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The Happening Reviews – Dreadful

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The reviews for The Happening are in.

It’s been interesting, as a fan of director M. Night Shyamalan, to gauge the critical and fan response to his films over the years. Most folks seem to adore The Sixth Sense and abhor Lady in the Water – a consensus that remains consistent down through the years. But the early popularity of Signs seems to have devolved into nit-picking over the science-fiction elements, and his best film to date, Unbreakable, has gradually found acceptance in the indie scene while alienating mainstream film goers with its slow, moody pacing (notice that I didn’t even bring The Village into this conversation … *shudder*)

For my money, a love that Night acknowledges the supernatural while most films these days try to squeeze the same wonder out of “natural” means, but with little affect. Still, it’s easy to see, fan or not, that his films are breaking more and more rules and creating a niche market rather than the wide-spread appeal his budgets mandate.

The most vivid example of this is Lady in the Water, a filmmakers wet dream packaged in a studio nightmare. As a filmmaker I loved every bizarre moment of that film, from the self-referential storyline to the drastically off-balance framing. But the average joe hates it, and I’m talking a level of hate normally reserved for The Hulk or Southland Tales.

And from early reports, the same will be true of his latest flick, The Happening. Although, if the clips I’ve seen online are any indication, this might break the wonderous spell that Night has had over me for close to a decade.

And here’s my proof from the internet – a step by step comparison of the average ratings of M. Night films from Rotten Tomatoes. Let there be no arguments, this does NOT bode well for Night’s career:

84% – The Sixth Sense
Consensus: M Night Shayamalan’s The Sixth Sense is a twisty ghost story with all the style of a classical Hollywood picture, but all the chills of a modern horror flick.

68% – Unbreakable
Consensus: With a weaker ending, Unbreakable is not as a good as The Sixth Sense. However, it is a quietly suspenseful film that intrigues and engages, taking the audience through unpredictable twists and turns along the way.

74% – Signs
Consensus: With Signs, Shyamalan proves once again an expert at building suspense and giving audiences the chills.

42% – The Village
Consensus: The Village is appropriately creepy, but Shyamalan’s signature twist ending disappoints.

24% – Lady in the Water
Consensus: A far-fetched story with little suspense and unconvincing scenarios, Lady In The Water feels contrived, pretentious, and rather silly.

14% – The Happening

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85 Comments »

  • Sheridan Passell said
    Sheridan Passell

    What a shame he’s gone off the rails. He was one of the few directors who could genuinely have become the next Hitchcock / De Palma.

    I absolutely believe he should have a twist in every film he does, not shy away from it – that was a big part of the fun of his early films. Had there been one in The Happening, there would have been a LOT more buzz/discussion online.

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  • Gilbear said

    I don’t see what the problem is. After all of the eco/destructive, mass hysteria, doom & end of the world movies that have been crammed down our throats, I’m happy to see that Shymalamading-dong finally got it right with a eco disaster comedy. I mean…it is a comedy? right? It has to be. Running away from wind? Don’t they sell respirators & masks at Home Depot?

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  • Dol said

    *sigh*

    I’m seeing it tonight after The Hulk.

    *sigh*

    Why am I doing it?

    *sigh*

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  • k.c. said

    Worst Movie EVER!!! Unless like stated early it was supposed to be a comedy, because it was very funny. I’m not seeing any more of his movies.

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  • Rob said

    Hey, the Happening has opened to funny and dreadful reviews across the country. Im one of those who enjoyed the movie. Probably the only twist in the story is that there is no big twist. The director keeps you thrilled for 90 minutes and people dont like it coz there’s no valid reason behind the 90 mts of thrill.

    Shyamalan movies have to be seen from his perspective. The Sixth Sense kinda movies are not on his cards all the time. The most criticsed Lady in the Water was probably intened for kids but we dont realize that either.

    Go to the theatres expecting nothing. You will find a lot to get excited abt. You expect something high and get something different – you will get disappointed. Problem’s not with Shyamalan; its with our expectations !

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  • Madhatter said

    I want my money back. This movie BLOWS!!! You know, if the previews didn’t lead you to believe this movie was actually, oh I don’t know,………good, you might not be so disappointed when after approximately 30 seconds, you realize it SUCKS!! Mark Walberg……..what can I say…….at least he was an little entertaining in this one (as opposed to the dog $h!t we saw in Four Brothers). Don’t waste your hard earned cash on this pile.

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  • Seth said

    I have been a fan of M.’s work from the first time I have seen the 6th sense. To me this movie had a Tarantino feel to it; in which it could possibly redefine a genre of movies. Sadly, this last piece of work, the Happening, does not have that appeal. I scares me that this movie will make 70+ million on its opening weekend proving to the studio heads that an other movie will be as money driven and popular. But, one problem; this movie was completely bad. The para-normal direction and suburb writing style has gone of its hinges. there really was not one real aspect of M. in this movie. Please take my words and believe me when I say, sadly of course, save your money and just wait until many more reviews like mine come poring in. This was not done with full casting ability and was not done by a class A director, writer and producer. But sadly again, it was.

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  • jason menchen said

    This is officially the worst movie in existence…any critic that has anything positive to say should be out of business.

    M.Night Whatever should be prosecuted…

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  • j said

    This was my first date movie choice!I’m suprised she’s still speaking to me. I came on this website in hope that SOMEONE could explain this BS of a movie!I knew we should have went 2 see Kung Fu Panda…

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  • Sheridan Passell said
    Sheridan Passell

    Unlucky on that date dude.

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  • S.U. said

    I am an avid M. Night Shyamalan fan (and Philly area resident so I have a bit of hometown bias toward his work), however this was his first movie I walked away from not feeling anything. I’ve always have some sense of enlightenment at the end of his films (and yes, even with Lady in the Water…I loved the “we all have a purpose” message of the script). But with The Happening I feel he was beating us over the head with the same environmental propoganda we’re already oversaturated with in everyday media (even though the plant toxin concept was a cool idea). Although I was still very much in suspense, and still jumped and laughed on several parts, the end of the movie just didn’t feel like the end…seemed liked there should have been something else. Something more to walk away with and think about than what we already know.

    As far as his overall filmography, I feel he gets a bad rap. I agree with one reviewer that you have to watch these movies from Shyamalan’s perspective. His brain just functions on a different level, and I guess he just doesn’t dumb it down enough for mass audiences to always appreciate it. The genius in his work is the details. EVERYTHING means something, and most people seem to miss the clues, or just don’t get the little nuances he adds into the story. If you can’t appreciate stuff like that, then go watch a slashser flick with people being killed for entertainment and no purpose to the storyline.

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  • kk said

    This is the crappiest film ive seen in ages , the actors cant act , the writers ovbiously cant wrtie . There wasent even a proper conclusion .

    what a waste of time !

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  • BOO SHAMALAMA-DING-DONG said

    i can honestly say that i agree but only put it as my second least favorite movie of all time just after steven kings’s The Mist (which was ungodly awful and pointless). At least in this movie the “family” is able to escape the dreaded plants that are trying to kill them. Thats a picker uper:)

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  • Lacy said

    With this movie you have to look outside of the box. If you didn’t like it…you definitely didn’t find the real message.. nor did you look out of the box. Try it again before you say you really don’t like it. I think if you like his movies you should give it a chance and look for the real meaning. There doesn’t need to be a twist.

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