The Happening stars Mark Wahlberg as Elliot Moore, Zooey Deschanel as Alma Moore and John Leguizamo as Julian. Directed, written and produced by M. Night Shyamalan.
(Warning: Not much plot to spoil)
Life seems normal throughout the New England area... until plants start telling people to kill themselves. This makes sense because plants evolve quickly and they can talk to each other.
How it works: Plants release a toxin into the air that causes people's brains to become disoriented so they start speaking incoherently and then stop at nothing to destroy themselves. The plants could have gotten this idea from a variety of people/organizations.
The Happening reveals a lot about American priorities. When the outbreak first begins, people immediately assume, "Terrorists!," which is realistic. Somehow, within the last fifty years, Americans have become excessively fixated on terrorism. What is "The War on Terror," anyway? How might we wage such a war? I wonder who is really "terrorizing" us... someone on the other side of the world, or are we terrorizing ourselves?
The Happening exposes what has become our top priority as a nation: feeling safe. But, not only is feeling safe a lame purpose for existing, it is a futile pursuit.
Life is fragile. There is nothing we can do to guarantee our safety. The sooner we get over this fact, the sooner we can start living our lives to the fullest. Most of us know in our minds that life is fragile, but we won't acknowledge this fact until we don't feel safe anymore.
I don't know for sure whether there is a particular toxin that preserves our will to live as The Happening would suggest, but at least this story demonstrates how fickle life truly is. Anything could give out at any time, bringing our lives to an abrupt end. Car accidents happen all the time. There are a variety of deadly diseases with no known cure. Anyone might have a nervous breakdown and lose his/her mind altogether.
The healthiest way to deal with the fact that life is fragile is: Live with eternal purpose. The fact that life is fleeting should is purposeful; this should remind us to take care of our business with God.
"See now that I myself am He! There is no god besides Me. I put to death and I bring to life, I have wounded and I will heal, and no one can deliver out of My hand."