12 June 2008 | tripxyde
After "Lady in the Water" has disappointed critics and audiences alike, M. Night Shyamalan rebounds and reclaims his dignity as a filmmaker with "The Happening". I really do not like talking much about a good Shyamalan movie because the power of his movies usually come from the revealing surprises it gives audiences; his movies tend to scare you with something you cannot immediately understand. And Shyamalan is the master of mysterious threats, which is quite clear with this movie. All you need to know is that there is an unexplained phenomenon that is inexplicably exterminating human beings in and around the North American region.
This movie is such an enigmatic horror movie that reminds me of Radiohead's music video for "Just" and also mirrors classic horror flicks of the 60's, specifically much like Alfred Hitchcock's many works, it also has that Stephen King feel to it. Shyamalan has gone back what he is good at; tapping at the power of fear. And fear is what you get, as The Happening creates a realistic state of imminent threat creating a paranoia that easily infects the audience. The film actually belongs to the Twilight Zone sort of sci-fi suspense; it is freaky and frighteningly mysterious, injected with a B-movie appeal but with a strong sense of realism.
The music was also an excellent mood-setter that appropriately enhances its very unsettling setting. The cast gave a convincing performance, with Mark Wahlberg, and the very charming Zooey Deschanel on the lead; they are supported by explosive performances by John Leguizamo, Ashlyn Sanchez, and a very disturbing role played by Betty Buckley. Shyamalan's direction of making the movie simplistic, non-flashy, and just lets its realistic storyline simply unfold without any unnecessary visual gimmicks. The story simply doesn't even attempt to make a detailed accurate scientific explanation, because the main character in this sort of movie is the fear, not the science. The fear feels real up to the point that I feel like I couldn't just wait till the main characters overcome this threat they're facing.
Maybe it was just because I expected so little, but The Happening really took me by surprise, and if you ask me, this movie was way scarier than Sixth Sense. If you want a really good scare or a really good scream, and get to learn a little something as well, THE HAPPENING is something you should watch.