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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.
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.
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 — fueled by "the unknowable universe".
- Shyamalan had just come off making The Village and Lady in the Water, not The Sixth Sense and Unbreakable.
- "The Happening Is the Biggest Intelligent Design Movie of the Year."
- "Another pro-ID movie opens on 2,986 theater screens."
- See the Wikipedia article on Religious and philosophical views of Albert Einstein.
- "Exclusive: M. Night Shyamalan Goes Green."
- Rotten Tomatoes approval rating of 18 percent.
- Metacritic weighted average score of 34 out of 100.