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The Happening
Movie Stats & Links

Starring: Mark Wahlberg, Zooey Deschanel
MPAA Rated: R
Released By: 20th Century Fox
Web Site: www.thehappeningmovie.com
Kiddie Movie: People kill themselves in a variety of ways.  Don't let your kids see them.
Date Movie: If you want her to hold you when she gets creeped out.
Gratuitous Sex: None.
Gratuitous Violence: People kill themselves in gruesome ways.
Action: Nope.
Laughs: There are some really good chuckles.
Memorable Scene: I'm torn between the scene with the tigers and our heroes at Mrs. Jones' house.
Memorable Quote: "You know, hot dogs get a bad wrap."
Directed By: M. Night Shyamalan
Produced By: Barry Mendel, Sam Mercer, M. Night Shyamalan

The Happening
A Movie Review

MPAA Rated - R

It's 1:30 Long

A Review by
The Dude on the Right
I try to abide by the rules of the movie theaters, or at least obey the sign that says I shouldnít be bringing in my own food or drink into the theater, so I have been okay with paying $3.00 for a bottle of water and $3.00 for a big pretzel whenever I caught a movie at my Kerasotes theater in Naperville, IL, but that was until today, because as I went to go and see "The Happening," the latest in creepiness from M. Night Shyamalan, which actually ended up being a movie for teen-central (even though it was rated R), a group of kids came bounding into the same row I was in, proceeded to plop their butts to the right of me, and I noticed, out of the corner of my eye, that yes, I donít know how the dude got it past the high level of security at the theater, but he had a pizza box, and from the smell wafting my way, the box was not empty.

Enough of food choices at the movie theater, I suppose I should just get to "The Happening," and tell you I liked it, but not because itís an M. Night movie you want to believe, nope, this was campiness at the movies in all its form, and if you see this movie, expecting that, you will probably have a great time.

Letís get to itÖ

Probably the best thing to ever happen to M. Night Shyamalan was giving such a fantastic twist in a nearly perfect movie when he did "The Sixth Sense," but maybe the worst thing to ever happen to M. Night Shyamalan was giving such a fantastic twist in a nearly perfect movie when he did "The Sixth Sense," especially, since then, we always just want to equate M. Night to "Twistedness at the movie theater," that we will sit there trying to figure out how he will give our mind that "Ahhhhh! Now I get it!" moment, instead of now just letting him be a writer and director. "The Happening" is not that "Twistedness" movie, in fact it isnít even close to that movie, instead itís a movie of bizarreness, tales of plants able to kill all of us at their whim, and a crazy lady who will make you laugh and give you the creeps at the same time.

Yup, weird things are afoot in the northeastern part of the United States, namely that people are just suddenly stopping in their tracks, maybe walking backwards for a bit, but then trying to find any way to kill themselves, or just die. Mark Wahlberg is the nerdy science teacher, Elliot, in a marriage to Alma (Zooey "She of the biggest, most beautiful blue eyes" Deschanel), and their marriage is having some issues. But when people are dropping dead in New York City for no apparent reason other than maybe a terrorist attack, Julian (John Leguizamo) convinces the not-so-happy couple to catch a train to Harrisburg to hang out with his Mom.

But things arenít that simple, especially for an M. Night movie, because the train decides to stop at a no-where town because, well, they canít communicate with anyone on the East Coast, we get a quirky couple, thinking hot dogs are the perfect food yet knowing what actually might be going on, giving a ride to Elliot, Alma, and Jess (Julianís daughter whom he so nicely abandons), but strange things are still afoot in the farmlands of Pennsylvania, eventually leading our couple, with friendís child in tow, to the house of Mrs. Jones (Betty Buckley), who might just be one of the creepiest characters ever.

The winds seems to bring badness and it might just be from Mother Nature and the plants she grows, but in the end, love will prevail, and sure, M. Night gives a warning about the world, maybe one that will only manifest itself when we venture back into nature and sense a breeze coming, and wonder "Can this actually happen? Is the hot dog dude actually right?" Ah, the movies!

From all of my reading about this movie before it opened, and from Mr. Shyamalanís explaining the B-Movie nature of this movie (whether he actually meant it or not), I went into seeing "The Happening" as just a good time, and you know what, I got it. The crappy part is that the advertising campaign has been focusing on the "seriousness" of this movie, about its being from M. Night, but not just saying "This movie is wack! Bring your own pizza but you might want to stop eating it when dudes start walking off the girders, plummeting to their deaths!", as the pizza dude next to me did.

I donít know if M. meant it this way, but this is not a movie for serious thought, and if you take it the right way, as almost a zombie movie from days gone by, you will probably get a kick out of it. Hell, if you take it that way, who wouldnít like to see a zoo animal caretaker in the middle of the lions den, feeding them with his arms?

You will probably hate "The Happening" if you are looking for "The Sixth Sense." If you are looking for a campy zombie-ish movie, you will love it. For me I got it, or maybe I didnít, from the start, but Iím still giving it 4 stars out of 5 because I had a great time, laughed at how some of the people decided to "off" themselves, and damn, Mrs. Jones actually got the hairs to stand up on my arms.

Thatís it for this one! Iím The Dude on the Right!! L8R!!!

 

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