YMMV / The Happening

  • Anvilicious: There’s plenty of this throughout the film.
    • You Deserve This!
    • It also takes a pretty hardline Science Is Wrong message, with the opening lecture about the uselessness of scientific theories.
  • Big-Lipped Alligator Moment:
    • The hot dog scene.
    • The doll on the bed. What?
  • Covers Always Lie: One of the posters depicts Mark Wahlberg, Zooey Deschanel, and Ashlyn Sanchez sitting in the middle of an eerily deserted city street with hundreds of papers blowing in the wind around them. In actuality, they leave Philly about fifteen minutes in and travel through the countryside for the remainder of the film until the very end.
  • Dork Age: The entire premise of humanity being wiped out by sentient, killer plants cemented the film as Snark Bait for many of Shyamalan's harshest critics.
  • Ensemble Darkhorse:
    • John Leguizamo’s character is the most sympathetic and best acted in the bunch; of course, this means he’s one of the first to die. You’ll probably be disappointed when you realize the other characters aren’t Decoy Protagonists, because clearly Julian should have been the hero of this movie.
    • The bearded greenhouse caretaker who praises hot dogs is also pretty funny, and popular with many viewers. It helps that he pretty much figured out what was going on before anyone else did.
  • Fan-Disliked Explanation: The film probably would have been better received if it left the cause of the mass suicides a complete mystery. Making plants the cause pushes it into straight Narm.
  • Harsher in Hindsight:
  • Hilarious in Hindsight: The movie ends in Arendelle County.
  • Memetic Mutation:
    • “Why ya’ eyein’ my lemon drink?”
    • “What? Noooo…”
    • “Hey, guys!”
    • "My firearm is my friend! It will not leave my side!"
    • “Hot dogs get a bad rap.”
    • "Be scientific, douchebag!"
    • “Fucking trees, man. The plants.”
    • “The ___ening” has become a common way to refer to scandals in certain corners of The Internet, akin to Scandalgate. This started when the mass leaking of celebrity nudes on 4chan was dubbed “The Fappening” (since to ‘fap’ is to have A Date with Rosie Palms). Another prominent example of this is “The Fattening,” which was when /r/fatpeoplehate and a number of other hate communities were banned from Reddit.
  • Narm: The entire film.
    • The lawnmower scene. A man turns on a lawnmower and lets it run him over, while Elliot simply watches without actually doing anything. The fact that the man chose such an unnecessarily gruesome death makes it cross over into Black Comedy territory.
    • Julian’s suicide after surviving another driver’s suicidal car crash is supposed to be heartbreaking for the viewer, but the scene plays out so deadpan (right after the driver’s fatal car crash, Julian walks right out of the wreckage as if nothing had happened, plops down and uses the car’s broken glass to slit his wrists) that it is almost comedic.
    • The scene in which the man walks into the lion enclosure, kind of waves his arm at a lioness, and she pulls off the arm as if he’s made of Play-Doh. Then he motions for another lioness to do likewise to the other arm.
    • Alma’s moaning and fretting over her ‘affair’ … which is revealed to have been her telling Elliot she had to work late, only to go out for dessert with a colleague.
    • Alma’s line “I don’t like to show my emotions.” It’s very hard not to suspect that Shyamalan added that line as a desperate attempt to salvage her performance.
    • Alma's line: "It makes you kill yourself. Just when you thought there couldn't be any more eeevil that could be invented."
    • Another one from Alma: "We can't just stand here as uninvolved observers!"
    • Both lead performances are full of odd enunciation and bad acting. While some might debate Deschanel’s ability, Wahlberg is usually respectable, which can lead the audience to wonder if they were just struggling with the script.
    • This alternate opening is pure unintentional comedy gold. It starts with Elliot coming home with a box of Honey Crunch cereal and Alma throwing a ceramic doll at him. Particularly entertaining is Alma's line "How can you be sure? I almost hurt you. My God, I almost hurt you, soon you'll find severed body parts of strangers in the freezer Elliot, this is how it starts!", an awkward segue into a discussion of rocky road ice cream, and Alma seeing a man urinating in their garbage when she leaves the house the next day. It works really well with a Laugh Track.
  • Narm Charm: On the other hand, upon realizing the Fridge Horror of the movie, along with the Paranoia Fuel listed below, makes the entire movie less funny.
  • Paranoia Fuel: As stupid as the plot is, trees may seem a little freaky after this movie.
    • The man in the house who shoots the two kids. Whether or not the plant toxins had gotten to him by that point, imagine not being able to go near houses to ask for help for fear of their occupants killing you.
  • Signature Scene: The scene where the senile old woman accuses Elliot of planning on murdering her in her sleep, to which he replies, "What? Noooo..."
  • So Bad, It's Good: The movie is so hilariously awful, one could think it’s really an M. Night Shyamalan satire of horror films; at one point, the wind menaces the characters. There’s also Mark Wahlberg turning in the narmiest performance this side of Nicolas Cage in The Wicker Man (2006), at one point begging a household plant to not hurt them while they use the house's bathroom.
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Plot: Like many Shyamalan movies, it begins nice and eerie, only for the (risible) explanations to push it downhill. Unexplained mass suicides? Great, great. Caused by pissed-off plants? Much less so.
  • WTH, Casting Agency?: A milder version than usual but Mark Wahlberg as a science teacher is pretty oddball casting, and being in unknown territory with terrible direction makes his performance memetically awkward.

http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/YMMV/TheHappening