Zooey Deschanel defends The Happening

Chris Tilly

Zooey Deschanel has been discussing the critical response to horror film The Happening, claiming “people didn’t get” what director M. Night Shyamalan was trying to achieve with the movie.

Released in 2008, The Happening was written and directed by Shyamalan, starred Mark Wahlberg and Deschanel, and was roundly derided by critics. Or as Deschanel puts it, “universally not loved.”

The film revolved around a global disaster in which people start spontaneously committing suicide. The twist was that trees are releasing toxins that trigger those deaths.

Reviews were harsh at the time, and the film now has a 17% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Which isn’t good.

What did Zooey Deschanel say about The Happening?

Speaking to The Guardian about the movie, Deschanel said: “The director, M. Night Shyamalan – Night – had a strong vision and we were all trying to do what he wanted.

“I trusted him, because he’s a great filmmaker. I didn’t know until I saw the film, but I think he was going for a stylized horror, like The Birds, and maybe people didn’t get that.”

Deschanel added, “I had a blast working with Night and Mark Wahlberg, but while I’ve done serious drama, I’m not sure I fit with thrillers. I find most joy in doing comedy.”

What have Shyamalan and Wahlberg said about the movie?

In 2008, Shyamalan told Vulture that tone was The Happening’s problem, claiming that critics didn’t like the movie because it was “inconsistent.”

Wahlberg was more blunt in 2013, stating: “It is what it is. F**king trees, man. The plants. F**k it. You can’t blame me for not wanting to try to play a science teacher. At least I wasn’t playing a cop or a crook.”