The Happening (2008)


When an unidentified airborne contagion causes people to kill and mutilate themselves in vast numbers, a small group of friends flee the city to find refuge.

There’s something about the modern disaster movie that seems to mean everyone making them forget to attach an actual ending to the story. I Am Legend, 28 Days Later, The Day After Tomorrow; the list goes on. M. Night Shyamalan’s crack at the genre chooses to make the aggressor invisible which might have worked, but instead it felt like a “spot the zombie” competition where there was an apocalypse but the apocalypse itself seemed to forget to show up. I must admit I was almost glad that one of his trademark twists didn’t come lumbering over the horizon and the scenes of mass suicide and self harm were effectively creepy; but in a film like this you need a pay off of some kind. Any kind in fact.

I’m sure Shymalan has got another good film in him somewhere and I hope he gets his shit together before everyone loses patience with him. A decent exercise in atmosphere, but the biggest problem with The Happening is that nothing does.



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