We get tipped off to the fact that this allegedly science fictional movie is really an ID tent revival in the opening scenes where Elliot teaches his science students about evolution. He explains to them that honeybees are disappearing all over the country, and asks what some possible explanations might be. Students who say things like "climate change" and "evolution" are dismissed as being "partly right." But then when a generally quiet student finally says, "It's an act of nature that we can't understand," Elliot lights up and says that's the best answer. That phrase "act of nature," which sounds suspiciously like "act of God," crops up in the movie again and again to explain why plants have suddenly decided to kill humans.
Not only that, but there's also some bullshit "pro-family" misogyny going on.
In the film's other major Christian-influenced subplot, we discover that Alma and Elliot have "been fighting" — not only does Alma have the gal to insist that they "wait to have children," but she also went out to dessert with a male colleague without telling Elliot. What? Dessert and lack of babies makes her evil? Apparently so. Julian hisses to Elliot that Alma basically isn't good wife material and that he doesn't trust her. One of the major plot points in the film is whether Alma can somehow be redeemed through her tribulations. And by redeemed, of course, I mean: Will she learn her proper place in her relationship with Elliot?
[At the end of the movie] Alma is ready to help repopulate: She dances out the door to meet Elliot coming home from work, bubbling over with the good news that she's pregnant. Praise Jesus! At last, Alma is doing what "nature" and "evolution" want her to do.
I haven't seen a Shyamalan movie since Unbreakable, and I have had no interest in seeing this one, but if it really is as bad as all that I guess I really should see it just for the culture wars aspect. I wasn't even a great fan of The Sixth Sense (see my original review here from that movie's original theatrical run), but plenty of people enjoyed it, so whatever. His films since then, however, have all been critically savaged to one degree or another -- is Shyamalan really just a one-trick pony whose religious and spiritual beliefs get in the way of telling a good story?