The Happening (2008)

dir. M. Night Shyamalan

In a nutshell, this is peak Shyamalan. The entire world falls prey to a mysterious force which makes people kill themselves; when a key moment of this premise involves Mark Wahlberg speaking soothingly to a rubber plant, you know it cannot be taken remotely seriously. Everyone speaks as though they’re performing a monologue in a bad school play: haltingly yet with a remarkable conviction that they’re participating in the most important endeavour ever known to humankind. Shyamalan throws in weird traits like the guy who uses “cheese ‘n’ crackers!” as an expletive, or the guy who likes hot dogs – because to Shyamalan, quirks mean character. Basically, absolutely every moment of The Happening is saturated in a solemnity which has no justifiable foundation whatsoever. It’s a delight.

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