The Happening (Blu-ray)

January 28, 2012 5 Min Read

Review by: Fusion3600

Plot: What’s it about?

A lot of strange and tragic events have unfolded in mankind’s past, but none have threatened the survival of the species like this latest concern. In New York, people are killing themselves in large numbers and in horrific ways. This isn’t someone that is depressed jumping off a bridge, instead these are sane people doing twisted things. Throwing themselves to the vicious animals in the zoo is just one of the sick ways people are allowing themselves to perish. When science teacher Elliot (Mark Wahlberg) hears about these events, he loads up his wife, his best friend, and his friend’s daughter, to head for safety in a rural area. The trip is cut short, so they have to make due in a small Pennsylvania town, but danger lurks all around them. Can Elliot and his friends learn the truth in time to help, or will they simply be more victims of this strange situation?

This is just an awful movie. The movie opens with a tense scene of construction workers falling to their death for no apparent reason, but quickly spirals into a black hole of entertainment. The premise is one of the lamest I’ve seen and given how much low rent horror I watch, that is a bold statement. M. Night Shyamalan’s career continues to tank and The Happening is proof beyond proof of what an untalented writer & director he is. This movie deals with immense loss of life and a threat to mankind’s existence, yet tension is absent outside of the first scene. No suspense, no eerie feelings, just some of the worst writing, direction, and performances I have seen in a long while. Aside from some chuckles over Mark Wahlberg’s character being an educator, I found nothing positive about this movie, it is simply a mess. So I refuse to recommend The Happening, even as a rental, as this is just a total waste of time and should be left to rot on the shelf.

Video: How does it look?

The Happening is presented in 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen. This is a great looking transfer, but it doesn’t quite reach the same levels as the elite transfers out there. The main issue is that while close ups yield incredible detail, the rest of the shots don’t offer that same depth. All of the scenes look much, much better than the DVD, but when compared to the top high definition discs, a gap is evident. Even so, the colors are bright and bold, while contrast is smooth and consistent. So while not all of the movie looks three dimensional, it does look great, without question.

Audio: How does it sound?

This DTS HD 5.1 option is effective, not always dynamic, but always effective. The surrounds don’t come alive often, but when they do, the presence is palpable. This is most evident in scenes where the people work to stay ahead of the wind, as the force of the traveling gusts sound excellent. Most scenes are more reserved, but still sound more than solid. The music is well handled, while vocals are clear and consistent. This disc also includes a Dolby Digital 5.1 option, Spanish and French language tracks, and subtitles in English, Spanish, Cantonese, Mandarin, and Korean.

Supplements: What are the extras?

A BonusView option allows you to watch the movie with various extras tossed in, from interviews to behind the scenes stuff to trivia anecdotes. Not bad, but not the best of this kind of feature I’ve seen. A selection of promotional featurettes is also here, but none offer much depth, unless you love undeserved self praise and there’s plenty of that to go around. This release also includes some deleted scenes, a gag reel, and a digital copy of the film for use on portable devices.

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