"You know hot dogs got a bad rep? They got a cool shape, they got protein. You like hot dogs, right?"
2008, directed by M. Night Shyamalan
is like hot dogs. It got a lot of crap when it first came out, and indeed, I thought I tactfully avoided more Shyamalan kitsch after hating Lady In the Water (though I now want to revisit it), but when I caught this on TV the other night, I was pleasantly surprised and captivated by how clever and funny it was. Satire on sensationalist journalism disguised as an almost slasher-flick styled thriller about killer plants? Um, yes please.
Seriously, that's what I think the movie is about. The characters say the word "terrorism" so often that it cannot be ignored. Just what are terrorists, what is terrorism? Nothing you can physically comprehend. Perhaps the best example is Global Warming, given the ridiculous (though admittedly genius) marketing scheme that is the "green" movement and the (also genius) antagonists that are killer plants -- but this is really just a placeholder. Fill in the blank with any case of invisible evil deemed apocalyptic by experts.
More importantly is what these candidates have in common: the current mass media business market that unhealthily and unnecessarily uses scare tactics for nothing more than to increase ratings; to increase the audience. Who is most affected by the plants' deadly toxins? Large populations, naturally. I kept waiting for a character totally cut off from society and entirely lacking in knowledge of the epidemic. I got more than I bargained for: not only is there such a character (living quietly and inconsequentially in the country, surrounded by plants and trees at that), but there is also a faceless hillbilly who blows away two kids (one in the face!) with his boomstick, mistakenly thinking they are infected. Fear the plants. Fear them.