Happening’ lost on bored viewers

Something horrid is happening and it’s M. Night Shyamalan’s latest film The Happening.

The film is about a mysterious occurrence that causes people to kill themselves. It’s fitting because sitting through 84 minutes of this garbage will drive the average moviegoer to suicide.

People are dying unnaturally, there is panic everywhere and there is a boom mic in the shot. Wait, what? It’s hard to concentrate when you can blatantly see the boom microphone, which is used to record sound, in the shot. OK, maybe it was a mistake on the editors’ part, but we’ll let it slide this time. What is that atop the screen? Is it what is causing people to kill themselves? Oh wait – it’s is just another boom mic in the shot. Sloppy editing aside, the film is full of additional flaws.

Mark Walhberg is introduced as Elliot Moore, a mild-mannered high school science teacher. Elliot questions his class on the disappearance of a species of bees, obviously foreshadowing the rest of the film. Zooey Deschanel plays his alienated wife, Alma, who spends most of the film questioning her marriage

When word spreads about the deaths isolated in the East Coast, people attempt to flee their cities for smaller towns, fearing a terrorist attack. Along the way, Elliot and Alma meet up with co-worker Julian (John Leguizamo) and his daughter Jess (Ashlyn Sanchez). Julian and Elliot ponder what is causing the self-inflicted deaths, with Elliot using science and Julian replying with mathematical theories. This exchange goes on for most of the film, reminding viewers of their professions and insulting their intelligence.

Accompanying the poor dialogue is over-acting and downright bad performances, namely from Wahlberg. His portrayal of Elliot as the "ah-gee-shucks" dorky teacher is embarrassing, and the character is a bad choice for a protagonist.

The message behind the movie attempts subtlety, but comes off as contrived and trendy. Everyone is on the "green" bandwagon right now and if Shyamalan wanted to save the environment he shouldn’t have used up the planet’s resources to make this film.

Shyamalan has a solid track record of making quality movies with vision. With The Village, Unbreakable and The Sixth Sense, Shyamlan was on his way to becoming a modern-day Alfred Hitchcock. The Happening is a setback and a blemish on an otherwise impressive track record.

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