I've had a bit of reverse Fridge Horror regarding The Happening. There are plenty of horrific moments in the movie involving people dying in some very brutal fashions. (I mean, you're going to kill yourself, and you go with Lion?) Now I get this is all to make the horror aspect of the movie more intense (after all a city full of people consuming too many pain killers or suffocating themselves in their cars would be pretty dull) What this made me realize though is that the plants also (hopefully, though there isn't much in the way of proof for this) numb the person's sense of pain with their "Kill yourself" toxin. This would explain why no one flinches when they kill themselves painfully. I'm not sure if this is actual Fridge Relief (or if that's even a thing) but it made me feel a little better about that guy with the lion... and the big combine/lawn mower.
I know this is probably the silliest thing to bug me in a movie about plants rapidly evolving to release spores that cause people to commit suicide in over-the-top ways, but here goes: Mrs. Jones, the crazy old lady from the last 20 minutes of the movie, says that she doesn't care about the rest of the world, and that she grows her own food. So my question is this - where did she get the ingredients for her infamous "lemon drink"? Last I checked, lemon trees and sugar cane don't grow in Pennsylvania...
I blame her insanity.
My problem isn't that they think plants can do that, but that after it was over no one seemed at all afraid of plants. I mean the main characters still kept plants in their house after the big event.
In real life, humanity would essentially declare war on plants, destroying every park in the world, harvesting food being done by specially trained people in air-tight scuba suits, consolidating population in cities where plants are outlawed, and probably just setting forests on fire just to be safe.
Hell, we'd probably build domed cities where all food products are artificial or originating from animals. Plants absolutely necessary for food production would probably be subjected to containment procedures rivaling the SCP Foundation. Defoliants, napalm, and fuel-air explosives would be dropped across the entire world, and fuck whoever doesn't get inside the domes in time. If you look at human history, particularly during the Cold War, we place our own survival way above that of plants.
Ok, plants suddenly evolve the ability to emit neurotoxin because humans are harming them. That's stupid, but whatever. But all plants? Why the hell would some plants want to turn against us? Humanity devotes massive amounts of time and energy to care for many species of plants, ensuring they have good soil, are pest-free, and are always watered. We've even ensured that some species will never go extinct due to seeds being stored in underground bunkers in case of doomsday scenarioes. Frankly, for some plants, they've never had a better friend than humanity - so why the hell would they screw up that cushy deal by killing us all?
Group pressure? Coercion? Maybe the plants will have a civil war in the future, who knows...
So, are the plants sentient, or not? Unleashing chemical attacks on another species, targeted by population concentration, wouldn't in and of itself require it. . . but doing so in regions largely unrelated to the majority of the damage? If the plants are offended by environmental damage, and triggering a mindless response, why in New England, and not, say, the Amazon periphery? *That* implies that they are sentient, and are picking their targets not based on reflex but on impact. Which is all fine and dandy. . . except it destroys the moral aesop of the movie. If the plants are sentient, and rather than trying to communicate with humanity, they unleash death toxin? Then they are at *best* on the same moral level as humanity is. Either they don't know people are sentient ( and are basically the same as humans ), or they know and don't care, in which case they are monsters that deserve some deforestation.
Supposedly the plants released a gas that penetrated the human nervous system, altered brain functions, and induced people to commit suicide. But any gas that could alter brain function that profoundly could eliminate people far more quickly and surely, simply by switching off the neuronal circuits that induce breathing. Why putter around suppressing and inverting survival-drives, then waiting for the affected targets to find themselves a lethal weapon or whatever, when it'd be so much more efficient to just kill them directly?
Another point arguing in favor of the plants being sentient, and the aesop being wrecked. . .
How on God's green (*snicker*) earth do people shoot themselves with a pistol in the top of their foreheads? Most people would put the gun in their mouths or in the lower part of their skulls, but instead these people in the long, tracking shot must be holding their arms waaaaaay up to shoot themselves. (Never mind the neat, clean bullet holes.)
Mark Wahlberg has a headscratcher for the director in the Gag Reel.
"Why are we knocking on the door of a building that is boarded up and looks like no one lives there? What makes us think there's food in there?"
What kind of right-minded science teacher EVER uses the phrase, "It's just a theory?"
Then I'll say it: a science teacher who is incompetent, and doesn't know what "theory" means.
The same science teacher who considers 'an act of nature that we'll never fully understand it' a valid answer and, when an administrator enters the classroom, hides while claiming 'the dark lord is here, don't look her in the eyes'.
Now my botany is a tad rusty, but aren't most plants actively trying to choke each-other out? If they were sentient the whole time, their cruelty towards each-other doesn't seem to leave much space for a Green Aesop.
Guys, I'm just going to ignore all of the plant stuff and ask this simple question: If the neurotoxin causes our self-preservation mechanism to shut off, why does it make people commit suicide? Shouldn't it just make us ignore making mistakes?
It doesn't just shut off the mechanism, it reverses it. No entirely sure what that means, but that's the explanation the movie gives.