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The Happening
Review Written by: Alex Sandell

After the utter embarrassment of Lady in the Water, Director and Screenwriter M. Night Shyamalan has looked to the past to save his future as a filmmaker. But he isn't dipping back into the well that made his name above the credits a star attraction (The Sixth Sense, Unbreakable, Signs). He's looking back to the 1950s for a career revival. The Happening is a modern day Invasion of the Body Snatchers or Them! A throwback to the atomic-bomb and red-scare fueled movies where only the brainy scientist may be able to save the rest of us numskulls from the havoc we've created.

In The Happening, Mark Wahlberg is the heroic scientist with the clunky dialogue, wooden personality and big brain. But he isn't defending the world from irradiated ants or commies -- those were your grandparents' monsters. No -- Mark Wahlberg, as Elliot Moore, is running from terrorists and ...

And it's the "and" there that will divide the audience. Various theories surround the incidents in The Happening but the underlying message of one of them will determine whether or not you enjoy the movie. If you tend to ignore the liberal bias held by reality you'll likely be turned off by this film. If you gobbled up An Inconvenient Truth faster than Al Gore did the buffet table -- this is your kind of B movie.

Even the undesirable elements of the film, such as the aforementioned stiff acting and clunky dialogue, tend to work in its favor. This really does feel like a 21st Century version of Paranoia Night at the Movies. Thankfully, what M. Night and crew does right works even better. The mass suicides (or are they?) are staged, lit, edited and directed for maximum eeriness. The premise is unique and intriguing -- whether you buy into it or not. The film is largely devoid of hope and its apprehensiveness is contagious.

M. Night has taken his filmmaking in a new direction and, after The Village and Lady in the Water this turn is more than welcome. No, he hasn't created a masterpiece worthy of The Sixth Sense, but he has created a very, very good horror movie. And that's far more than I was expecting and more than enough to satisfy. 
If you can, see it at the drive-in and make the experience complete.

7 Juicy squirts out of a maximum 10 ejaculations

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©2008 Alex Sandell [All Rights Reserved]. Copy this without my permission and the twist ending to your story will be a premature death!