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Shyamalan promises ‘Happening’ has scares

If there is one thing director M. Night Shyamalan enjoys, it is spooking audiences with his supernatural movies, and he promises his June release, “The Happening,” will be the scariest ride yet.
/ Source: Reuters

If there is one thing director M. Night Shyamalan enjoys, it is spooking audiences with his supernatural movies, and he promises his June release, “The Happening,” will be the scariest ride yet.

“I found it unnervingly easy to (write),” Shyamalan told Reuters in an interview on Monday.

“I don’t know what that says about me. I should probably get some therapy,” he added with a laugh.

“The Happening” stars Mark Wahlberg and Zooey Deschanel as a couple caught in what initially seems to be a terrorist attack as an airborne toxin is released in and around Philadelphia, threatening the human population.

It is the first film from the writer and director of smash hits such as “The Sixth Sense” and “Signs” that is aimed mostly at adult audiences, which Shyamalan said meant he could make it more intense and frightening.

“The Happening” will carry an “R” rating, which means only people 17 or older will be able to attend, unless supervised by a parent, and the film opens on Friday, the 13th of June.

“This one just had an intensity to it. People who have seen it say it’s definitely the most intense movie I’ve made and if it’s not, then I did it improperly,” Shyamalan said.

In the first few minutes, for instance, two women are sitting on a bench talking normally to each other as the dialogue gets increasingly strange. Then, as one turns to the other, she sees her friend in a horrific act — so scary, Shyamalan said, he does not want to give away all the details.

Shyamalan said the fear that audiences feel comes from trying to figure out exactly what the toxin is and where it will show up and never getting clear answers.

With his unique brand of supernatural thriller, Shyamalan has mostly enjoyed a Midas touch at box offices.

“The Sixth Sense,” which told of a boy who sees dead people, raked in $672 million worldwide. “Signs,” about an alien invasion of Earth, scored more than $400 million, and “The Village,” which tells of an isolated group of people in a creature-filled forest, took in more than $250 million.

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His only real stumble was 2006’s “Lady in the Water,” which was panned by critics, failed to excite audiences and took in only $72 million at box offices around the world. Shyamalan said that as an artist “Lady” was his favorite film because it had a sweet story. He said critics and audiences probably were not looking for sweet.

“It’s not that I can’t be tough, but sometimes you just don’t want to be,” Shyamalan said about “Lady.”

“This (new) movie,” he added with a laugh, “is more toxic than the environment. It’ll burn a hole through anything.”