Tuesday, 28 April 2009

The Happening ** (For The Crawley Observer)

The film starts off quite successfully; M. Night Shyamalan (who is also the director of The Village and The Sixth Sense) creates great tension and extremely psychotic chaos particularly for a '15' certificate. However, as the story begins to develop, the strength it gained in the very beginning is lost leaving you with a film that has a bizarre storyline which is also badly acted.

What makes this film less successful compared to the usual greatness that Shyamalan creates, is the fact that he seems to have made a film that's almost too weird and out of his league. Although when the actual thriller elements of the movie are shown, he creates a realistic sense of fear but the film loses focus and gains a, what seems to be, niche appeal. This means the popularity of the film is for a very limited group of spectators, and might be why The Happening just doesn't satisfy an audience with a love for thrillers as a whole.

Added to the main narrative of the film, the acting involved is particularly dire with a more than annoying lead female character, played by Zooey Deschanel, and an extremely unbelievable lead male played by Mark Wahlberg. So, you are left with a limited amount of success through the few creepy moments. However that said, Ashlyn Sanchez who plays a needy little girl really brings this film together making it almost bearable to watch.

The film as a whole retains an air of mystery throughout, but with an undefined ending that makes it even stranger, particularly when you come to analyse what you have just witnessed, lets it down. There are some lighter comical elements but even these are almost too awkward to find funny. Plus, sometimes you find yourself wanting to laugh out of embarrassment for the actors purely based on what the film is about - An unknown disease travelling through the wind.

With the horrors of people killing themselves, and a relationship issue threaded through the storyline... It just doesn't mesh well. I would also point out that some of the best parts of the film have been shown in the trailers. So when its meant to be tense, the feeling is lost because you've seen it all before on TV.

This film is definitely one for avid movie lovers who are craving something out of the ordinary. In my opinion it isn't satisfying and doesn't provide the sense of brilliance that you come to expect from Shyamalan's films.

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