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The Happening (DVD)

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Genre: Science Fiction & Fantasy - Fantasy / Director: M. Night Shyamalan / Actors: Mark Wahlberg, Zooey Deschanel, John Leguizamo, Ashlyn Sanchez, M. Night Shyamalan ... / Features of the DVD: PAL

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      24.01.2013 22:31
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      An OK film. Not paticularly exciting or overly interesting though.

      I love a good disaster film and the description for this movie sounded ideal for my usual DVD night in. Horror's are my favourite genre closely followed by comedies. I remember seeing the adverts for this film on television a while back when it was in the cinema but I never got round to watching it. I ended up watching it a few months back when my daughter bought it on DVD.

      The film centres around school science teacher Elliot Moore (Mark Wahlberg) and his wife Alma played by Zooey Deschanel. They're your average 9-5 working couple until disaster strikes, people allover the world in major cities randomly start killing themselves. It isn't a large scale suicide pact or a coincidence but is caused by a neuro-toxin from the surroundings. People are dying in large numbers rapidly allover the world so Elliot and Alma need to get out of the city and try to figure out why people are dying and how to avoid it, but how do you outrun what you cannot see?

      I was mildy disappointed by the film. It is a film that I enjoyed and have watched since but I think they could have done more with the storyline. You don't see a great deal of deaths which may sound incredibly morbid of me, but when people everywhere are committing suicide, you expect to see a little more of it and a little more chaos. I didn't think the film really elaborated on the toxin, how it's spread and how to avoid it, the main characters just seem to catch lucky but nobody else really manages to.

      I like the cast of the film quite a lot, I'd never seen Zooey Deschanel in anything else and found her enjoyable to watch. She doesn't do anything major in the film despite being a main character she just runs around and acts scared for about 70 minutes but she isn't irritating or a bad actress so I can't complain. I'm not a fan of Mark Wahlberg but he was OK in this film, I definitely prefer him playing a serious role as he irritated the life out of me in Ted, being funny just does not suit him. I haven't mentioned the little girl in the film as I don't want to give too much plot away but she's played by Ashlyn Sanchez who's a little cutie and I thought she did some of the best acting in the film! The acting overall isn't bad and they show the expected fear and urgency that you'd generally see when there's a mass suicide bug going round.

      With a decent cast and quite a good storyline, you'd expect this to be a brilliant film but it was a bit bland to be honest. There's no real excitement or twists, just a group of people running away from an invisible killer that they don't understand. I found faults with the plot which I can't say as I'll give things away, but when you're sitting there doubting the film you're watching, it makes it seem much less plausable and therefore considerably less enjoyable which is a shame.

      I would recommend watching this on tele if nothing else is on or you've got spare time on your hands as it's not a really bad film, but there are much, much better films of a similar genre available. This just lacks excitement and is rather anti-climatic. If you do want to buy it though, you can find it on Ebay for around £2.50 which I'd say is a reasonable price for it.

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        23.01.2013 15:06
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        There's really not much Happening here!

        The review title really makes this film sound far more interesting than it really is, just a heads up!

        My friend had this on DVD and despite having watched it a few times before, he was up for watching it again last week as I hadn't seen it. He said it's 'okay I guess', but then again he's never been great at reviewing (not that I'm much better mind you!). I would say he understated how lacklustre this film is, but at the least it did provide us with lots of exercise as we laughed our way through it!

        This was written and directed by M. Night Shyamalan, a guy with a lot of experience under his belt with work including Signs, The Sixth Sense and The Last Airbender. You come to expect a certain something with Shyamalan films, a certain feel to them, and The Happening stays within this range, falling in to the sci-fi thriller genre. We're introduced to Elliot Moore, a high school science teacher leading a rather ordinary life with his wife Alma. Their world gets turned upside down, excuse the cliché, when nature pulls something rather strange out of a hat. Central Park gets hit by a bizarre phenomenon when people start to die, but rather than just hitting the ground for no reason, people are actually killing themselves. This mass suicide is believed to perhaps be part of some horrendous bio terrorist attacked, and it's later thought it could be an airborne neurotoxin. How it spreads and who is effected is still up for debate.

        Elliot and Alma opt to get out of dodge and take a train trip with Julian, a fellow teacher friend, and his daughter Jess. Unfortunately the train loses signal, stops and passengers are left stranded. Julian goes off to find his wife, leaving his daughter in his friend's capable hands. But they're up against potentially killing themselves, so how well they can take care of Jess is uncertain. As the pandemic continues, we see the main characters, now Elliot, Alma and Jess, come in to contact with other survivors trying to outrun the mysterious suicide-inducing chemicals and find shelter. The question is, can they outrun what they can't see?

        Okay, so the premise is quite different and it does set The Happening apart from other thrillers. Bio chemical terrorist attacks have the potential to create a fear-inducing premise, and the fact that it causes suicide is quite novel. However, the way the film goes about showing this is what I had a problem with. Unfortunately, this film just didn't do it for me. I don't mind some sci-fi goodness every now and again as long as it's not too ridiculous or has some redeeming feature, but The Happening didn't seem to have the latter. I found the acting irritating at times, the scenes bland, the premise lacklustre.

        The cast included Mark Wahlberg (Elliot), Zooey Deschanel (Alma), Ashlyn Sanchez (Jess) and John Leguizamo (aka Tybalt Capulet from Romeo & Juliet, playing Julian) amongst others. Normally I quite like Wahlberg and it was interesting to see him in a more serious film that his usual comedies. He played his role well, all things considered. Deschanel I wasn't fussed by; she was the rather bland add-on to Elliot, not quite the oh-so-quirky-Zooey she plays in other things, so whilst she wasn't as annoying as I had expected she didn't really add much to the film.

        The cast, however, weren't helped by the rather bland script and lacklustre story. Aside from the basic tenants of the premise, the story itself was dry and nothing too exciting happened after the main plot is revealed. I found it to be pretty stupid for the most part, what with people running away from nothing and there not really being any credible explanation that wasn't full of holes. Quite literally. When hiding from an airborne neurotoxin, people are apparently okay somewhere that's not air tight. Not quite convincing enough for me. It also seemed that it was the wind that was signalling the trio that suicide was coming; grass moving in the wind was like the bell for incoming death. I found it funny, and I did laugh out loud for quite a lot of the film due to its ridiculousness.

        Whilst the film had a fairly good quality feel to it, in part because of the cast, director and scenes. The atmosphere was generally quite dark and slow in the sense that I could see it was trying to create tension and mystery. Unfortunately, I found the stupid premise and boring scripting to undermine the attempt at moody atmosphere. There were a few moments that stuck in my head, such as one part in a field where the killer breeze was making the grass sway, but these weren't highly memorably or for the right reasons.

        All in all this isn't one I'd recommend unless, of course, you watch it with someone else who is happy to laugh along at the ridiculousness as it unfolds.

        DVD released 2008, running time 91 minutes, rated Certificate 15
        Selling on Amazon for £2.90

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          25.04.2012 21:07
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          Awful film, wouldn't recommend unless it's to see everything that shouldn't happen in a screenplay.

          Synopsis -
          "Beginning in Central Park NYC, people are effected what is first believed to be a neurotoxine causing people to behave irrational, even to the point of suicide. But then the survivors start to uncover signs that it's not terrorists, but nature itself spreading this virus: yes, it's nature against men. And nature is winning."

          91 min
          Director: M. Night Shyamalan
          Writer: M. Night Shyamalan
          Stars: Mark Wahlberg, Zooey Deschanel and John Leguizamo
          Certificate: 15
          Sci-Fi / Thriller
          20th Century Fox
          Estimated Budget: $48,000,000


          My thoughts:
          I have to agree with the critics when they give it a lot of negative feedback. The film is terrible, if it wasn't for the fact it was written by M Night Shyamalan I don't think it would ever have been made. One critic even said.. "The Happening makes you wonder whether Mr. Shyamalan's own switch may have been flipped. How else to explain his film's befuddling infelicities, insistent banalities, shambling pace and pervasive ineptitude? "- Wall Street Journal, 2008

          The story could be better, but it is a unique idea and I actually believe that had it been written and directed properly, it could have been a great concept. M Night Shyamalan wouldn't want to give us a shock by releasing a good film though, would he..?

          In my opinion, the films makes for a good watch purely for a laugh at Mark Whalberg's close up shots - very over dramatic and awfully written dialogue = so funny. Zooey Deschanel's character is also rather strange, it's like the actors just don't fit into the film and can't play the parts, but both of these are excellent actors, if you've seen them in anything other than this you will know what I mean.
          If you're expecting this to be remotely scary or make you jump, look elsewhere, because this isn't the film for you.

          If you're thinking of becoming a screenwriter, you should give this a watch and take notes, because it's everything you should never do.

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          09.08.2011 09:17
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          All across America, people begin to die...the cause, their own hand!

          M.Night.Shyamalan is a director with a bit of a reputation. After a good start to his films with Bruce Willis starring in the runaway success that was The Sixth Sense, only to return as the one of the two redeeming things in follow-up movie, Unbreakable alongside Samuel.L.Jackson, in recent years his following has kind of waned. Signs starring Mel Gibson earned mixed reviews, supposed "chiller" The Village suffered from an overly poor ending and an over-extrapolated plot and Lady In The Water and this film, The Happening, were largely regarded by many as his last chance to prove Sixth Sense wasn't just a fluke. Long accused of stretching his films out until the final familiar end-scene plot twist on which he seems to rely, The Happening saw Shyamalan changing studios and casting Mark Wahlberg and John Leguziamo as his leads at a time when Wahlberg looked to be a highly bankable lead....

          Wahlberg is a science teacher at college and is discussing where all the bees have disappeared to with his class when he first hears the reports. A toxin of some kind has been let loose in Central Park causing the inhabitants of New York to spontaneously begin attempting suicide. Some leap from buildings, some share a gun that a Police Officer drops after despatching himself, others throw themselves in front of cars.....and as tgime progresses, this event appears to spread to other large stretches of population elsewhere across the County. Wahlberg and Math Professor, Leguziamo, attempt to flee but continually find their escape routes cut off as the event begins occurring all around them in larger and larger numbers. There are several theories ranging from a terrorist attack to some kind of bizarre natural phenomenen but it soon becomes apparent that there really isn't safety in numbers any more.....

          It is rather ironic that this is called The Happening because, after the first half hour, very little happens! Speculation is rife about the cause of the Event and Shyamalan is obviously trying to convey some kind of enviromental message but unfortunately, this is swiftly lost; bogged down in the sheer mundaneness of this all.

          I'd be lying if I said I hadn't enjoyed this but the ending is an obvious cop-out and it is the sdort of film that you will only need to see once, as was The Sixth Sense in all honestly because once you know the big reveal, there is little need to rewatch! By limiting himself to single views, and by casting all his catch in one net as it were, Shyamalan has shot himself in the foot. It is likely he will be remembered in film circles for some time to come but probably for many of the wrong reasons. He does feel a bit like a one-trick pony in his movies and should learn that the big twist at the end only works if the twist is a good one and unpredictable by the audience. Herre, we get a big inkling what is going on very early on and are never really surprised by much that happens save when Wahlberg finds his way to an almost-deserted farmhouse. Even this short moment of "oh" is barely short-lived!

          Overall, this is not an awful film, it is just a bit of a nothing film. It deserves a watch for its startling opening and a bit where Leguziamo arrives in Princeton searching for his lost wife is worth seeing but other than that, everything else is a bit bland. Shyamalan really needs to up his game if he ever wants to bat with the big boys. This chance to prove himself then, kind of falls a bit flat!

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            04.04.2011 14:44
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            Everyone is killing themselves but what is causing it?

            FILM ONLY REVIEW

            Central Park suddenly gets a strange eerie wind blowing through it and people start to become disorientated and confused and then end up killing themselves. The news starts hearing about it and soon an emergency is called and people start fleeing the city. The initial speculation is a terrorist attack, but when the strange happenings start to move all over the North East of America it becomes apparent that this is not the case.

            Scientist and teacher Elliot Moore decides that he and wife must flee. They decided to go tot eh cottage in country belonging to friend Julian. They meet at the train station and are soon on their way to the cottage. Unfortunately the air born virus has travelled and the train is forced to stop leaving all the passenger stranded. Julian ahs not heard from his wife and so decides that he must go in search of her, leaving his daughter, Jess, in the hands of Elliot and wife Alma. They go in search of safety but it soon becomes apparent that the virus is a lot closer than they thought.

            Can Elliot, Alma and Jess find safety and just what is causing the population to kill themselves?

            I thought this film sounded very good when reading about it in my TV guide so both me and hubby decided it was worth a watch. We did enjoy it but felt that there was so much missing from it to make it a top class film. The story was good and although it was a type of disaster film it was a different take on one and it worked very well. The problem which we had was the fact that nothing really got explained to us. We had some ideas thrown around in the film and some indications as to what could be happening but none of them were told as final and so we were both left with quite a few unanswered questions at the end of the film.

            The acting from all involved was quite good. The role of Elliot was played by Mark Wahlberg and he came across as a strong dependable character who was quite knowledgeable. I liked how he was strong and took people under his wing. There was a good little connection with him and wife Alma but I felt a lot was being held back. Alma was played by Zooey Deschanel and she was very good. I liked her free spirit type of attitude and felt she really grew as the film moved on. She showed a very caring side and maternal nature when taking care of Jess and I felt she took to this aspect of her character very well. There were a few times when I felt she could have put more emotion it o her lines but overall she played a good part.

            We had some good support characters in the film and they were a good mix of people. Some of the actors included, John Leguizamo, Ashlyn Sanchez, and Betty Buckley. I liked the mix and felt they did bring a little depth to the story.

            The film was set at the start in Central Park but we did move very quickly to the countryside. I enjoyed the setting and felt there was some very good and pleasant scenery shown to us. I did enjoy the setting and felt this would not have worked as well if we would have stayed in the big cities. The costumes were also good and as this was a modern film not much effort was needed for them.

            There were some good parts to the film which required the use of special effects and CGI and for me it was all of a good high standard and some of the scenes with the suicides were actually had to watch. I felt some of the parts were not necessary and just made the film uncomfortable to watch. I think a lot could have been left to the imagination. I felt the music was good and fitting for the film, it helped give and eerie feel to the story and I felt it was well created and enjoyable to listen to.

            I am only reviewing the film so there are no bonus features to mention. The running time of the film is 91 minutes and the rate is a 15. I felt the running time was good with the story moving at a steady pace from start to finish and I agree with the rate. There were some gruesome parts in the film with the suicides and due to the subject of the story this is not suitable for the younger audience.

            I would have loved to have been able to give this film a higher rate but as it stands it gets 3 stars. The story was good as it had lots of potential and I felt he actors could have given slight more emotions and feelings to their lines. The ending was disappointing as both me and hubby were left with lots of unanswered questions. Try to catch this if it comes on the TV again but I would not recommend wasting money to buy the DVD.

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              20.03.2011 21:08
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              Same old story, nothing new

              The Happening
              (Film Only Review)


              With nothing else on the television on a Saturday night, I came across 'The Happening', a film in which I had heard about though had never seen. I have enjoyed many end of the world films in my time, and thought that, although this one did not seem overly new in terms of storyline, it did seem more interesting than anything else on the television at the time, so I figured that it was worth a shot.


              ******************
              IT'S HAPPENING
              ******************

              "We've Sensed It. We've Seen The Signs. Now... It's Happening."

              There are so many different 'end-of-the-world' storylines seen in films these days, and, although each have a different story, it is hard pressed now for a film such as this to bring out something unique. Unfortunately, 'The Happening' is one of these films.

              Elliot Moore, a high school science teacher, is fixated upon the mysterious disappearance of the bees, educating his class about the mystery of nature after an article is published in the New York Times. This path of nature doing something inexplicable is something which continues throughout the whole story, with scientists theories being looked at and tested even more so when a seemingly natural catastrophe emerges on the planet. At first, people point their fingers at terroists, though it soon becomes apparent that this may not be the whole case, and perhaps nature has much more of a hand to play in the deaths of many.

              The crisis begins in Central Park, a place well known to everyone, even those of us who have never been there. All of a sudden, within seconds of the film starting, everyone seems to freeze and the feel and behaviour of everyone suddenly becomes deadly as one by one they begin committing suicide. At first we do not really see anything and for the first fifteen minutes of the film, I felt a little lost as there were no explanations, nor were any characters really introduced to us. It takes the film quite a while to actually bring in the characters and move the storyline forward. The beginning is not exactly a slow start as there is plenty happening and the scene is somewhat being set, though I feel that it needed to bring something in earlier to which the audience could grip onto and relate to such as the characters and their backgrounds.

              After a while, we are introduced to a few of the main characters, though no real background information is offered forward to us apart from the fact that Elliot is a teacher and Alma is his wife. We do learn a little later on, a few more sparse details about their relationship, though no background information which would have been helpful in being able to empathise with them more, and these are the two main characters! There are a few other characters which do appear in the film for certain lengths of time, though we learn even less about these, and even if we did learn more, most of the characters end up vanishing or dying soon after anyway, with a feeling of never really knowing them. A few times, I felt as though the characters were changed half way through the script, with their personalities never really being concreted. This, again, aided in the failure to empathise with them or the situations.

              The basic storyline is the same as many other end-of-the-world films, following a group of people as they struggle to survive the catastrophe. Elliot and Alma end up running alongside a young girl, Jess, who is the daughter of a friend, and the three of them become the main focus. This is not as clear as in other films, though, through lack of characterisation and background and a haphazard way of introducing them all. I do not feel as though I connected with any of them for any real length of time. Although the acting was above average, I do not feel that the characters were explored fully which was a real shame. You may think that me focusing upon the characters to this extent is perhaps reading too much into it and missing what is really important, though in my opinion, the characters within this film, or lack of, does become of highest importance as it is more for them that we focus upon opposed to the actual storyline. Yes, the story continues in the background, though the film is highly character orientated and because of this, I feel that the characters really needed more substance.

              Back to the storyline itself. As already mentioned, it is pretty much a run of the mill story with the slight natural disaster difference in the way that it focuses upon theories of nature more so than natural disasters which we know so much about. Unfortunately, the story acts like a theory in itself. I do not feel that the storyline is ever fully explained, and it has the feel that it was simply dumped into the script without much thought. Many films offer a storyline in which leaves a lot to our imaginations, though this one does not offer much to allow our minds to come to our own conclusion. Although a simple story and easy to follow in many ways, the reasoning behind what is happening is lost completely. Even more ironic is the news reports on the film even admit to this! This type of open ended storyline certainly works in many films, though it simply seems to fail here. Throughout the whole film, we do come up with our own theories though we are never proven to be right or wrong. It is as though the film makers did not even have an idea of what was happening.

              With all the above said, though, I do not want to paint a completely terrible picture of this film because it certainly was not a complete failure which may be surprising considering the lack of background, characterisations and solid story. One of the great things about this film was that the acting was not poor in the slightest. There were some weak links, though in the main it was the actors which kept the story above water. I found myself many a time, transfixed with anticipation and excited at the thought of what was to come, and so these moments I would class as above average moments, though unfortunately I did not feel this way for long as my anticipation never came to that climax I was expecting. (More about this below)

              The flow of the story was slightly slower than I am used to in a film such as this, though in some parts it did manage to succeed. I would not say that the flow was the down point to the film, though it certainly did not help. There were no real special effects, either, though this worked perfectly with the idea of the story. A little wind through the trees was the highlight of the effects, and even the effects of the people dying were hidden.

              Speaking of the people dying, in many ways, this was possibly one of the best things about the film. I am not one for a huge array of blood and gore, and this one kept it down to a minimum. There were some inventive ways that people committed suicide, though a lot of these were left to the imagination. You knew what the person was going to do, yet the camera went onto another shot before the blood and gore reached your eyes. At one point there was a scene which involved a farm vehicle which showed it running someone over. Within this scene, you saw the whole thing though the blood unfortunately looked too fake and the vehicle itself appeared too light. It was seen from a distance, though, so it did not look extremely bad which is possibly the reason why many scenes like this were off of the camera as it really did not give off any emotion. One thing to be aware of, amid the actual suicides going on in the film which in itself is something to be aware of, is that a number of people are seen hanging from trees. I personally found this part the most emotional as, alongside the silence and stillness, became quite powerful. Unfortunately, though, due to the lack of emotion brought out in the rest of the film, the emotion here was not enough to actually bring any tears, and I am one of those people who do seem to end up crying at sad films!

              The Happening is rated R for violent and disturbing images. There are certainly a lot of disturbing images as the whole film works upon the idea of mass suicide. Although not an overabundance of blood and gore, there are numerous scenes like the farm vehicle scene mentioned above which do show certain things in more graphic detail. I had to check certain scenes online after watching on the television as I realised many of these graphical scenes were cut on the television, even though they were after the 9.00pm watershed. Although these graphical scenes are not constant throughout the film, when they do appear, they can be quite disturbing. There is some mild language used within the film, some of which are unsuitable for the younger audience, though due to the nature of the film I would not recommend a younger audience to watch this anyway! In the IMDB search, I read that one aspect may frighten viewers and this involves a doll lying on the bed. Many would laugh at this warning, as did I to begin with, though it is what the doll represents and the way that it looks which can be a little unnerving.

              The ending is always a very important factor in a film in my opinion, as if the film is great yet the ending is a let-down, I always feel robbed and do not feel that it was worth my time watching it. Although there was a lot to complain about within this film, it certainly was not the worst film I had seen and there were some good moments within the storyline. As already mentioned, I was full of anticipation at many parts, though as the film started drawing to a close, I realised that the climactic ending that I was expecting, was not going to happen. As slow as the beginning was, the ending was even slower. Everything just suddenly stopped without any explanation or real conclusion. The final scene gave the idea of a continuation of the 'virus' around the rest of the world, though this was a poor conclusion really. I had expected a more action packed ending, an explanation, or some theories explained, yet there was only numbness in the ending. Very disappointing!

              It began...It ended!


              *******************
              INFORMATION
              *******************

              This film came out in and was both directed and written by M. Night Shyamalan who has directed and written a number of really great films which usually press against the expectations of the audience. Such films of his include The Sixth Sense and Unbreakable. In my opinion, though, The Happening was not the only film of his which failed to meet expectation. Another includes 'The Village' which I found even more numbing than this film. In the main, though, I had expected much more from this director/writer than what came from this film.
              The cast list is not a huge one by any means, and many parts are extremely small. This includes both extras who appear in the mass suicide scenes as well as actors who play parts which run alongside the main characters for a short while, though we never really know much about.

              The main cast list includes;

              Mark Wahlberg ... Elliot Moore
              Zooey Deschanel ... Alma Moore
              Ashlyn Sanchez ... Jess
              John Leguizamo ... Julian
              Betty Buckley ... Mrs. Jones
              Spencer Breslin ... Josh
              Robert Bailey Jr. ... Jared

              Wahlberg heads this small cast really well; even with the lack of background he is allowed. He is one of only two characters which show a small deal of emotion in the right places, and if not for the lack of emotion in the storyline, I could have seen his character shining. His relationship with other characters is minimal, and I felt that these could certainly have been explored to a much higher degree, though nearer the end of the film, Wahlberg began to prove that he did have it in him to show emotion between characters and started to enhance the viewing with regards to the characters and their situations.

              Deschanel certainly appeared above average and aided Wahlberg in heading this cast, though for the most part, I did not feel that she was as strong an actor in this film as her co-star. There were times in which her ability shone through, though, with some great emotional scenes played out perfectly with regards to her acting. I do not think that her character was built up enough for her to explore fully, and if this was the case then perhaps her acting skills was not truly in question.

              I always dislike finding negatives about younger actors, though there are some fantastic younger actors out there who need to be given credit for their performances. Whilst Sanchez is not terrible, I feel that she lacks in experience and therefore has a tendency to overact in certain situations. One of these situations included numerous emotional scenes in which she was expected to cry. I found these parts not only overacted but also very static as if the actor did not know where she was meant to go. Wahlberg and Deschanel seemed to guide her into position many a time which was a little off-putting.

              Leguizamo played perhaps one of the most believable parts in the film, though unfortunately his part was not as long as I had hoped it would be. The characters situation was a difficult one, and although played to high strengths, there was still a little something missing, perhaps in the emotion aspect. A small negative factor, though, for a character well played.

              Buckley had an extremely short part to play, but oh how she sent shivers down my spine. Even without the knowledge of the main storyline, this character was an unusual one and Buckley played it with a certain edge to it which sent a trickle of fear inside my skin. A very well played part for such an unexplored character.
              Both Breslin and Bailey Jr. had minimal parts to play though played them at an above average capability. There were times in which I felt that the actors were not sure of the direction their characterisations were meant to go, though as soon as this started to happen, the characters were no more. Perhaps the director foresaw their skills heading in a downwards spiral at that point!

              As mentioned, there were a whole host of extras which were put on screen simply for the mass suicide scenes and none were memorable at all, nor were they meant to be memorable. Some parts were a little more than extras with a few lines to say, though again, they were not parts I can even remember.
              The film was such a character based film, and although the main actors played their parts in the main above average, none were really award winning performances and this could be partly to do with the lack of character exploration.


              **********************
              FINAL WORDS
              **********************

              Although there were some good moments, and I use the word 'good' on purpose as these moments were not spectacular in any way whatsoever, in the main the story was bland. Yes, end-of-the-world storylines are well used these days, though some films really do come up with some original aspects. This film tried, yet in my opinion, failed. The main aspect which annoyed me was the lack of explination and the poor way this was portrayed. Open ended films do work as long as loose ends are tied up to a degree. This film had so many loose ends that it became as though the writer did not even know where he was going with it.

              A disappointing film from a usually great director/writer.

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                29.09.2010 20:59
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                Think old school Stephen King and you just might enjoy this.

                I wanted to see this movie after seeing the trailer for it but after it recieved a critical mauling in the press I decided against it and have only just caught up with on DVD. I have never quite understood why writer-director M Night Shyamalan recives such a terrible reception with movie critics when his films still do so well. Shyamalan wowed the world with 'Signs', 'Unbreakable' and 'The Sixth Sense' but since then has been under attack from many professional critics. Since I loved these earlier movies of Shyamalan I could not conceive the same director could ever produce anything under par. I had high expectations for this thriller.

                'The Happening' follows a group of people and specifically Mark Wahlberg's Eliot Moore and his wife Alma as they attempt to survive a catastrophic event which takes place on the East coast of America. This is no ordinary event though. As men and women perish in their thousands people are unsure whether the USA is under attack from terrorists, it's own government or something much more strange and sinister.

                There truth about the event is never really hidden from the audience which is a shame as I would have liked to have been kept guessing. There are some intriguing build-ups to the reveal which left me with a sense of uneasiness and fear though. This dissipated once the truth was out in the open though and then the threat behind the event seemed almost silly to me.

                Lead actor Mark Wahlberg does his admirable best but even his acting skills are put to the test by an unintentionally funny script and scenarios in various scenes. There are many moments that I laughed at although I think these scenes were supposed to be taken as deadly serious. Zoey Deschanel is an unconventional female lead and aside from her gorgeous face and piercing blue eyes she does not seem to fill the shoes of a leading lady. The geeky flaws of both lead characters Eliot and Alma are never fully realised and the two leads seem like two dimensional figures whose personal relationship and dialogue is unrealistic and stunted. Neither of them is particularly likeable.

                The rest of the cast is filled with rather ugly, oddball character actors who seem to have just stepped of the set of a 1980's Stephen King horror movie. Overacting is the word here and there are some very funny moments where these z-listers get to show off their student drama style screaming and hysterics. The staging is very old school but the style is not direct enough to make me believe Shyamalan was delibrately aiming for a comedy-horror feel.

                As far as horror and tension goes there are some great moments in the first part of the film. The gore is gruesome because it has a realistic touch to it. There are some exciting sections where certain chraracters are being affected by the event and guessing what kind of horror is going to happen next is sort of a fun game. The mass excercise in human survival makes interesting viewing and the fear of the approaching 'evil' makes me feel quite scared.

                I think this movie started quite well and made me feel invested until about half way through when I began to realise that the same scene was just repeating itself over and over. The end of the movie is also a little underwhelming and the emotional triggers I saw being teased onscreen just left me cold.

                This is the kind of movie I'd put on at Halloween to watch with friends and have a good laugh whilst also being able to indulge in the "Eugh! That's disgusting!" mode of thought. It's not clever enough for me to want to watch many times over or to become emotionally invested in either the story or the characters. The deeper meaning of the film, it's intellectual or social message, could have been presented in a much more meaningful way. As it is I think it's almost turned what is a serious issue into almost a laughing matter.

                The movie is available in the UK on DVD and is certificate 15. It's run time is 86 minutes and the disc includes scene selection and subtitles.

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                  21.08.2010 00:19
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                  A good film worth a watch!

                  This is another brilliant film written and directed by M.Night Shyamalan, who produced films such as the Village and Signs.
                  The Happening has an intresting front cover, Mark Wahlberg, Zooey Dreschanel are crouching down in the middle of a deserted street with paper being blow around them. The title is in straight simple lettering but its easy to see and read.

                  This film is an apocalyptic thriller which shows how an unstoppable and untraceable force threatens the very existence of the human race. Mark Wahlberg plays are hero, Elliot Moore, in this film and is on a mission to save his family, Zooey Deschanel, who plays his partner, from this menace. The problems come when you realise the threat can and does come from anywhere and out of no where. There is no way to tell when it will strike, and one of your only options is to run but where?
                  The film does very well in portraying what is "happening", without actually giving you a definitive answer.
                  Survivors band together as they attempt to outrun this terrible invisible killer. You will notice that people don't just die in this film. Its not quite as simple as breathing in poisonous gas and dyeing but instead people turn to suicide and in the masses too. What kind of plague gets humans to actually kill themselves without any complications? It's as though they don't even realise they are doing it. You see numerous ways in which people have died throughout the film and some scenes are quite graphic.
                  The film also does well in bringing home an almost reality, although it would never happen you can't help but feel like it might and what if....?

                  All of the cast play brilliant roles, being not only convincing but giving a performance which is very natural!
                  Watch this film to find out just what is "happening" to the world and if Elliot moore can survive and save his family. Worth the money to add this to your dvd collection!

                  This film is also quite hard to review whilst trying not to give away what happens in the film. So if you think I need to write more about what happens or how then let me know! I just don't want to spoil it!

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                  07.05.2010 07:53
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                  The Happening

                  The Happening

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                  General information
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                  Film duration: 90 minutes
                  Category: Drama / science fiction
                  Language: English
                  Country: United States
                  Director: M. Night Shyamalan

                  Actors:
                  Mark Wahlberg
                  Zooey Deschanel
                  John Lequizamo
                  Ashlyn Sanchez

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                  The story: The Happening
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                  In New York, Central Park people become disoriented and suddenly stop moving for a few seconds, until then commit suicide. A little bit further away construction workers suddenly jump off high buildings to their deaths. People first think that it's some kind of a biological terrorist attack. The film follows chemistry teacher Elliot Moore and his wife. Together with their good friend (Julian) and his daughter (Jess) they leave the city of Philadelphia by train to visit the grandmother of the friend to the countryside. Jess's mother is unfortunately running late and will take a later train. When they are in the train they hear that not only New York, but Philadelphia and Denver have been attacked. Soon they hear more and more reports of attacks and suddenly the train stops in a small town called Filbert. The train was stopped, because they have lost contact with the outside world? Then you see people with cell phones just to talking. Julian also had contact with his wife, but hasn't heard from her two hours ago and decides to go back to her. Because it is too dangerous for Jess, he leaves her behind with Elliot and Alma. As they sit in a cafeteria they hear on the news that the virus is spreading through the air and its's coming their way. There's an increasing doubt whether this is a terrorist attack. Whatever the cause is, all they want is to survive.

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                  Characters
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                  Elliot Moore.
                  Played by Mark Wahlberg. This is a chemistry teacher at a secondary school in Philadelphia. Unfortunately, the negative starts here regarding the film. The acting of Mark in this movie is not good. He sounds very forced and unnatural. There's just no intonation in his voice and he sounds very monotonous. For example when he calls the group together to tell something important, he sounds just very fake and without emotion. A shame really, because expected better from him.

                  Alma Moore.
                  Zooey plays the wife of Elliot, Alma. The problem here is that she plays without real emotions. She comes across boring, while she got enough interesting things going on with her character. She is unhappy in her marriage and she is always getting phonecalls from somebody called Joey. Her world is attacked, but still acts with little real emotion.

                  Jess.
                  I'm often not a fan of children in the film when they did not add value, and they are there just for dramatic effect the other people should at least save the child. That is the case in this film. Ashlyn plays Julian's daughter's friend Elliot. She does not really talk and watch the entire movie just pathetic. She is almost just dragged from one location to another like a doll. Quite typical American is that even Alma and Jess hardly interacts with each other, she suddenly tells her that she loves her very much. Where's that coming from? Again very unnatural.

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                  Extras
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                  There are some extras on the DVD.
                  I've really only seen a few:

                  The Hard Cut.
                  Approximately 10 minutes long piece that was cut from the film, because it would have been too much for the film. In this piece, you see a piece about the violent deaths of several children. It's not really bad that this didn't make the movie.

                  "I Hear You Whispering"
                  Interview with the actress, Mrs Betty Buckley, who is Mrs. Jones in the film.

                  Other extras are:

                  Deleted scenes
                  Visions of the Happening
                  A day for night
                  Elements of a Scene
                  Bloopers
                  Trailers

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                  Conclusion
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                  I had high hopes for this movie after I saw the trailer. But when the movie came out I heard from several people that the film wasn't that good at all. Unfortunately, they were right. The story of the film is okay in the beginning. New York is attacked and you think it must be a terrorist attack. The tension is rising, as the attacks seem to increase. The tension decreases when you learn more about the cause and see more of the acting from the actors. What the film does well is the way people come to an end. This is often funny to watch, but sometimes it's actually really scary. At these moments you're back into the film, but not for long. The stupidest moment in the film I found at the time that the group is at a large field in the countryside and Elliot says: "Just stay ahead of the wind!" It didn't really worked since it was quiet windy that day... All in all, the story of the film sounds really nice and good, but the execution is just bad. Pity.

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                    27.02.2010 17:30
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                    Its hard to believe he has made a worse film than this!

                    M Night Shyamalan is back with yet another spooky, mystical thriller that attempts to confuse and distract you from what is actually happening until he throws in his trademark little twist. After the debacle and massive flop that was Lady In The Water he certainly has something to prove this time. Question is will he salvage what is left of his tattered reputation or rip even more shreds into it.

                    Modern day New York, everything is peaceful and quiet. It is looking like a lovely day and people are out and enjoying the sun. Suddenly the light wind stops, everything goes unnaturally silent and without any prelude people start killing themselves.
                    Soon this news is broadcast all over the country. An attack of some kind was made in Central Park but no one knows how, why or who? As the suicides continue New York is evacuated, but then the same thing happens in other major cities.
                    The country is in the grip of fear, without having a clue as to what is happening.
                    In the smaller towns everything seems to be ok but the inhabitants of one of these towns are finding themselves cut off more and more from the outside world as thing escalate.

                    When the 'agent' causing the suicides seems to be heading their way a small group (including Mark Wahlberg, John Leguizamo and, indie girl actress supreme, Zooey Deschanel) decides to head into rural America for safety.
                    The Happening builds up the backstory and then follows the little group as the attempt to find a haven from whatever is attacking America.

                    The Happening, like most of Shyamalan's films, has a very intriguing idea behind it. Alas, also like most of his films, it manages to ruin that idea completely and while it might not bore you into somnambulance it will get very close to it.
                    The biggest problem whith the film is that it moves soooooo verrrry slow-w-w-ly! After a bright start that does actually grab you everything just loses all forward momentum and in the end, when you do finally find out what is going on, you really don't give a damn. In fact it is so down played that it doesn't even become a big revelation, but then that might just be because it is so bizarre you are not sure whether you heard it right. You want to wash your ears out and hear the line again, just so you can hear what they really said instead of what you think you just heard, problem is that you just heard it exactly right.

                    Shyamalan has managed to form a career on the basis on one truly original and brilliant film, Sixth Sense. After that his creations have been very hit and miss... and a lot more miss than hit in my opinion. Having said that people still seem to be willing to go and see his latest movie (me included of course!), probably as much in the hope that he will reclaim whatever it is that has been missing since that original breakthrough.
                    The Happening does not do that but as bad as it is The Happening is still better that Lady In The Water, his last movie, but then of course there is very little around that could ever be as bad as that.

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                      15.12.2009 14:27
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                      Three stars from me - An entertaining film that has an interesting plot!

                      The Happening stars Mark Wahlberg and Zooey Deschanel, it was released in 2008 and the plot is as follows...

                      The film begins in Central Park, where people suddenly begin to commit suicide. To begin with a terrorist attack is blamed however these mass suicides spread across the north east of the US. A terrorist attack is still the most logoical reason but now looks unlikely.

                      People decide to leave the nearby cities and this is when we meet Elliot Moore (Mark Wahlberg) and his wife Alma (Zooey Deschanel) they decide to get out of Philadelphia as soon as possibble. They get on the next train with Elliot's best friend Julian and his daughter Jess. Julian plans to meet up with his wife but she gets stuck in traffic and says she will get the next train.

                      Will they reach safety and what is actually causing everyone to kill themselves.

                      The Happening has a running time of 86 minutes and a classification of 15. You can buy this film for £4.98 on Amazon.

                      There are a few eerie moments throughout the film and I do think that the actual cause of the suicides is quite an interesting idea. To be really honest it isn't the best film ever made and it certainly isn't as good as The Sixth Sense. However I do have to say that I did enjoy it, the 86 minutes of the film went quick and didn't drag. The film flowed well with a decent plot and it was nice to see a film with a fairly original idea for the plot. There are a few graphic scenes not really scary but a little distressing.

                      The actors managed to portray their characters quite well, with the two leads sharing good chemistry. There were a few cheesy moments with shots of the actor's faces looking in shock but I can forgive that as the film somehow managed to make wind blowing through grass genuinely spooky.

                      The ending is a little bit on the predictable side but I have to say that I thought the final scene of the film was very good. Overall I would have to recommend The Happening, it isn't a great film but it is a good film for a night in with some popcorn or chocolate.

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                        11.10.2009 19:58
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                        A rubbish rubbish movie, with terrible acting and a ludicrous story

                        My word, this is a rubbish movie. M. Knight Shyamalan hit the ground running with his first movie, The Sixth Sense, but each film since then has been a gradual descent into the garbage that comprises this movie.

                        Starring Mark Wahlberg (Elliot), Zooey Deschanel (Alma) and John Leguizamo (Julian), the plot revolves around a natural biotoxin bring released in the North East of the United States, which upon being inhaled, causes people to commit suicide in the most convenient way possible.

                        Our hero, Elliot, decides to get out of infected New York city with his wife, Alma, his friend Julian and friend's daughter before they fall victim to the toxin. As they evacuate, Julian finds that he can't get in touch with his wife on the phone anymore, so leaves his kid with Eliot and Alma and heads off to try and rescue her.

                        The rest of the movie deals with our lead characters as they race to outrun the toxin, and join up with other survivors along the way, each of whom proceed to cause problems, or fall victim to the toxin. Who survives? Who doesn't? If you really want to know, you will just have to watch the movie!

                        However... I wouldn't recommend it! The film is ridiculous. The idea behind the story, of where the toxin comes, is so so stupid I can't even begin to tell you. Through watching the film, you even get the impression that the cast know full well how dumb the premise is - Wahlberg's acting is some of the worst I have EVER seen in a big mainstream movie.

                        The film plays out like a fifties B-movie that is trying to be something it's not. It wants to be some big metaphor for how we are treating our planet, and how it could turn on us at any time. Except, it is just stupid.

                        I think I can understand what M Knight was trying to do when he made this movie. He is clearly going for some pretty harsh shocks, as some of the imagery is very gruesome. He wants to create a sense of complete fear, to project on us what the characters in the film are going through. Unfortunately this falls flat on its face. Even the music is far too grand and overbearing for what is going on.

                        This is NOT a good movie, and I would advise film fans to avoid this like a dangerous environmental toxin.

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                          02.10.2009 13:48
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                          4 stars

                          I added this to my lovefilm list recently after falling in love with Mark Wahlberg (my husband doesn't know that's the reason though!), so was really pleased when it popped through my letter box yesterday. I was really looking forward to watching it but as it had only been given 2 stars out of 5 on lovefilm (it had been rated by over 20,000 members!!), I wasn't holding my breath for anything too fantastic - just an eyeful of my new love!
                          So, the film..... I have to say the idea was definately there, but had it not had such a well known name such as Mark Wahlberg in, it would have been sent straight to the DVD bargain bins (although I still loved it!!)! As I said, the idea was definately there, but there were moments in the film, that were just plain weird and it didn't need to take on that goofy side.

                          The plot.
                          The film begins in Central Park, New York, with two friends sat on a bench, each reading. They start chatting, and all of a sudden every single person in the whole park stops walking and just stares in to space - very creepy. One of the women on the bench starts talking gibberish, while the other is absolutely fine and wondering what on earth is going on. Then, all of a sudden (this happens in the first 30 seconds so I'm not giving it away!), everybody starts commiting suicide through various strange ways - basically with whatever they can use that is available to them. This had me hooked straight away. The film then cuts to Mark Wahlberg (Elliot Moore) who plays the role of a teacher who the kids all seem to love. He is a science teacher and is asking the kids why bee's are becoming extinct, when the head teacher knocks on the door and asks him to follow her. The go to the assembly hall, where all the teachers are, and she fills them in on the happenings in New York. As they are in Philadelphia, there is no sense of panic, but they decide to send everyone home as a precaution anyway. At this point, it is believed that what has happened is down to a terrorist attack using chemicals released into the air, but as a science teacher, Wahlberg has different ideas. I'll leave it there for the plotline as I don't want to give anything away!

                          The film reminded me in a way of the Final Destination series, purely because of the death scenes, as they were all very grizzly and quite random! If you don't like blood, etc, Do Not watch this film! I explained earlier that there were scenes that were just not needed, and one of these is when Wahlberg starts talking to a plastic house plant. I couldn't figure out if they were trying to be funny by adding scenes like this, but it just wasn't needed. All the characters also seemed to have that big eyed stare all the time, which I also found to be unrealistic and a bit cheesy.

                          The reasons behind why these strange 'happenenings' are occuring is also a little strange, and I felt that had it been an alternative reason, the film would have been much better. Please note, that describing this film and what I thought of it, is very difficult without actually giving the plot away!!

                          The characters were ok, but only Wahlberg was likeable for me (I wonder why!). There was a little girl in the film, and she was just plain annoying with no acting skills whatsoever! That seems a little harsh but surely there must have been better auditionees to choose!

                          All in all, I actually enjoyed this film, as the story carried it. I gave it four stars on lovefilm and will give it the same here - although after quickly scanning the stars it was given by fellow dooyooers, that seems pretty high! But that's my opinion and thats all I can tell you. I would recommend watching this film, and let me know what you think! I really hope I'm not the only one out there who enjoyed this film!!

                          Released 2008
                          Run Time: 91 minutes
                          Director: M Night Shyamalan
                          Rated: 15

                          Thanks for reading.

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                            17.09.2009 18:16
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                            Don't watch/buy/talk about this movie, ever. The less said about it the better.

                            When I go to the cinema, one of the joys happens to be the trailers where you can see what's being released for us movie buffs in the near future. When I saw The Happening for a brief 30 seconds or so, it really got my juices flowing. Firstly it had Mark Wahlberg starring in it who, after seeing The Departed and Invincible really impressed me as an actor. 'This could be a good'un' I thought, secondly the story appeared interesting, people dropping dead for no reason whatsoever, 'not bad at all' I thought 'could be an interesting little thriller.'

                            Little did I know that when I would go on to spend my hard earned £8.60, Premium Seats I might add to watch this movie, I would consider it one of the worst movies I've seen in a very long time.

                            So, why doesn't the Happening cut it? Well where do I start?

                            The acting is atrocious, Mark Wahlberg, a usually competent actor seems to fall victim to the fact he's in a terrible movie and poorly delivers. The female lead part played by Zooey Deschanel is poorly played, one minute she appears to be, shoch horror, acting and the next it's almost laughable some of the facial expressions and deliveries she exudes.

                            The story is atrocious, yet the premise appears to intregue us for the first half hour or so; people killing themselves for no reason whatsoever. Our first thoughts were terrorists or a plague type scenario, how wrong were we? If I had told you trees were the reason for their deaths you'd laugh in my face, well laugh away because that's exactly what it is. The trees somehow communicate with one and other and release a toxin which, yes you've guessed it, makes people kill themselves.

                            Not only is the whole film a ridiculous waste of 99 minutes but you're supposed to take with you a message. Something about looking after the planet probably. Sadly for me and many others, we didn't catch it because we were too busy laughing at having wasted our time and money on such a travesty.

                            Don't make the same mistake and waste your hard earned money on this DVD, there's not a lot more I can say about this terrible terrible movie other than 'It should have never happened.' (Oh he went there!)

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                              11.09.2009 11:25
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                              M. Night Shyamalan and no twist?? Whats happening? (

                              Now, i've always been a fan of M. Night Shyamalan's films (ala Signs, The Village, Unbreakable, The Sixth Sense, Lady in the water) they've all been good and the twists and story line have kept me wanting more or surprised me. I love that in a film. So when I saw "The Happening" on Blu Ray, i just had to buy it.

                              It wouldn't be too much of a spoiler to tell you that something "happens". There's an event which causes people to commit sucide in unpleasant ways. No one can work out what's causing it. There's some crazy theories but within a day it's over and everyone who isn't dead, is fine.
                              And that, as they say, is that.

                              There is no twist, no conclusion, just the end. It left me feeling rather disappointed.
                              Now, don't get me wrong, the film was good, intense, well written and fun to watch, but i was expecting a twist dammit!

                              Having said that, the atmosphere is amazing and the story line is clever, i got immersed, as you should do with a good film and i felt for the characters. The acting was superb and you worried for them as they essentially tried to escape the air, yes, the toxin was airbound.
                              In conclusion, a good film, but not a touch on his other works.

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