When discussing about supernatural movies with twisting end, there is a name that is most likely to jolt out, that is M. Night Shyamalan. Throughout the past years, the Indian American writer/director has been well-praised as well as harshly criticized for his works with his thriller films. With "The Sixth Sense", he had received multiple Academy Award-nominations and through "Signs", he gained critical and financial success. However, his two last films, "The Village" and "Lady in the Water", have become a subject of ridicule. In summer of 2008, Shyamalan is back and this time, he brings another thrilling promise with "The Happening". Still, with "The Incredible Hulk" poses as its combatant, can his latest movie rise to the occasion?
If observed from what the critics have to say about "Happening", it seems that Shyamalan may be up for another disappointing result with most reviewers left unimpressed by it. Variety's film critic, Justin Chang, noted that the movie starring Mark Wahlberg is "a Shyamalan movie minus the bravado, the swagger". Explaining further that though Shyamalan has clawed back to his signature touches, it will still leave audience hoping for something better. Similarly demeaning, Kirk Honeycutt of Hollywood Reporter commented that the weak story and characters will cost the movie dearly. He then compared it to '50s science fiction film or a "The Twilight Zone" episode stating that it "feels padded". Additionally, Lisa Schwarzbaum of Entertainment Weekly slammed it stating that though the movie has its moment, it is "undermined by a pompous insistence on spiritual lessons of the tritest kind".
Yet, regardless of the harsh critics, few movie reviewers still give a thumb up for this Shyamalan's apocalyptic film encouraging people to catch it in the theaters. Robert Wilonsky of Village Voice claimed "Happening" to be good stating the opposite, "effective nonsense, chilling nonsense, occasionally wrenching nonsense". The positive feeedback is also supported by Montreal Film Journal's Kevin N. Laforest and Sci-Fi Movie Page's James O'Ehley, who both believe that the horror thriller is still worth seeing.
To be debuted in the big screen this coming Friday on June 13, "The Happening" tells a thrilling story of a mysterious plague causing a mass suicide in New York. Running away from the people who brutally kill themselves, a couple slowly torn apart by their marital problems now has to work together to keep alive while the unseen threat continues to spread across the country. The paranoia thriller also see Zooey Deschanel, John Leguizamo, Spencer Breslin and Ashlyn Sanchez among the cast ensemble.