M. Night Week: The Happening is awesome, change my mind


The release of Glass means it’s Shyamalan week and we are here to talk about one of his most underrated films, The Happening.

Happy M. Night Shyamalan week, ya’ll! While Unbreakable was never one of my favorites (I still liked it) and I’ve never OFFICIALLY seen Split all the way through (don’t @ me), I am a huge fan of all of his work, even the “bad” ones. If you need proof, you can check out my article about the Shyamalan Defense to collect proof of my fandom.

So, why am I writing this if I have already defended my love of movies like Lady in the Water and The Village? I come to you today to discuss one movie in particular. One movie that I have seen almost as many times as I have seen Signs (which is officially my favorite Shyamalan film) and that movie is The Happening. It is awesome and I don’t care what you say.

“If the bee disappeared off the face of the Earth, man would only have four years left to live.” – Albert Einstein

The Happening was Shyamalan’s first R rated film and it is DARK. It was released in 2008 and is directed AND written by M. Night. Guys, I’m going to say now, there will be spoilers. It’s been 11 years. If you haven’t seen it by now, I can’t be held responsible for your sheltered film tastes. The Happening stars Mark Walburg, Zooey Deschanel, John Leguizamo, Ashlyn Sanchez and Betty Buckley.

Elliot (Walburg) is a teacher in the northeast and is teaching children on the sudden disappearance of the bees after it was reported in an article of The New York Times. At the same time in Central Park, a woman is talking to a friend on a beautiful and breezy day when suddenly everyone stops moving but her. Her friend becomes disoriented and takes her knitting needle and plunges it into her neck. From that moment on, there is a rash of suicides that begins to spread beyond the boundaries of NYC to the entirety of the upper east coast, affecting smaller and smaller populations of people.

— Twentieth Century Fox

Elliot and his wife Alma (Deschanel), who is literally one of the stiffest and most unlikable characters EVER, escape the city with their friend Julian (Leguizamo) and his daughter Jess (Sanchez) and try to stay ahead of the wind as it spreads. After Julian leaves to try and find his wife, Jess, Elliot and Alma are left alone to try and survive. News flash: it was the trees.

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In an effort to protect themselves, plants began giving off a chemical to hurt the species that was killing them the most in one part of the country as a warning shot. The trio survive, but just barely. As the communities try to get back on their feet again, the symptoms begin in Paris and the movie ends.

This film got so much flak because it was the trees. It’s as if people think nature can’t take care of itself or feel threatened when attacked but it’s all fun and games until your ficus in the corner starts plotting your assassination. Nature can be REALLY cruel so it’s not surprising that a film would cover the scary act of the earth protecting itself and The Happening is SCARY. It instills the feeling of complete loss of control.

Once the chemicals hit you, it doesn’t matter “who you are, where you’re from; don’t care what you did, as long as you…” die by your own hand. Humans in this film hold no cards and they are broken down into smaller and smaller groups, which is the true behavior of a predator.

Being chased by a killer is one thing, but having an enemy that chases you with the wind, surrounds you and makes YOU your own worst enemy is truly terrifying. You can see a serial killer but when this chemical is released by the trees in The Happening, you are running and waiting for when the moment comes that your group is big enough that it triggers the release and you will all die one by one.

THAT silent killer, that anticipation and the knowledge that you can’t run and any hole in a screen, any crack in a window and the smallest summer breeze could be the thing that signs your death warrant is what true horror is about. That is why The Happening is one of Shyamalan’s best films.

Glass opens in theaters Jan.18 from Universal Pictures.

Next. M. Night Week: Shyamalan’s roller coaster career. dark

Think I’m wrong about how amazing The Happening is? Then sound off in the comments! You’ll be wrong but you can do it anyway.