The Happening

Color this movie baby shit green.

It’s a green morality tale told by a Hollywood baby signifying shit all.

Spoiler alert.

Plot: People start committing suicide, en masse. There’s lots of cool gruesome footage of people offing themselves with knitting needles, bungee jumping off roofs without bungee cords, passing a cop’s gun around like a joint at a Grateful Dead concert, setting the lawn tractor to go in circles and then lying down in front of it. 

Pissed off plants have had it up to here and have decided to defend themselves against the human race by developing a sophisticated neurotoxin that freezes crowds in their tracks and then makes them start artistically offing themselves. M. Night Shamalamadingdong appropriates the hippie term for a spontaneous artistic gathering as title for his movie to frame his barely competent footage of people turning in circles and murdering themselves instead of painting their faces. It’s Deathstock, not Woodstock. Yeah, we get it, douchebag.

Serious spoiler alert–I’m about to tell you how the movie ends.

The only defense against the plants is to break up into small groups of no more than 5. For some reason, plants give a pass to less than a sixpack of humans. The plant tantrum lasts 24 hours or so, and is ( I have to confess I was not paying close attention by the end, so I might have missed something) stopped by the plants going “Awwww…” because a desperate blended family braves the plants to run out into the neurotoxin and die together rather than die separated.

Mark Wahlberg is trapped in a house and his pre-plant-amok-time feckless wife (she grows some feck during the movie, I liked that part) and pre-teen child are in a shed. Miraculously, they have a speaking tube between shed and house that allows them to talk like they’re in the same room. Why? Because Betty Buckley plays a great crazy lady (I liked that part too).

The plants are outside, toxining away. Wahlberg doesn’t want to die apart from wifey and kiddie, so the steps slowly out on the porch, rather than running like hell holding his breath, and they all do a slo-mo reunion, thus resulting in a collective vegetative “Awwwwww…..

Me, I’m thinking, yeah, let’s run out into the toxin and get infected and off ourselves in ghastly ways right in front of each other, that’s a good idea.

The conceit of this movie, like that of its maker, is the power of Hollywood moral exceptionalism. Mother Nature hates everyone except bottled-water, Prius-driving enlightened people in California who make shitty movies about how the rest of us deserve to die.

At least it ended, in true cheesy horror movie fashion with the monsters coming back. And they’re after the French this time. A happy ending as frogs and mimes start offing themselves in front of the Arc de Triomphe.


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