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Diablo gets the first look at The Happening...

...and the view isn't pretty. Or scary. Just lame.

I just saw M. Night Shyamalan's latest cry for help, The Happening. If you've watched TV in the last two weeks, you've seen the ads: The director of The Sixth Sense and Signs brings you his FIRST R-RATED FILM! I have to admit, the marketing had me intrigued. I wasn't the biggest fan of The Sixth Sense, but I also wasn't a hater of Lady in the Water and The Village, as many were. Also, I dig apocalyptic, end of the world horror (28 Days Later is one of my favorite films from the past decade), so I figured M. Night might have some really nasty stuff up his sleeve this time around.

I was dead wrong. M. Night has come down with an incredible case of the lames. The Happening is his worst film yet, a poorly written, ill-conceived effort  combining his typical two-hour Twilight Zone episode with a heavy dose of apocalyptic dread and a dash of Al Gore's An Inconvenient Truth. The premise (SPOILER ALERT!) concerns a bizarre outbreak of mass suicides in New York City....is it a terrorist attack? An alien brainwashing? Or just Mother Earth bitchslapping humanity for eating fast food, building nuclear power plants, and polluting the environment?

When the news breaks, people in Philly freak out and get out of Dodge. The exodus includes high school teachers Mark Wahlberg and John Leguizamo. Wahlberg is a science teacher, so maybe he'll be able to figure out what's going on. Ya think? Anyway, they get on a train to the country with Wahlberg's wife and Leguizamo's daughter, and then make a bunch of stupid decisions about what to do next as the mysterious suicide plague spreads around the Northeast.

You might think you care, but you won't. If you're like me, you might wonder just how bad Nicolas Cage's recent remake of the 70s horror classic The Wicker Man is really as bad as everyone says and if it is, and if it is, is it possibly worse than The Happening? As for the R-rated hype, its the biggest sham I've seen in many months at the movies. There's a few dashes of cheesy violence—one scene involving a zoo mauling drew chortles from the screening audience, and reminded me of the duel in Monty Python in the Holy Grail. (It's only a flesh wound!)

If I were marketing this movie, I'd have the poster tagline read "You'll never look at a light breeze blowing leaves around in park trees the same way ever again." And then, the title: The Suckening.