The Happening

All great films start off as a brilliant idea in the mind of a director, however in order for that brilliance to be projected into a film, much more than an idea is needed. In the case of The Happening, the elements outside of the idea were lacking.

The plot of the film is quite interesting. It's different enough to capture your attention, but at the same time it isn't so off the wall that it pushes moviegoers away. The film begins with two friends talking at Central Park in New York City. As the title plainly stated, something is happening and the film wastes no time in showing exactly what it is. All of the people in the park come to an abrupt halt, as if they are paralyzed. They lose their ability to speak and spontaneously commit suicide.

As the film progresses, cities are evacuated along the entire east coast of the United States as the happening spreads. Speculations are made on news stations as to what the cause may be. Some say terrorism, nuclear leaks and even the biological processes of plants are possibly culprits.

Clearly, the plot of the film is good. The problem is the screen writing. M. Night Shyamalan is a fantastic director, his ideas are unique and make for good, thought provoking films. However, he is an awful screen writer. He cannot translate the ideas in his head on to a script effectively, which causes awkward dialog between characters that comes off as just plain cheesy at times. The less-than-realistic conversations are not helped by mediocre acting, and there is plenty of it in this film.

Overall, the film is worth seeing if you're a horror flick junkie, but it won't be anything you consider to be epic. There are several scenes that will cause you to grip tightly to your seat, but they'll soon be forgotten as the next scene comes along with ridiculous dialog that diminishes the overall spookiness of the film.
Posted on June 14th, 2008 at 12:21am

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