Though I must admit that I was more than excited when I first saw the trailer for the new M. Night Shymalan film “the happening” for I truly believe that he is a true visionary and great filmmaker, I was immediately hesitant regarding his choice to cast Mark Wahlberg as the lead. This is one of the many actors who can NOT act, the roles in which he has the shined the brightest (action films aside, they are a completely different genre) have ALL been ensemble cast productions ie. boogie nights, the departed. So sadly my expectations were a bit low on opening night, and then the film began.
Now as is the case with Shymalan’s films, the cinematography was amazing, filled with great tracking shots and eerie long stills. he really is a master of suspense as demonstrated by the opening sequence. However, all of those great shots you see in the trailer, are literally all of the great shots you see in the movie. And Unfortunately, from the moment Wahlberg opened his mouth the film was DOA. His delivery of science intense dialogue was pretty comical. No amount of eye brow movements can improve upon such (lack of) acting ability. I honestly really, really wanted to like the film as I tried to focus my attention away from the lead actor. So I focused on Zooey Deschanel (who I really like, she’s a little hottie) but sadly she was just as bad. I read a review that wrote “she seemed like she was in a different movie half of the time” (hahaha!!) and let me tell you I could not have said it better myself.
So moving away from the horrible casting/acting, the story was good, the idea of what is happening, is very NOW, it is very of the moment and thought provoking. But at times I did feel as though it came across as a bit preachy. The story is also very satirical at moments, and when the film is suppossed to be funny, it is hysterical. The problem is that much of the film is unintentionally laughable, and I truly believe that is a result of the casting. Ultimately a story is only as good as its main characters, and if the audience does not connect with them then no amount of writing, special effects, camera work or subtext can do anything to salvage the film. The movie was sadly (and i mean this, I was truly upset) NOT happening.