Friday, October 3, 2008

The Happening DVD

DVD Review by Kam Williams

Headline: Suspense-less Shyamalan Thriller Released on DVD

In 1999, The Sixth Sense established M. Night Shyamalan as the heir apparent to Alfred Hitchcock’s as the master of suspense. However, the once-celebrated wunderkind’s stock has fallen over the years since his subsequent offerings have generally been disappointing due to the identical failing.
The trouble is that his adventures rely on rabbit-out-of-the-hat revelations which retroactively render the rest of what you’ve just watched inconsequential. Consequently, Shyamalan’s critics have deemed him a one-trick pony undeserving of his lofty status as a cinematic genius. Now, perhaps in response to his detractors, he has crafted The Happening with a more-transparent, but equally-unsatisfying twist.
The film opens in New York where we find pedestrians exhibiting bizarre behavior which starts with catatonia and disorientation and culminates with their calmly committing suicide. The setting quickly shifts to the Philadelphia classroom of science teacher Elliot Moore (Mark Wahlberg).
He and the rest of the faculty are soon summoned by the high school’s principal (Alan Ruck) who informs them about the strange goings-on in Manhattan and summarily cancels classes for the rest of the day. It’s not long before the folks in Philly start becoming infected with the same self-destructive urges.
So, Elliot and his pal, Julian (John Leguizamo), decide to make a break by train to a presumably safe haven in the country. En route, they pick up a couple of loved ones: the former’s estranged wife, Alma (Zooey Deschanel), and daughter, Jess (Ashlyn Sanchez). Together, the four then embark on a valiant struggle to survive the godforsaken plague.
Besides telegraphing what’s really at the root of the ho-hum havoc, The Happening is beset by a host of flaws, most notably, wooden acting jobs by Zooey Deschanel and Mark Wahlberg who barely demonstrate the emotional range of the zombies everybody around them is turning into.

Fair (1 star)
Rated R for violence and disturbing images.
Running time: 90 minutes
Studio: Fox Home Entertainment
DVD Extras: Deleted scenes, gag reel, plus five featurettes.

To see a trailer for The Happening, visit:

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