A puzzling and deadly phenomenon has gripped urban areas of the United States, causing victims to become disoriented, freeze in mid motion, and then take their own lives. When Philadelphia Science Teacher Elliot Moore (Wahlberg) learns what's happening, he boards a westbound train, along with his wife Alma (Deschanel), colleague Julian (Leguizamo), and Julian's daughter Jess (Ashlyn Sanchez), in an attempt to evade the illness. Theories about The Happening abound, but unless the cause of the outbreak is found, it would seem that humans' reign of the planet will come to an end. (Stacey Pendry)
Special features include four deleted/extended scenes available with optional introduction by Director M. Night Shyamalan; five behind-the-scenes featurettes—The Hard Cut (nine minutes), I Hear You Whispering (four minutes), The Happening—Visions Of The Happening: A Making Of (12 minutes), A Day For Night (seven minutes), and Elements Of A Scene (10 minutes); a three-minute gag reel, two original theatrical trailers; and up-front previews. Additional special features on the Blu-ray™ include BonusView, which is a picture-in-picture feature that is available with or without a trivia track; three additional behind-the-scenes featurettes—Train Shooting (four minutes), The Hard Cut (nine minutes), and Forces Unseen (five minutes); a digital copy of the movie; and the disc is also encoded with D-BOX® Mastering Motion.
With nicely resolved fine details, the anamorphically enhanced 1.82:1 DVD can look quite sharp. Combined with the clean encoding, with relatively few compression artifacts noticeable, it can be an enjoyable picture. Black levels are slightly elevated, though, which is a distraction at times, but shadows are delineated well. Colors are desaturated some, and bright, bold hues are rare. Fleshtones appear natural with good distinction between various shades, but contrast is low. Edge enhancement is noticeable, but not overly distracting. The H.264 AVC-encoded Blu-ray Disc is not as sharp as the better high-definition releases are, but the picture is clean with a decent sense of depth. Black levels are improved over the DVD, and colors are balanced well. (Danny Richelieu)
The Dolby® Digital 5.1-channel soundtrack uses each channel well to create a detailed soundfield, but there are too many moments that sound is dimensionless, with a heavy reliance on the screen channels. The LFE channel is rarely used, and while deep bass is not a big part of the sound design, there are instances where sub-40 Hz signals can energize the room. Bass is defined well in general. Dialogue sounds somewhat smeared and imprecise, and ADR can be obviously audible. The noise floor is fairly high, which damages the adequate dynamic range. Fidelity is generally good, although there are times when clipping distortion can detract. Still, the soundtrack has its moments. The Blu-ray Disc's lossless DTS-HD Master Audio™ encoding delivers a noticeable improvement in fidelity, with improved dynamics and more natural-sounding dialogue. Still, deficiencies in the mix and occasional issues with distortion and ADR audibility are noticeable. (Danny Richelieu)