Parents' Guide to

The Happening

By James Rocchi, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 17+

Horror film is long on peril, but thin on plot.

Movie R 2008 90 minutes
The Happening Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this movie.

Community Reviews

age 14+

Based on 9 parent reviews

age 2+

Proper good yeh

Dis totally isn't a sarcastic review, it really is excellent. Best twist, (Wont spoil it cause it'll get you) best acting, (Everyone totally fits there roles) best practical effects (Not at all bad) and best of all it truly spooky, real fright fest that made me jump from time to time. Honestly may be one of the best films of the last decade.

This title has:

Great messages
Great role models
1 person found this helpful.
age 18+

Insanely Awful movie

As others have said SO bad. Not suitable for anyone. ...and I like some of M Nights movies (Signs, Village). I’d rather get a root canal than see this movie again...REALLY!

This title has:

Too much violence

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (9):
Kids say (23):

The Happening feels like a throwback to '70s cautionary disaster B-movies like Day of the Animals or Invasion of the Body Snatchers, with nature itself seeming to turn against humanity. The mood of many individual scenes -- spooky, scary, and grim -- works. But when you move past the bodies and blood, the structure of the movie itself feels curiously slack, with Elliot and Alma running for safety as things go from bad to worse. There's no real underlying plot arc to the film, and the critical event is set along a completely arbitrary timeline that the lead characters have no power to affect.

So, while The Happening meanders from horrible vision to grim vignette, it doesn't really cohere as a story -- there's a lot of running, a lot of worrying, and plenty of bad things happening to good people, but it never quite engages the viewer. (Wahlberg also doesn't quite have the chops as a leading man to make us believe in his character; many of his scenes feel more accidentally amusing than deliberately dramatic.) The Happening revolves around an intriguing idea and features a few striking images, but ideas and images aren't a substitute for storytelling and screenwriting. The Happening may have a few chills and scares, but it doesn't have the plot structure or sense of real tension that would tighten its loose collections of scenes into an iron chokehold of horror and dread.

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