Generally I like Mr Shyamalan’s films. I am aware that some (Kermode) think he has gone off the boil but there is something about his “What if?” method of asking questions and making films that appeals to me. The film “The Happening” seems to be asking the question “What would happen if nature turned against us?” and in answering the question comes up with some interesting ideas about our reactions and essential impotency against certain forces we barely understand.
One of the most disturbing ideas in the film is the idea that something could so control you that you would lose the ability to save yourself from death and in effect would kill yourself lacking the common sense to stay alive. I guess we all recoil at the idea that we could be controlled by something that would make us destroy ourselves and yet Jesus seems to say that that is exactly the problem we have. He asks the question “what good is it to gain the world and lose your soul?” and perhaps we dimly understand what he is getting at and yet still we feel compelled to try and gain the world even if it will cost us dearly. We think that the gods of sex, money, status and possessions are neutral and could never hurt us but we are like the people in the film who have taken leave of our senses and end up destroying themselves not realising what they are doing.
The alternative is to choose life. Instead of allowing ourselves to be driven and controlled by things that only lead to death we find freedom in Christ. We come to him as the one who wakes us up and rescues us from the deathlike trance we are caught in and gives us a new vision of something better.