For this year’s 31 Nights of Horror Challenge, the Day 17 prompt was Favorite Director. I chose M. Night Shyamalan’s The Happening (2008). There are a lot of directors I could have chosen; John Carpenter, Wes Craven, George A. Romero… But I wanted to change things up a bit and not watch a lot of the same old movies this year.
Elliot Moore is a high school science teacher who quizzes his class one day about an article in the New York Times. It’s about the sudden, mysterious disappearance of bees. Yet again Nature is doing something inexplicable, and whatever science has to say about it will be, in the end, only a theory. Scientists will bring out more theories, but no explanations, when a more urgent dilemma hits the planet. It begins in Central Park. Suddenly and inexplicably, the behavior of everyone in the park changes in a most bizarre and horrible way. Soon, the strange behavior spreads throughout the city and beyond. Elliot, his wife, Alma, and Jess, the young daughter of a friend, will only have theories to guide them where to run and where to hide. But theories may not be enough.
Our Thoughts on The Happening
This is classic MNS stuff. It seems like a throwback to 1950s or 60s sci-fi, where we were all afraid of the government, nuclear war, and the atomic bomb. There is even a Three Mile Island-esque background nowhere near the actual place.
Shyamalan is known for his twists, surprises, and psychological underpinnings, and while this is not on par with the more recent Old (2021), it is decent.
It is a good flick if you want to be entertained by something you probably haven’t seen before but think you have.
5 out of 10
The film’s tagline, “We’ve sensed it. We’ve seen the signs. Now…it’s happening,” referring to M. Night Shyamalan, who wrote and directed The Sixth Sense (1999), Signs (2002), and The Happening (2008).