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– by Joseph Jammer Medina

The Happening

Many people point to either The Village or Lady in the Water as the films where M. Night Shyamalan’s career took a nosedive off a cliff. I point to The Happening, which was a film that chronicled a “happening” where people all around the world start to mysteriously commit mass suicide. Unlike most people, I actually really enjoyed The Happening, but for all the wrong reasons. With the exception of the production value behind it, everything about it just reeked of an amateur B-movie director. The dialogue was oddly written, his actors (great actors) gave strange performances, and the plot made little to no sense. It basically checked all the boxes of my favorite horrible films.

Looking back on it now, I’m not convinced this was a complete accident. At the time, Shyamalan repeated that he really was going for a B-movie, and it something he still sticks to. Some may think this is him covering up his mess, but I’m not convinced. The choices made by some of the actors (including Mark Wahlberg and his infamous “What? No!” line were just too out of left field to be an accident, right? I’d like to think that Shyamalan has good enough taste to realize when it borders on incompetence. Perhaps the joke was just too tongue-in-cheek to be successful here. At least that’s what I hope.

Transmorphers

Back when video rental places were a thing, you’d always stumble across those movies who were made as nothing but cheap cash grabs to prey on unknowledgeable moviegoers who picked them up thinking they were the real deal. I remember coming across plenty of films that made their covers look like Lord of the Rings or The Matrix, and I can only imagine what happened when the poor saps took those movies home with them. One of my favorite films was Transmorphers, which was made to capitalize on Michael Bay’s Transformers film (in case you couldn’t tell).

But if you thought the plot was made to even resemble Transformers, you’d be wrong. No. It’s far worse. It takes place either 300 or 400 years in the future (the film and the trailer can’t seem to agree on this point) after humanity has been driven underground by robot-wielding aliens, and follows their attempts to regain their planet. While ambitious in nature, it’s ultimately too hard to take seriously. Its visual effects look more at home on a PS1 than in a movie, and the story has virtually no heft to it, though it’s not for a lack of trying. If you check this one out, I highly recommend you do so with a good drinking game in mind.

Honorable Mention: Post Impact

Do you like disaster movies with overly-serious plots and sex scenes that are of no consequence to the narrative? Post Impact may be up your alley then. The reason it didn’t make this list is that despite being a bad movie, it’s kind of boring to watch, which is a shame. Sure, there was one character who popped up, and was incredibly interesting, but then was killed off two minutes later. Ultimately, it was forgettable, but for one reason or another, this one still stuck with me. Perhaps it was seeing Dean Cain in action after so many years. Oh yeah. Did I mention Dean Cain was in this?

What are some of your favorite bad sci-fi movies? Let us know down below!

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  • Aline

    So bad, it’s good. Birdemic was indeed a life experience.

  • randomironicname

    Off the top of my head I remember “Leonard Pt. 6” or “Pluto Nash” being pretty terrible and probably worse than anything that Shyamalan did.

    • J’Accuse

      Oddly enough Randy Quaid is great as the robot.

  • J’Accuse

    The incredible two headed transplant is a classic. Cringe worthy plot and lines but fun.

  • Behemothrex

    You need to watch the Rifftrax versions of Birdemic and The Happening to get the full experience, also it will probably save your from throwing a brick through your TV. Plus there are 2 or 3 other movies the Birdemic guy made seeing those is also a good time.

  • Ben Alexander

    the worst movie I ever saw has to be Timeline, had somewhat of a cast and it was directed by Richard Donner so i would imagine it had a fairly sizeable budget, so not like it was a straight to Syfy channel movie.

    just bad all round, you have to watch it if you haven’t already

  • Kronx

    Treasure of the Four Crowns (1983)

  • TheOct8pus

    Aw man….Birdemic and Transmorphers are unwatchable….maybe you can watch like 15 minutes before the boredom outweighs the novelty…

    Zoombies fits into that category too….so bad it’s just bad

  • TheFifthIrrelevant

    How can Battlefield Earth not be on this list?

    • Joseph Jammer Medina

      It definitely would have been in a top 10

  • Raoul Duke

    “Despite the silly plot, but the film still managed to take itself way too seriously” -Harry Knowles, is that you?

    • Kindofabigdeal

      Nah, he’s too busy diddling the help.

      • Raoul Duke

        He’s diddling Herc?

  • Kindofabigdeal

    I’m with you on agreeing that The Happening was fun in the theaters. I went in thinking I was getting a good Shamalamadingdong scare twist, instead I got an unintentional comedy that made me laugh throughout. I never understood the hate for this movie. It had moments of creepiness (the people hanging), combined with dark humor. I loved it when the annoying kid gets shot in the head.

Joseph Jammer Medina is an author, podcaster, and editor-in-chief of LRM. A graduate of Chapman University's Dodge College of Film and Television, Jammer's always had a craving for stories. From movies, television, and web content to books, anime, and manga, he's always been something of a story junkie.