Movie Reviews

Review: The Happening (2008)

the-happening-movie-review-2008I was too much of a wimp to see Split (2017) in the cinema in January, and the wait for it to be released on DVD is killing me. I’m not a hardcore Shyamalan fan per se, but I love a thriller movie with a twist! I’m pretty sure I’ve seen all the ‘good’ Shyamalan movies, but I was desperate, and so despite the fairly cold reviews, I gave The Happening (2008) a try the other night. This is a movie that I’ve forever mixed up with The Knowing (2009) which I now realise is just called Knowing, so it looks like I’ve been pulling a Hidden Fences blunder for years.

Moving swiftly on…

Guys, there is no way I can discuss this movie without spoilers. Let me tell you the plot, and if you want to watch it un-spoiled from that, then please just close down this page and hunt down a copy. I’ll save the ‘I told you so’ for when you come back. In The Happening, a strange plague hits Central Park in New York which causes people to kill themselves. A lady stabs herself in the neck with her hair accessory, and workers jump from scaffolding into the streets. Elliot Moore (Mark Wahlberg) and his wife Alma (Zooey Deschanel) flee their home.

Right. Now we enter spoiler territory. The greatest plot twists are those that seem so outrageous at the time, but when you start to backtrack through the movie, the clues were all there in plain sight for you to see, leaving you feeling a little hurt, but amazed. The worst kind are either outrageous with no reasoning behind them, or so bleedin’ obvious that you wonder whether there was a twist at all!


Setting the scene here, at the opening of the movie, Mark Wahlberg is a Science teacher talking to his students about an incident where thousands of bees simply disappeared without a trace, no bodies left behind. After a discussion with the group, he tells them that Science may give the situation an explanation, but what actually happened was a force of nature, and is unexplainable. Right, so I’m guessing that this plague is a force of nature that can’t be explained then? An hour and a half later, yes, I was right. Oh.

If you can move past that, and the horrendous acting (how did this cast make the dialogue sound so bad?) this might be a good movie to watch this friends and a few too many alcoholic drinks. Let me highlight some of the crazier parts for you:

  • Mark Wahlberg has a serious conversation with a house plant, basically asking it not to kill him, just to find out it’s made of plastic.
  • He also creeps into some old lady’s bedroom to find a hella-scary doll tucked into the bed. WHY.
  • When the gang realise it’s the plants killing them (or sending them crazy) Mark Wahlberg shouts for them to ‘outrun the wind’. Um…what?
  • Have I mentioned yet that the Earth’s population is being murdered by plants?


At least when I get this movie confused with Knowing, it won’t matter any more, because they’re both terrible. I’m not going to lie though, I had a brilliant time watching this, laying out on the sofa with my headphones in, giving a running commentary to my very confused husband. I think he thought I was joking most of the time. 2 out of 5 murderous plants from me!


25 thoughts on “Review: The Happening (2008)

  1. I hated this movie so much. I remember when Mark and Zoey were on, I think the Today Show and they showed a clip of Zoey when she is watching the news at the beginning of the film. She looked SO embarrassed by her performance. Mark did too. It’s amazing how Shaymalan can make two good actors act that badly.


  2. This one sounds pretty bad. Haven’t watched recent M. Night Shyamalan. Lady in the Water (2006) is where I stopped. I did hear positives about his latest film Split w/ James McAvoy and might give that a watch.


      1. I wouldn’t recommend Lady in the Water. It was dull and for me the start of Shyamalan’s decline really.

        Critics say The Village was the start of his slump but I kind of love that one!


  3. Hi Allie, you are quite generous w/ the rating, ahah. I thought it was awful but then again I’m not a fan of Mark Wahlberg’s acting which doesn’t help matters 🙂


    1. I think if I was being 100% technical in my rating I’d have scored it much lower, but it reached the point of terrible where it got quite fun to watch, which redeemed it slightly for me, ha!


  4. Ha!! Hilarious review of movie that sound ridiculously silly!!
    Your spoiler alert didn’t stop me from reading!! Killer plants!! Please!!
    When it comes to M. Night Shyamalan, he did a superb job with The 6th Sense, post that, his films went downhill!! Some good enough/OK, but none as great as The 6th Sense!!!


    1. I SO wish I could watch The 6th Sense again for the first time. I saw it when I was a kid at a sleepover, and when we pressed play my friend was like ‘Isn’t this the movie where *SPOILER*’ and so I never got to have the proper experience!

      Liked by 1 person

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