[[quoteright:350:http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/the_happening1.jpg]]
[[caption-width-right:350: ''[[MemeticMutation “What? Nooooooooooooo.”]]'']]
->''“Plastic. I’m talking to a plastic plant. I'm still doing it.”''

''The Happening'' is a 2008 science-fiction horror film written and directed by Creator/MNightShyamalan.

Something big is going down: people all over the East Coast of the United States start to kill themselves for no reason, and nobody can explain the mass suicides. High school teacher Elliot Moore (Creator/MarkWahlberg) tries to escape UsefulNotes/{{Philadelphia}} with his wife Alma (Creator/ZooeyDeschanel), his colleague and friend Julian (Creator/JohnLeguizamo), and Julian’s daughter Jess (Ashlyn Sanchez).

At first, the movie takes a [[Creator/AlfredHitchcock Hitchcockian]] approach to the horror — the suicides merely happen without explanation — [[ItWasHisSled until somebody]] ''[[ItWasHisSled does]]'' [[ItWasHisSled explain it]]: plants, in response to human overpopulation, are emitting a neurotoxin that makes a person’s survival instinct kick into reverse.

Compare ''Manga/AliveTheFinalEvolution''.
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!!This film provides examples of:

* AvoidTheDreadedGRating: For some reason, the film's R rating was a huge marketing point.
* BehindTheBlack: Funny how the characters don't notice the bodies hanging from the trees until the camera reveals them, even though they had been driving straight towards them for a good half-minute.
* BabiesEverAfter: [[spoiler:Alma is revealed to be pregnant at the end.]]
* CreatorCameo: M. Night Shyamalan provides the voice of Joey, with whom Alma had dessert once [[FelonyMisdemeanor and acts as if she had an affair with him]]. [[HeWhoMustNotBeSeen And the viewer never sees him.]]
* CrazyCatLady: Or, in this case, a Crazy Doll Lady.
* ChekhovsGun: Really, really obvious one: the two rooms where you can hear whatever the person in the other room is saying.
* CloudCuckoolander: Mrs. Jones is (supposed to be) a non-comedic example. She has obviously lived in isolation for many years, and displays misanthropic behavior and [[NotGoodWithPeople truly terrible social skills]] (she even accuses Elliot of planning to murder her in her sleep for no reason at all). She even flips out at Elliot trying to examine the doll on her bed (which presumably represents her younger self, given she alleges it's her face, and she was apparently hiding nearby to see if Elliot approached it) and [[GetOut orders him to leave at once]]. Clearly she has some serious mental problems.
* CoincidentalBroadcast: Whenever the characters need any sort of exposition they can find a broadcast, wherever they are, be it the abandoned truck, the radio in the middle of the field (that no one bothered to take with them), or the montage of other people all over the U.S. watching the TV news.
** Doubles as KentBrockmanNews in certain situations. For example:
--->'''News Reporter''': [[RightWingMilitiaFanatic An unconfirmed source]] says [[GovernmentConspiracy the government is responsible]].
* CuteMute: Jess says very little until the end.
* DisposablePilot: The Jeep driver.
* DullSurprise: The reaction to the mass suicides is... less expressive than one might expect.
* EmotionlessGirl: Alma, more or less, spends most of the movie in DullSurprise mode, and states at the beginning "I don’t like to show my emotions." Maybe the most JustForFun/{{egregious}} example among many in this movie is her line about the foliage "It makes you kill yourself" (''[[DepartmentOfRedundancyDepartment right after she and Elliot heard the newscaster say it together]]'').
* TheEndOrIsIt: The end of the film, where it appears that [[spoiler:the whole affair will repeat in France]].
* EvolutionaryLevels: The plants suddenly evolve the ability to emit neurotoxin. All species of plants. ''[[ArtisticLicenseBiology Simultaneously.]]''
* {{Expospeak}}: The principal explains the symptoms at the beginning to the other teachers. Later, the nursery owner explains plants' ability to release chemicals. Mrs. Jones explains the speaker in the springhouse.
* FakeFood: In a gag that runs a little too long.
* GaiasVengeance: In the nastiest fashion possible.
* {{Gorn}}: Apparently someone in [[Creator/TwentiethCenturyFox Fox]]'s marketing department learned that people were just laughing at the answer to the "mystery", so commercials for the DVD release focused ''solely'' on the deaths and its status as Shyamalan's first R-rated film, ignoring the mystery aspect.
* GoshDangItToHeck: The private’s use of "Cheese and crackers!" as an exclamation, and the construction worker’s use of the word "thing" for "penis".
* GreenAesop
* HumansAreBastards: This, apparently, is the reason for the plants' sudden "evolution" and revolt against humanity. Additionally, in one scene, [[spoiler:a guy shoots two obnoxious teenagers who join Elliot because he doesn't want them coming into his boarded-up house]].
* InfantImmortality: Averted when the two teenage boys get shot.
* MadeOfPlasticine: The zookeeper whose lions (very easily) tear him limb from limb.
* TheMeadowRun: Fine, it's more like the Meadow Walk, but even so...
* NonSequiturThud: One of the late stages of the toxin involves speaking nonsense.
* NoPeripheralVision: When Elliot walks up to the truck with the open door, only after looking through it does he notice the house in the distance. He then points it out to everyone else ''who was looking in that direction already'', and they notice it.
* NothingExcitingEverHappensHere … until people start killing themselves.
* OnlySaneMan:
** Two women are seen holed up in an apartment, wearing gas masks. This is one of the smartest things you can do if you believe that a chemical/biological weapon has been used and there is minimal option for evacuating safely.
** A man boards up his house so that he and his family will be safe from the toxin. Elliot tries to reason with them, but is unsuccessful when the residents shoot Josh and Jared.
* OrphanedPunchline:
-->'''Construction Worker''': ...and the little guy says, "You have a girlfriend named Wendy, too? Well, I saw your thing and it says 'WY'." And the big guy says, "''No'', man. Mine says '[[BiggusDickus Welcome to Jamaica, have a nice day.]]'"[[note]]The missing part of the joke is "Two men are standing at adjacent urinals, and they both notice the other has the letters 'WY' tattooed on his penis."[[/note]]
* PoorCommunicationKills: Elliot, Alma, and Jess get all the way through dinner with Mrs. Jones before deigning to mention the event, but Mrs. Jones makes it clear she doesn't want to hear about it anyway.
* PrettyLittleHeadshots: When the police officer and others shoot themselves. Odd, given the gory scenes in other parts.
* ProductPlacement: When Elliot tells them to stop the car because of the bodies on the road, the next shot is the wheel stopping with the word "Jeep" on the hubcap perfectly lined up horizontally and readable.
* ThePowerOfLove: [[spoiler:The plants just happen to stop emitting the neurotoxin minutes before Elliot and Alma decide to go outside and embrace. In the original script, the subtext became text and it was literally ThePowerOfLove that saved them.]]
* RedShirt: Quite a few characters have shirts redder than roses, redder than poinsettias.
* RippedFromTheHeadlines: The Disappearing Bees, Terrorist Attacks, Global Warming, etc. The film is just a grab bag of topical terrors.
* ScienceCannotComprehendPhlebotinum:
** Elliot Moore describes the plants' mass homicide not as an unprecedented biological phenomenon, but as something that just "happened".
** Science doesn't seem to be in great shape in this movie's universe. In the opening scenes, Elliot asks his students for theories on disappearing bees. One student suggests, "It's just a phenomenon of nature and we'll never understand it," which, in the real world, a science teacher would consider a desperate cop-out from an ignorant student, but Elliot considers it a perfectly valid answer. One gets the impression M. Night lacks an understanding of science and how it works, given that the whole point of science is to explain natural phenomena.
* ScrewPolitenessImASenior: Mrs. Jones has this, and some obvious mental issues, going for her. She displays very hostile behavior towards Elliot and others for no good reason at all.
%%* ShapedLikeItself
* SoleSurvivor: In the beginning, [[spoiler:and in the end in France]], only one random person isn't affected by the neurotoxins, and ForcedToWatch everyone kill themselves.
* ShoutOut: Jess has an ''WesternAnimation/AvatarTheLastAirbender'' backpack in the end... {{Foreshadowing}} of [[Film/TheLastAirbender things to come]].
* SpaceWhaleAesop: Be more environmentalist, or plants will kill you.
* {{Tagline}}:
-->'''We've [[Film/TheSixthSense Sensed]] It.'''\\
'''We've Seen the Film/{{Signs}}.'''\\
'''And Now... It's Happening.'''
* TelevisionGeography: The real Filbert, Pennsylvania, is near Uniontown, Pennsylvania, about forty miles southeast of UsefulNotes/{{Pittsburgh}}, putting it very far from the eastern part of the state that the guy in the restaurant points out on the TV screen, and well past their train's stated destination of Harrisburg. The actual town has no rail service, either.
* ThisIsForEmphasisBitch: Spencer Breslin's character's line, "Open this door, bitch!"
* TitleDrop: The word "happening" is uttered in about every other scene. But, as [[WebVideo/BadMovieBeatdown Film Brain]] points out in his review, it soon becomes repetitive and annoying.
* WhenTreesAttack: TheMovie.
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