May Horror Flowers, Part 4 – The Happening

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In M. Night Shyamalan’s 2008 film The Happening, it’s not just one plant (Like the Audrey II) or even one kind of plant (like the Triffids) – no, it’s all of them.
Photo Credit: 20th Century Fox


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It’s difficult to find a horror fan who doesn’t have an opinion about director M. Night Shyamalan. Pretty much everyone agrees that The Sixth Sense and Unbreakable were his best films. After that, however, the fights break out. Was The Village a masterful comment about urban decay or a schlock gimmick that doesn’t hold up on repeat viewings? Was Signs worthwhile for its character studies and brilliant performances, or did the War-of-the-Worlds ending with cheap aliens ruin it?

Then there is The Happening, M. Night’s experiment in environmental horror. Let’s be kind and say it’s not at the top of anyone’s Top Ten list. (Collider even quotes star Mark Wahlberg as saying, “It was a bad movie.”) But it is a movie about killer plants, so here goes.

The film opens in Central Park on a beautiful summer day. Suddenly, without warning, the people in the park suddenly begin killing themselves. Some impale themselves. Police officers shoot themselves. Construction workers hurl themselves off 30-story buildings. And it’s all the fault of the plants, which give off a toxic gas which causes people to become suicidal. The explanation? The entire planet has become vengeful and has turned against the human population. The answer? He doesn’t provide one (which is what makes the story so unsatisfying).

It’s a morality tale, one M. Night seems truly concerned about – so concerned that he has been quoted as saying the quintessential horror film for our time might turn out to be a documentary: An Inconvenient Truth. You can watch the trailer by clicking the picture below.


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If your video library is collected on discs, you’ll want to order The Happening on DVD or Blu-ray from Note: This is the US Blu-ray. It is incorrectly page-linked to the Australian DVD. The US DVD is located HERE. – SEM

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If your video library is collected in digital form on a hard drive, you’ll want to buy the digital download of The Happening from Amazon Video. Or, if you prefer, you can watch it before you buy (terms apply). Sorry, this title is not available to watch free on Amazon Prime Video. – SEM

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