Is Shyamalan’s The Happening “a Terrible, Terrible Movie”?

Yes, says not one, but two people who have managed to see a sneak peek at M. Night Shyamalan’s stab at climbing out of the pit known as “critically and commercially savaged”, aka post-“Lady in the Water” stinkiness. Unfortunately, while the trailers seem to strike that perfect balance of, “What the hell is going on here?” and “Geez, I kinda don’t really want to know, because I might not be able to handle it!!”, the first reviews for the film are not, well, good. In fact, they’re downright terrible. Really, really terrible, apparently.

The reviews were sent into Collider.com. Here’s an excerpt:

“The Happening” is a terrible, terrible movie. I mean, it’s bad on an epic scale. It’s so bad that I can’t possibly tell you how bad it is without understating the point or making it sound like I’m picking on the film. But let me stress: this is not pent-up Shyamalan aggression or a desire to see him fail. This is bad in a jaw-dropping “they can’t really be serious, can they?” kind of way. The closest comparison I can draw is to Neil LaBute’s “Wicker Man” and, like that film, the only consolation I can offer potential theater-goers is that you might want to see it just to be in on the ground floor when the film gets its ass handed back to it.

Yikes.

Here’s more about the plot:

Picture “The Birds” without any birds, and that should give you a good idea of what Shyamalan seems to be going for. Suddenly and for seemingly no reason a neuro-toxin is released in the Northeastern United States that causes people to murder themselves in terrible ways. The effect sweeps through different towns and everyone races to escape, unsure of what’s really going on. The lead, Mark Wahlberg, is a schoolteacher who is on the outs with wife Zooey Deschanel. They flee together with a few other strangers and try to figure out what has caused the deadly outbreak.

You can read the rest of the review — SPOILERS!! — at Collider.com. And yes, the reviewer does tell you what causes “the happening”. And it’s, well, it’s pretty funny. Not in a “haha” sort of way, but in a, “Are you effin’ kidding me, M. Night?” sort of way.

The Happening Movie