As a good deal of the power of Shyamalan’s films come from his stories’ eye-popping revelations and twists, I’m going to stick with the bare essentials here and (against my habits, heh) avoid spoilers in this post. The film stars Mark Wahlberg and Zooey Deschanel (recently of Tin Man) and (according to Wikipedia):
. . . is a paranoid thriller in which a family must survive a global environmental crisis. The film will portray the earth as a victim of mankind's doings, which causes a global backlash. Elliot Moore, the main character figures out these conflicts, due to his being a high school biology teacher. In the center, lies a conflict between him and his wife, in which he must settle before she threatens to end their marriage.The Wikipedia site for Shyamalan adds more, but it’s also a bit more spoilerish, so read it at your own risk. The film is due out Friday, June 13, 2008 (the choosing of a Friday 13th intentional). Also worth noting is that this film is Shyamalan’s first with an R rating.
There’s been quite a bit of speculation and chatter regarding the film, probably due to the circulation of Shyamalan’s supposed original draft of the script (then called The Green Effect)—which was rejected by several studios. Apparently, Shyamalan agreed to make changes to the script and 20th Century Fox green lit it. Some like what they’ve read in that script: AICN’s Harry writes some rather complimentary (and less spoilerish) things about it:
For one, THE HAPPENING is a phrase that feels and oozes 1960s. And what M Night has constructed thus far in this script is a very 1960's End of the World scenario. If you've ever seen NO BLADE OF GRASS - combine that to the premise of something like Stephen King's THE CELL - and you're heading in the direction that this movie goes in.The theme of healing, woundedness and brokenness is one thing that really attracts me to Shyamalan’s films and I’m encouraged that it’s present in this film as well.
The script begins with some haunting violent imagery. . . . It's downright scary nightmare scenarios. Everything the media makes us afraid of - it's happening all around us. I won't spoil what's causing things to happen, but I will say that by page 40 - the thing we're led to believe is happening... is a SCARY [explexative] THING. . . .
As with all of Shyamalan's films - at the heart of the script is spiritual healing and hope. However, unlike everything he's done - there's a mean streak. I see why so many studios were scared by the film, as there is definitely a fatalistic vibe pulsing through this film. However, I've always loved stories about the end of civilization as we know it. They always make for interesting conversations after you see the film. The "what would you do, if you were among the last survivors of a global pandemic? This is an awesome "fear" story. We'll follow this production as closely as we can.
Not surprisingly (Shyamalan tends to polarize folks), others don’t like it, like lesterg at GoneElsewhere who calls it “the most moronic environmentalism in the history of cinema.” For more, go here—but be warned, his post is full of possible spoilers if Shyamalan stuck with much of the plot of the original script (which is, I think, what this guy’s responding to). Cinematical also gives us some more spoilers via Phillyist.com but without vouching for the reliability of it.
Also, there are some not-so-spoilerish photos from the set at FearNet.
That’s it for now—but I’m sure there’s more to come.
(Image: 20th Century Fox)