Fox Home Home Entertainment and MGM Home Entertainment released The Happening on DVD October 7th.
M. Night Shyamalan (The Sixth Sense, Signs) brings a self-inflicted doomsday to the big screen in The Happening, the thriller about a family on the run from a mysterious and deadly phenomenon, which causes people to halt in unison, then begin killing themselves by any means available to do so. First in a deceptively peaceful Central Park, then at a high-rise construction site a few blocks over, where bodies begin raining down as workers step off girders into nothing. All this while the city is so quiet you can hear a gentle and hsunting breeze in the trees. I found the set pieces and self-mutilation scenes original and ingenious, but the flow of the movie could have used more tension to bring me to the edge of my seat.
There were so many great questions the film asks, but left many of the answers to the viewer, which was probably his intention. The haunting breeze throughout the film carries a neurotoxin, and how it got there is the big question.
The Happening is Shyamalan’s best film since The Sixth Sense, and Mark Wahlberg as a Philadelphia high-school science teacher plays the unheroic normal guy confronted with a mammoth crisis, extremely well. He, along with his his wife (played by Zooey Deschanel), his colleague (played by John Leguizamo in a rare but powerful dramatic role), along with Leguizamo’s daughter (Ashlyn Sanchez), must find a way to outrun an invisible killer striking at random.
Another successful element here is the film manages to be so unsettling without the use of many special effects or gory make-up. Shyamalan’s dialogue and straight-forward storytelling, make for wrenching drama, as Wahlberg begins to discover the true nature of what is lurking out there.