couple of hits under his belt (the hits were inside his pants or something. I've never understood the expression).

But, in my opinion - and I'm not alone - he hasn't released a great movie since Signs, or a really fantastic movie since Unbreakable. His last couple of movies haven't had the same impact as his earlier successes so I don't have much guilt or disappointment in telling you that the early buzz on The Happening is that it blows chunks. Don't sit in the front row.

How could a film named after a fantastic song by The Pixies fail? I'm being facetious, but you'll have to admit that the movie has a pretty generic title. The Happening. The Happening. The EVENT. The . . . The Occurrence? How about The Incident? Right now it's looking more like A Series of Unfortunate Events, and not in a good way. I've got a million of them - a million too many. Let's move on to the horrible news.

Spoilers are usually to be avoided, but if this movie sucks as bad as the consensus says it does the following tidbits may very well be necessary information. Read this and tell me it doesn't sound like a rollicking good time (from the New York Magazine):

Collider has a review of a rough cut of M. Night Shyamalan's forthcoming The Happening (due on June 13), and, while there may still be a few bugs to work out ("The Happening is a terrible, terrible movie.… I'm saying this with no hyperbole, but Mark Wahlberg might very well give the worst performance I've ever seen in anything"), it appears that Shyamalan has finally outdone himself. The plot follows an estranged couple (Wahlberg and Zooey Deschanel) fighting to survive a devastating environmental crisis — a neurotoxin is released in the American northeast that makes everyone spontaneously attempt violent suicide. But who's responsible for the deadly gas? That's the scariest part! See an exclusive photo of The Happening's terrifying villain after the jump! (Warning: spoilers ahead.)

Aaahh! It's trees! Photo: iStockphoto

From the review:
It's plants that are responsible. They've decided to wipe out humanity and release the neurotoxin as their natural weapon... What Shyamalan quickly finds, though, is that it's very, very hard to menacingly cut to an evil-looking tree. That doesn't stop him from trying, though, and he inexplicably adds wind as a way of livening up the scenes. When the leaves of a tree start to blow, evil's afoot. It's really, really hard not to laugh at and there's even a real groaner of a gag-scene wherein Wahlberg timidly apologizes to a houseplant only to find that it's made of rubber. Really.
In M. Night Shyamalan's new movie, the plants of the world become sentient and try to kill the human race with suicide-inducing neurotoxins.


You'll have to excuse me - I think that I'm having a stroke.

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