Three reviews for you:
— Mark Wahlberg Talks To Trees, Mark Wahlberg Runs Away From A Light Breeze, Mark Wahlberg And The Suicide Breeze, The Breeze of Doom, Plant Wars, Al Gorefest, The Trouble With Triffids, Foliage Party, M Nightmare On Elm Street, Mark Wahlberg And The Deathly Willows, Lawn Of The Dead.
— You’ve got to hand it to him. M. Night Shyamalan has pulled off his greatest plot twist with The Happening, a film in which absolutely nothing happens.
— A couple of jump-scares, coupled with the premise’s fear-fuel of a gruesomely fatal contagion spreading uncontrollably ensure that better horror films are less scary than this. But it’s lead by the weakest of weak screen-couples. Mark Wahlberg plays a science teacher, which might be more implausible than the notion of plants hyperevolving an invisible neurotoxin that makes people mad for seppuku. Wahlberg’s counterpart Zooey Deschanel mumbles through a half-arsed performance with the floaty angst of a Xanax-patient. No chemistry, no chops, and in Deschanel’s case, dead annoying.
After wasting years on an airbender, M. Night Shyamalan rediscovers his sixth sense for cinema with a supernatural horror film that crucially doesn’t suck. His suspense-building and creepy camerawork works new life out of genre clichés, though not without a little help from his friends. Shyamalan’s successes display a huge gulf in casting quality compared to his duds—sour memories of nepotism and whitewashing are banished here. James McAvoy manages to wrestle what could be a bunch of silly accents into a deadly serious organising principle as “The Horde”, a man with 23-personalities. If anything however, it’s Anya Taylor-Joy as kidnapped teen Casey Cooke who’s the real star of the show, holding her gaze with fractured sorrow, projecting her body-language with the no-nonsense demeanour of someone with far too much lived-trauma. McAvoy has to put so much work into persona construction that his character’s pain is comparatively submerged. Both well-acquitted stars are served by an adroitly-threaded narrative, as well as Shyamalan’s signature twist—a great idea signalled just enough to be cottoned on to. For those who do, it’s a thrill to find out whether your hunch is right (if you can avoid spoilers that is. This viewer did not).