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The Happening (2008)



Average Rating: 4/10
Reviews Counted: 173
Fresh: 30 | Rotten: 143

The Happening begins with promise, but unfortunately descends into an incoherent and unconvincing trifle.


Average Rating: 3.9/10
Critic Reviews: 43
Fresh: 5 | Rotten: 38

The Happening begins with promise, but unfortunately descends into an incoherent and unconvincing trifle.



liked it
Average Rating: 2.6/5
User Ratings: 368,783

My Rating

Movie Info

"The Happening" is a lightning-paced, heart-pounding paranoid thriller about a family on the run from an inexplicable and unstoppable event that threatens not only humankind, but the most basic human instinct of them all--survival.

Oct 7, 2008


20th Century Fox - Official Site External Icon

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All Critics (173) | Top Critics (43) | Fresh (30) | Rotten (143) | DVD (6)

[A]n astonishment, so idiotic in conception and inept in execution that, after seeing it, one almost wonders whether it was real or imagined.

September 22, 2008 Full Review Source: The New Republic | Comment (1)
The New Republic
Top Critic IconTop Critic

The Happening is an awful letdown, yet it leaves you with something new, as a gently waving tree -- that classical image of pastoral tranquillity -- mutates into a harbinger of doom.

June 23, 2008 Full Review Source: New Yorker | Comments (9)
New Yorker
Top Critic IconTop Critic

For a movie with the potential for so much global-warming electricity, it's disappointingly low on voltage.

June 18, 2008 Full Review Source: New York Observer
New York Observer
Top Critic IconTop Critic

It almost dares you to roll your eyes or laugh at certain scenes that are supposed to be deadly serious. But, you know what, I appreciated this creatively offbeat, daring sci-fi mind-trip.

June 16, 2008 | Comments (41)
Ebert & Roeper
Top Critic IconTop Critic

All that's missing is the head alien of Plan 9 From Outer Space dropping by to lecture the populace for disrespecting nature: 'Your stupid minds! Stupid! Stupid!'

June 16, 2008 Full Review Source: New York Magazine/Vulture | Comment (1)
New York Magazine/Vulture
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Feeble gust of an environmental horror story.

June 13, 2008 Full Review Source: TIME Magazine | Comment (1)
TIME Magazine
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Wahlberg is atrocious, as wooden as the trees terrorising him.

October 14, 2012 Full Review Source:

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

December 19, 2010 Full Review Source: Common Sense Media
Common Sense Media

Shot in the inimitable Shyamalan lugubriousness

August 26, 2009 Full Review Source: CinePassion

Shyamalan sve lo%u0161ije reagira na gubitak statusa holivudskog bo%u017Eanstva

July 15, 2009 Full Review Source: | Comments (3)

Seeing The Happening is like going on an outing with an earnest person, who happens to be a drunk. Every time it starts to make sense, it slurs its speech and starts dropping things -- such as coherence and credibility.

February 1, 2009 Full Review Source: Fayetteville Free Weekly | Comments (4)
Fayetteville Free Weekly

More than anything, what bothers me about it is a sense of cheapness that ... centrally comes from a concept mainly built for shock value.

November 14, 2008 Full Review Source: Window to the Movies
Window to the Movies

Undoubtedly M. Night Shyamalan's weakest thriller to date...

November 6, 2008 Full Review Source: Reel Film Reviews | Comments (13)
Reel Film Reviews

While not as laughable as the narcissistic Lady in the Water ,it fails just as miserably as narrative and even more miserably with its flat characters and tone deaf dialogue.

October 12, 2008 Full Review Source:

It's a great idea. A silent, unknown killing machine knocking people off while a science teacher tries to figure out why. But it just didn't work.

August 27, 2008 Full Review Source: The Scorecard Review
The Scorecard Review

Shyamalan's latest is an improvement, but a full-fledged comeback ain't happening.

August 8, 2008 Full Review Source: IGN Movies
IGN Movies

Shyamalan is a master at a visual iconic moment - but the "filler" (you might have learned about it in English class by this name: "story") gets weaker and weaker every film.

July 17, 2008 Full Review Source: Cinerina | Comments (2)

The M. Knight brilliance is there in quick jolts of suspense and terror, but those moments are the exception in this otherwise flat little thriller.

July 11, 2008 Full Review Source: Atlantic City Weekly | Comments (7)
Atlantic City Weekly

Shyamalan's religious ideas are a lot like Bush's: Nearly theology free.

July 10, 2008 Full Review Source: Film Snobs | Comments (4)
Film Snobs

M. Night Shyamalan offers up low-intensity thrills that fail to match the shivery shudders of his best work (THE SIXTH SENSE, SIGNS). His patented approach - mixing domestic drama with horror - plays out on a much larger canvas.

July 4, 2008 Full Review Source: Cinefantastique

It is the first film of his career that feels incompetent and utterly gratuitous at times.

July 3, 2008 Full Review Source: Movie City News
Movie City News

Shyamalan creates another urban myth with this slow burning thriller. But it never quite comes to life, due to stiff directing and acting

July 2, 2008 Full Review Source: Shadows on the Wall | Comments (3)
Shadows on the Wall

Usually Shyamalan can hide his limitations as a screenwriter behind his skill as a director. Here, that skill fails him as well, and the whole movie falls apart.

July 1, 2008 Full Review Source: The Cinema Source

Un nuevo fiasco de M. Night Shyamalan, que sigue siendo un director con ideas interesantes (tanto argumentales como visuales) pero que necesita urgentemente la ayuda de un buen guionista.

June 28, 2008 Full Review Source: Uruguay Total | Comments (2)
Uruguay Total

Holy Mother of God...this is awful.

June 23, 2008 Full Review Source: Reno News and Review | Comments (29)
Reno News and Review

Audience Reviews for The Happening

Such a good premise to build off of, but it fails horribly in terms of acting and writing. The movie caused me to laugh a lot more then I wanted to. This was not a thriller. This was trash.
August 7, 2013
Nikhil N.
Nikhil Nandu

Super Reviewer

Almost everything is so godawful about "The Happening" that it's practically impossible to pinpoint just one thing to critique about it. M. Night Shyamalan, who many thought had hit rock bottom with "Lady in the Water" actually delivers a film even worse than that.

An inexplicable natural disaster is causing people to commit suicide and that sets in motion a tale of survival that has the potential to be quite thrilling. Instead Shyamalan struggles to build a fully realized film out of this one idea. What ultimately kills the film for good is the ultimate explanation, which is one of the most absurd in a major motion picture.

Poorly conceived "The Happening" is potential gone bad. Really bad.
December 30, 2012
The Gandiman
Tony Gandía

Super Reviewer

I have mixed feelings with this one. Amid all the bad reviews, I found myself intrigued by the premise and the tension was nail-biting and kept me on-edge throughout the whole movie (I kid you not... the whole blowing trees and tension music drove me crazy at times). However, I understand why some might not feel as on-edge as me, as I realized that there was not much happening in "The Happening".
July 19, 2012

Super Reviewer

    1. Elliot Moore: Why won't somebody give me a goddamn second?
    – Submitted by Augusta M (24 months ago)
    1. Alma Moore: We ate tiramisu together. That was it. I told you that would be it.
    – Submitted by Henri L (2 years ago)
    1. Principal: There appears to be an event occurring.
    – Submitted by Seth S (2 years ago)
    1. Alma Moore: It makes you kill yourself. Just when you thought there couldn't be any more evil that can be invented.
    – Submitted by Rocky F (2 years ago)
    1. Elliot Moore: I'm talking to a plastic plant.
    – Submitted by Tony P (2 years ago)
    1. Elliot Moore: What? No.
    – Submitted by Julian V (2 years ago)
View all quotes (12)

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