Well, folks, here’s another one for you to avoid: The Happening (2008), M. Night Shyamalan‘s first R-rated film. Rated R for ridiculous. (Yikes, they think my name is hard to spell…)
Amazon customer reviewers have hanged this turkey from a lamppost. They don’t like the story, the acting, the directing–they don’t even like the music.
But I say that if you could make this movie starring Laurence Olivier and Judith Anderson, directed by Otto Preminger, written by Ben Hecht, with music by Beethoven, it still wouldn’t save The Happening. In a spirit of humanitarianism, I’ll try to spoil this movie for you so you won’t have any reason to watch it.
OK–for no apparent reason, everybody in New York starts committing suicide. It spreads all over the Northeast. We are shown one guy feeding himself to the lions at the zoo, and another feeding himself to farm equipment. It’s all supposed to be scary, but before very long, it’s just slapstick.
Why is this happening? Because Mother Gaea is really cheesed off at us, dude! Like, this disaster is only a warning of what’s gonna happen if we don’t learn how to be good little Greenies… Barf bag, please. You see, all these different plants have suddenly “evolved” this neurotoxin that makes human beings kill themselves. The plants release it into the air and it spreads on the wind. There is no defense. This is all laid out for us by a talking head at the end of the movie, in case we didn’t catch on earlier. You know your screenplay stinks when you have to plug in a talking head to tell your audience what happened. Then again, maybe Mr. Shyamalan doesn’t know that.
“Gee, mister–if this movie is so bad, why did you watch it?” I plead temporary insanity. I had no idea it’d be that awful. Leave me alone.
So once again the art of film is used to preach a load of pagan poppycock. I guess we’re supposed to worship The Planet, or else The Goddess will sic her plants on us. Better watch out for those plants, because they can magically evolve, at very short notice, one mean hombre of a neurotoxin. And then they’ll stop for a while to see if we’ve learned our lesson. Better trade in your SUV for one of those Government Motors electric doohickeys. And don’t use so much toilet paper! A dandelion might be spying on you.