M. Night Shyamalan’s apocalyptic thriller The Happening is slow-paced and funny at times, leaving critics mixed in their reactions. It’s “too thoughtful for the summer action season, but I appreciate the quietly realistic way Shyamalan” tells his story, writes Roger Ebert in the Chicago Sun-Times. “It will be described as empty, uneventful, meandering. But for some, it will weave a spell.” In the movie, a father (Mark Wahlberg) tries to escape with his family.
Other critics are less forgiving. “The movie unwinds like a series of ghastly tableaux vivants pasted together with sloppy domestic comedy,” writes Manohla Dargis in the New York Times. Still, Shyamalan’s images “speak louder and more eloquently” than his failed dialogue. The theme: materialism will kill us and we deserve it. That may be true, writes Carina Chocano in the Los Angeles Times, “but at this point we also deserve a better movie about it.”