Shyamalan Mixes Faith and Science in The Happening
- by Josh Hurst Copyright Christianity Today International
- 2008 6 Jun
Director M. Night Shyamalan is no stranger to dividing audiences—The Village and Signs both drew mixed reactions from critics and audiences alike, and even The Sixth Sense has drawn differing assessments over the years since its release—but his latest film, The Happening—which opened Friday—is set to divide audiences along a different set of lines—political and scientific, and even spiritual.
In an interview with ShockTilYou Drop.com, the director says that we live in a "paranoid world" right now, and his film is suggestive of both terrorism and, more overtly, environmental disasters. Citing his movie and I Am Legend as films born out of the times in which they were made, Shyamalan says of the current global climate, "It's supposed to invoke terror in everything we do, and we're feeding right into it. The reverse would be the right way to be, open and vulnerable and strong and all but you don't need to be scared of every human being on the planet." And though his movie deals with some hypothetical ecological phenomena that earned him a grilling from Scientific American, it's the religious dimension of the film that many Christian moviegoers will find most interesting.
According to the director, the movie is all about "the relationship to nature and worshipping the sky, the Earth, the rock, the bear over there. That relationship felt correct then as a kid and it feels correct now as an adult. It's interesting how in all our religions so little is really said about how we should feel towards nature. It's an interesting thing to get the hierarchy back in line with the way it is. We're just one of many living creatures on the planet."
But even putting science and faith aside, The Happening has drawn mixed reviews from critics. Shyamalan says they just need time: "My movies don't get acclaim the day they come. I have to wait longer."
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