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Home > Movies > The Happening

The Happening

(No longer in theaters)
  • Rating: R — for violent and disturbing images
  • Director: M. Night Shyamalan   Cast: Mark Wahlberg, Zooey Deschanel, Robert Bailey Jr., Spencer Breslin, Betty Buckley
  • Running Time: 91 minutes
  • Reader Rating: Write a Review


Drama, SciFi/Fantasy


Barry Mendel, Sam Mercer, M. Night Shyamalan


20th Century Fox

Release Date

Jun 13, 2008

Release Notes


Official Website


It seems only yesterday that M. Night Shyamalan cast himself in Lady in the Water as an author who receives a message from a narf, who tells him the story he’s working on will inspire a child who will grow up and change the world. The theme of Shyamalan’s The Happening is just as grandiose—the end of human life—but his confidence seems gone. A high-toned revenge-of-nature horror picture, it’s a little depressed, with only gross-out shocks (gushing jugulars, bodies run over by lawnmowers) to relieve the torpor. Something is making people stop what they’re doing and kill themselves. Bad reviews can’t be the culprit because it’s not just megalomaniacal filmmakers who are affected. Philadelphia science teacher Mark Wahlberg makes the vaguely creationist case that science is inadequate to explain the higher mysteries, like why honeybees are disappearing and his wife (Zooey Deschanel) has gone frigid. Wahlberg figures it out the way Paul Giamatti in Lady in the Water figured out the narf was endangered by a rogue scrunt—in big, furrowed-brow close-ups that would kill the career of a lesser actor. All that’s missing is the head alien of Plan 9 From Outer Space dropping by to lecture the populace for disrespecting nature: “Your stupid minds! Stupid! Stupid!”