Idol Chatter

thehappeningpicforic.jpgM. Night Shyamalan’s movies—”The Sixth Sense,” “Unbreakable,” “Signs”—have been touted to me as spiritual explorations posing as standard supernatural thrillers. I’ve always seen them the other way around: the aliens banging on the roof, the spooked-up kids, the “Twilight Zone” plots all came with precious little to say about the nature of life or heaven: no more than, say, “Pulp Fiction,” and Lord knows nobody’s got Quentin Tarantino down as a spiritualist.

A discussion with the director and the stars of his new release, “The Happening,” on Fearnet goes a long way to telling me why I might have missed Shyamalan’s deeper notes.
“We’re making a B movie,” Shyamalan says he told the cast and crew. “If the movie has something that sticks with you, great. But we’re not gonna put that in front of the movie.” He admits that he always has this tension between making a “faith” movie and making a “popcorn” movie. Personally, I always leave with an empty bucket.
As interesting is Mark Wahlberg’s testimony. Wahlberg, who stars as a high school science teacher trying to save his family from plants that doom Earth by sending noxious vapors into the air, talks about his strong faith, and how, in one scene he exasperated Shyamalan by channeling Jesus.

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