Film critic, novelist and broadcaster Kim Newman recently reviewed M. Night Shyamalan’s “The Happening”. Here’s a preview of what he has to say on the website:
Here's the thing: The Happening is not that bad. The premise of M Night Shyamalan's latest paranormal thriller is no more bizarre than any other apocalypse fiction (Arthur Machen's The Terror is about butterflies for goodness' sake). If the film isn't viewed with hostility from the fade-in, it's an effective, mid-ranking genre picture.
However, at the end of the critique, he came up with these lines:
Can it be a kind of racism that the Indian-born, Philadelphia-raised auteur is hammered for his apparent character (or funny name) rather more than, say, Quentin Tarantino or Spike Lee?
Just like the other online users who posted their comments on the website, I do not think that the bad reviews had anything to do with the director being an Indian. The bad reviews are exactly that: a bad review for a bad movie.
Justin Chang from Variety.com gave “The Happening” a 1.5 out of 5 star rating, while Manohla Dargis from the New York Times had this to say:
“The signal-to-noise ratio has become so lopsided when it comes to Mr. Shyamalan that “The Happening” was marked for failure even before it had a chance to fail or succeed.”
I think that racism should never have been even raised as an issue in the first place. Film buffs are probably just still reeling from the effects of the box-office and critics tragedy which was “Lady in the Water”.