'The Happening' Critic Reviews

61%
MovieWeb:   56 reviews
17%
Rotten Tomatoes:   174 reviews
  • Lisa Schwarzbaum Entertainment Weekly (Top Critic)
    42
    The movie demonstrates a smart movie geek's obsession with the rhythms and gory details of horror storytelling, undermined by a pompous insistence on spiritual lessons of the tritest kind.
    Full Review » 6 years ago
  • Manohla Dargis New York Times (Top Critic)
    60
    The Happening is a divertingly goofy thriller with an animistic bent, moments of shivery and twitchy suspense and a solid lead performance from Mark Wahlberg.
    Full Review » 6 years ago
  • Claudia Puig USA Today (Top Critic)
    38
    Shyamalan tries to give the events a scientific underpinning. But his logic is spotty, so what are meant to be eerie moments are not convincing.
    Full Review » 6 years ago
  • Stephen Hunter Washington Post (Top Critic)
    The Happening stutter-steps its way in this direction and that to a disappointing ending.
    Full Review » 6 years ago
  • Ty Burr Boston Globe (Top Critic)
    25
    You feel like you're not watching the end of the world but the end of a career.
    Full Review » 6 years ago
  • Robert Wilonsky Village Voice (Top Critic)
    Effective nonsense, chilling nonsense, occasionally wrenching nonsense.
    Full Review » 6 years ago
  • Elizabeth Weitzman New York Daily News (Top Critic)
    40
    The final explanation, which comes as no surprise, is more preposterous than profound. If you want to see a scary movie about humans wreaking havoc on their planet, watch An Inconvenient Truth instead.
    Full Review » 6 years ago
  • Joe Morgenstern Wall Street Journal (Top Critic)
    Woeful clunker of a paranoid thriller.
    Full Review » 6 years ago
  • Chris Vognar Dallas Morning News (Top Critic)
    34
    Mr. Shyamalan is plagued by a bad case of Robin Williams Syndrome, characterized by a desire to inspire and change the world through mediocre entertainment a" in this case, accompanied by ample and frequently creative bloodshed.
    Full Review » 6 years ago
  • David Edelstein New York Magazine (Top 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!'
    Full Review » 6 years ago
  • Anthony Lane New Yorker (Top 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.
    Full Review » 6 years ago
  • Roger Ebert Chicago Sun-Times (Top Critic)
    75
    Shyamalan's approach is more effective than smash-and-grab plot-mongering. His use of the landscape is disturbingly effective. The performances by Wahlberg and Deschanel bring a quiet dignity to their characters.
    Full Review » 6 years ago
  • Michael Phillips Chicago Tribune (Top Critic)
    38
    After the insufferably dense mermaid mythology of Lady in the Water, Shyamalan clearly wanted to keep things simple. He whizzed straight past simple to simplistic.
    Full Review » 6 years ago
  • Andrea Gronvall Chicago Reader (Top Critic)
    Wahlberg turns in one of his worst performances ever, but then he's saddled with preposterous scenes (like one where he tries to placate a ficus) and such lame lines as "Could this really be happening?" Funny, I was wondering the same thing myself.
    Full Review » 6 years ago
  • Carrie Rickey Philadelphia Inquirer (Top Critic)
    50
    As for The Happening, his throwback horror flick that plays like The Birds meets The Blob, it's beyond good and evil. It's dumbfounding.
    Full Review » 6 years ago
  • Colin Covert Minneapolis Star Tribune (Top Critic)
    The attention paid to [Wahlberg and Deschanel's] piddling relationship woes vs. the entire fate of humanity is absurd. We never feel persuaded that they have a bond, much less invested in seeing them patch it up.
    Full Review » 6 years ago
  • Tom Long Detroit News (Top Critic)
    17
    It's downright stupid.
    Full Review » 6 years ago
  • Bill Goodykoontz Arizona Republic (Top Critic)
    50
    Instead of shocks, we get moments of tension, suspense and violence between stretches of running scared. Nothing wrong with that, except that the stretches are awfully long in places. And in the end, it all comes to not much.
    Full Review » 6 years ago
  • Rex Reed New York Observer (Top Critic)
    For a movie with the potential for so much global-warming electricity, it's disappointingly low on voltage.
    Full Review » 6 years ago
  • Justin Chang Variety (Top Critic)
    A patchy, uninspired eco-thriller whose R rating (a first for Shyamalan) looks more like a B.O. hindrance than an artistic boon.
    Full Review » 6 years ago
  • Kyle Smith New York Post (Top Critic)
    38
    No one will watch any of Shyamalan's recent films twice. A movie that features Wahlberg suggesting everyone try to outrun the wind can barely be watched once.
    Full Review » 6 years ago
  • Roger Moore Orlando Sentinel (Top Critic)
    50
    The plot is absurdly preachy and illogical, and the dialogue uneven, with stinging lines followed by stinkers.
    Full Review » 6 years ago
  • Philip Marchand Toronto Star (Top Critic)
    50
    Shyamalan seems to have lost his sense of the fine line between the disturbingly grotesque and the outright ridiculous. The film even seems to be a parody of the scientific method.
    Full Review » 6 years ago
  • Rick Groen Globe and Mail (Top Critic)
    25
    No mere actor could possibly escape the toxic dialogue oozing from M. Night's pen -- that's merciless.
    Full Review » 6 years ago
  • Mary Elizabeth Williams Salon.com (Top Critic)
    Shyamalan's such an eager recycler, grinding out the same ideas and images again and again. The man who showed such promise less than a decade ago has been leaving a diminishing creative footprint ever since.
    Full Review » 6 years ago