John and I saw The Happening this past weekend. A new seven screen cinema was recently opened about 25 miles from us, which gives us, for the first time a really nice place to go, nearby (yup, around here 25 miles is nearby).
The Happening was different from anything by M. Night Shyamalan that I had seen before (Unbreakable, The Sixth Sense, The Village, Signs). It was more of a straight forward morality play -- modern technological human society taking over the world, plants (trees, shrubs, grasses) fight back, not in any Triffid-like anthropomorphic sense, but through natural defenses. [Here's a facinating side note: the spell checker flagged Shyamalan, but not Triffid! Go figure, a real person doesn't make the spell checker list, but a fictional invasion of monster, killer plants (illustration right) does! Yes, I know that Triffids is also a band.]
The truth of the event is revealed early on in the movie (at least it is presented as a viable theory early on). There are no twists, no surprises (unless you count the fact that the "happening" ends -- but the talking head in the movie does predict it to end, the title suggests that it ends). The tag at the end isn't a surprise, it’s an affirmation. So the movie lacks the complex plotting of the other films listed above, lacks any real surprise to be revealed. I did have the sense that the gore and blood that earned the film an R rating was there to make up for the lack of plot intricacies.
I did walk out wondering something – why did they end up in Boston instead of Philadelphia – albeit the Beacon hill streets are very picturesque -- and did survivors just simply take over the homes and apartments of all the people who died?
Also I'm inspired to learn more about trees and whether or not they do have the kind of toxin defenses that the story revolved around.