The Happening (2008)

Why yes, that is Siying Chen's right ear that you see.

Why yes, that is Siying Chen’s right ear that you see.

I’ll admit that I tried watching M. Night Shyamalan’s The Happening for exactly one reason: To see Siying Chen’s cameo. That cameo was very much of the “blink and you’ll miss it” variety where you can’t really see her face.

This is also the first time I’ve reviewed a movie I actually walked out on (or in this case, giving up on a DVD) only 10 minutes into the movie. The movie opened with a scene where people in Central Park are committing suicide as a result of the titular happening. One onlooker says (stupidly) how someone is clawing himself and asks if that was blood she saw. I’ve said it many times before and I’ll say it again: It’s a violation of the “show, don’t tell” tenet in movie writing.

The Happening featured writing of such ineptitude that it makes The Purge seem like Oscar-worthy material by comparison. Mark Walhberg played a science teacher who was teaching the eager young minds about how there are things that science cannot explain. As an engineering alumnus of Cornell University, I would pull my kid out of that school in a second if he or she came home telling me their teacher said that in class.

I went in thinking having been a veteran of movies like Project X (itself nearly a walkout) and The Incredibly Strange Creatures Who Stopped Living and Became Mixed Up Zombies!!? (a movie featured on Mystery Science Theater 3000), how bad could The Happening be? I only saw 10 minutes, and I actually want to cry from having seen those 10 minutes. At least Siying Chen has a really pretty right ear.

Score: 0/4

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