The Happening
Written and directed by M. Night Shyamalan

Starring Mark Wahlberg, Zooey Deschanel, John Leguizamo


The Happening

Everybody who liked M. Night Shyamalan's last three films please raise your hands. Mmmm. No one. Me neither. And yet there was a talent there, perhaps hidden by his newfound greed and complacency that anything he could think of would be just as exciting as "The Sixth Sense," which really is a masterpiece of a kind. In fact, I much prefer the parody of "Signs" in "Scary Movie 3" to almost any moment in Shyamalan's films.

However, "The Happening," perhaps because it has a lead actor who radiates intelligence and smarts - Mark Wahlberg - works much better for me than the other films. Without giving anything away, the film starts with people in Central Park suddenly stopping, walking backwards a few steps, then dropping to the ground and dying. The reasons will become clear (I should say clearer) toward the end of the film, but suffice it to say that all of the Northeast is now in the grip of the plague of death.

Wahlberg leads his wife (Zoey Deschanel) and a friend (John Leguizamo) and his child, looking for safety and in the process discovering what is causing the plague of death.

I think the film works because of Mark Wahlberg, who underplays all the emotion and fear without seeming to be a hero. Shyamalan's script is serviceable, including the hints that Deschanel has been having an affair, and his direction - always his best feature - is excellent. More I cannot tell you.