The Happening

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The Happening is a film by director M. Night Shyamalan, released Friday, June 13, 2008, about an epidemic of suicides.


The movie centers on Philadelphia high-school biology teacher Elliot Moore, whose favorite pedagogical technique is to encourage his students to explain a phenomenon by attributing it to "mysterious natural processes".

Moore and his family flee for their lives after mass suicides start plaguing the Northeastern United States. The movie explains these mysterious suicides as being driven by the "spontaneous evolution" of a "toxin" in plants. Moore gets his poignant on-screen moment of dismissing those so-called scientists' ability to explain anything, since it is all just a theory:

Science will come up with a reason to put in the books but in the end it's just a theory. We fail to acknowledge forces at work beyond our understanding.
Deepak Chopra

Luckily, everything comes out all right in the end, because "events like this can just end suddenly". (And since there's no point in science trying to find a cause and solution for events like this, it'll probably happen again and maybe wipe out civilization next time.) The finale is a monologue about the limits of rational thought delivered by a supposed scientist.


The Happening was thrust into the forefront of the culture wars after its release, when some reviewers commented on what they perceived as anti-science and intelligent design themes.[1] (You think?)

Pro-ID forces have also endorsed it as such, crowing about it as proof that "Darwinists" are losing the culture war on multiple fronts.[2]

In an interview about the film's release, Shyamalan harped on how he was motivated by "Albert Einstein's religious conversion" — an utter myth, something the good Shamalamadingdong could've found out immediately using Google[3] — fueled by "the unknowable universe".[4]

The film has also been criticized for sexist themes, intentional or not, as women are depicted as being primarily baby factories who need to learn their place.[1]

Plus, the movie is effing terrible.[5][6][note 1]

External links[edit]


  1. Shyamalan had just come off making The Village and Lady in the Water, not The Sixth Sense and Unbreakable.