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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A thinking-person's zombie film, Aug. 6 2009
This review is from: The Happening [Blu-ray] (Bilingual) (Blu-ray)
The Happening [Blu-ray]
The Happening is a suspenseful, spooky movie with occasional gruesome violence, unusual to date in a Shyamalan film. This 2008 movie is a thought-provoking thriller that provides hints, but no real answers to the apocalyptic crisis. The audience is left to sort through the possible causes of the cataclysmic Happening, as well as to decide what it was that ended the crisis as quickly as it began.

Was there an environmental catastrophe? Was there some earthly ecological consciousness that arose to fight off the harmful human presence that is destroying the planet? Was it a malevolent supernatural force that moved in the air, possessing and killing victims in its wake?

What stopped or slowed the phenomenon? Did it peter out as a storm dissipates? If it was some satanic force, did it just move on to another place (Paris) to possess its next victims? If the catastrophe was caused by an intelligence, ecological or supernatural, did it recognize the power of love, which halted it in its tracks?

The story focuses on the troubled relationship of a couple (Wahlberg, Deschanel) fleeing their urban life in search of anywhere safer. Both characters were played simply, pared down, but endearing and demonstrating a vulnerability and truthfulness.

I was reminded of the Biblical story of Lot and his wife, and their flight from the doomed twin cities of Sodom and Gomorrah. Despite the couples' efforts in both stories, they failed to save the population (or fellow refugees) after repeated attempts.

I didn't find clear answers in the film, but enjoyed debating the issues afterwards. I enjoy films like this that offer more than just entertainment for a couple of hours. Shyamalan takes his place with Rod Serling (and perhaps even Carl Sagan) as a modern speculative storyteller who seeks to understand humanity and our relationship not only to each other but to the cosmos.

I enjoyed The Happening enough to purchase the BD copy. I have seen both the DVD and Blu-ray versions. The Blu-ray offers a few bonus featurettes not included on the DVD edition, as well as improved picture and nice audio quality, and a textual commentary track with occasional PiP interview material. It is regrettable that there is no commentary track from the principals or writer-director Shyamalan on either version. But the high-def bonuses are a must for any who enjoyed this film.
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