Review of The Happening

My promise to never watch another M. Night Shyamalan movie came into direct opposition with my promise to see every Zooey Deschanel movie when I found out she was in it. Zooey won. I lost.

I tried a few times to see this movie before and something always happened to get me out of it. But after (500) Days of Summer, I was on a ZD tear. And so I found myself wasting a 3-day Netflix DVD period along with a 2 hour chunk of time when I should have been practicing my route to the hospital. Then I actually watched the bonus material in hopes I would explain how some people thought this terrible movie was not. My mind was largely unchanged.

M has a knack for taking 2-page fables and stretching them into 2-hour stories. His pacing was delightful and tension-building in Sixth Sense and Unbreakable, but nails on a chalkboard slow in The Happening and Signs and Lady in the Water and probably a few others I haven’t had the misfortune of seeing. And maybe it’s because of the payoff, because they’re pretty much the same. But if you put all your chips into tension leading up to a reveal, you better have the right card. “Is this your card?” it said to me at the end. No, I have the 6 of spades. That’s a napkin from the Cheesecake Factory.

Also, I understand that M is trying to get his characters to be mysterious, but he seems to have a knack for bringing out the worst in actors over the age of 14. I’d say he need to stick to [fill in the blank], but really, I think he just got lucky once and has been riding that credit for the last 8 movies. OK, M. Back to my promise to never see your movies again. 2 bugs (out of 10)

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