Summer Film Series – Vol. 6, No. 2: THE HAPPENING
June 13, 2008, at Movies 14, McKinney, Texas
I’m a die-hard fan of M. Night Shyamalan. I’m one of the few who loves The Village, and one of the fewer who enjoyed Lady in the Water. So I’m hard-pressed to slam anything that Shyamalan creates, no matter how unusual or (in the case of The Happening) not-so-unusual. It’s true, as the critics are attesting, that The Happening is not what you expect, and it’s true that this is not a good thing. The Happening is a far, far cry from The Sixth Sense. But I didn’t find it unenjoyable. Or rather, I found a way to get on board with the film’s story.
What seems to be disappointing so many people is that fact that this is not a scary Shyamalan, but instead is simply supernatural. And I’m always pleased with a supernatural phenomenon premise. The Happening is more on the level of The X-Files than it is anything else, and once I found that place during my two-hour viewing of The Happening, I was quite content to let the film play out at will. And in the final analysis, I completely accepted the “cause” of the Happening. I will certainly take a better look around me any time I’m caught in a strong wind.
Despite my acceptance of Shyamalan’s story and even the sudden resolution of The Happening, I was unwilling to accept two things in the film: (1) not every close-up is a good close-up, and M. Night really should employ a new method of portraying tension, and (2) I do not buy into a soft Mark Wahlberg. He’s not at his best in this film. He’s barely (and often not) enjoyable in this film. I have realized that I much prefer the Will-Smith model of Marky Mark than the Mark-lite we were forced to endure in this film. Science does not suit this Wahlberg. And so I look forward now to The Brazilian Job to help sweep Shyamalan’s character completely out of my memory warehouse.
image from Rotten Tomatoes