the not so happening

The HappeningI don’t know if it seems naive or cynical, but often times I watch a movie and am absolutely stunned to see what was released. Wondering not so much who gave it the green-light as wondering how a bunch of movie people could have sat through the final cut and decided that it was ready to be released. Regardless of genre or taste or budget, some movies are just so thoroughly mediocre that they might only be passable if from Michael Bay or a first time director, but from anyone with any more credit than that? I must say, what happens?

We watched The Happening which seemed promising enough, as I have enjoyed The Village (the only other M Night movie I have seen). I know that a lot of folks didn’t like the Village, but this one was just inoffensive crap. When people suddenly start committing suicide in Central Park en masse and then the wave of suicides rapidly spreads throughout the northeast, we start following a small group of people as they try and figure out what is happening and keep ahead of the menace as it spreads from the cities to the towns. This group consists mainly of Marky Mark, Zooey Deschanel and John Leguizamo (who used to be a funny comedian… I don’t know what he’s trying to be now but his math teacher character here is terrible!). This group also turns out to not be very compelling, but then again, nothing else in the movie is either.

The Happening completely lacks any creepiness, tension, scares or cause for concern. It is just a shallow, vapid waste of time. The concept, while moderately intriguing, is dished out in a bland and heavy-handed manner that makes it seem dull and totally irrelevant, though I imagine that M Night thought he was making some kind of point, he doesn’t. He also does away with any final act twists here also, bringing the angle up so early and flaccidly flopping it about our faces so much that it just becomes an annoyance. The actors were an alright bunch but they all opted to put in completely throw-away performances here, devoid of any believability or interest. When there is a lame attempt at bringing up a “personal angle” with the lead characters at the end, it is almost shocking as you can’t believe that you were intended to have any interest in these walking cardboard stiffs and their trite little conflicts. Worst of all, the script is flat, dumb and suffers from an excessive amount of exposition. There are two alright bits, both of which tale place at houses that they come across and have to deal with the inhabitants, but the rest is worthless and boring.



 

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