Anyone who has listened to the podcast would have heard me ranting and raving about this movie. Largely panned and a failure at the box office, 1997’s Event Horizon slipped under the radar of most horror and science fiction fans. Let’s remember that the horror genre was in a sorry state during the 90’s, Scream dominated and though it was a clever send-up of familiar horror tropes, it was a fairly innocuous film without and real sense of menace.
Event Horizon was the exact opposite. From the beginning the film has a brooding tone as the story unfolds. The plot centers around Dr. Weir played by Sam Neil (In the Mouth of Madness) who designed the Event Horizon, an intergalactic starship outfitted with an experimental warp drive that allows the ship to travel across the galaxy by utilizing a black hole. Of course, the ship disappears and if found seven years later orbiting Neptune.
Miller, played by Lawrence Fishburne (The Matrix), is tasked with the mission of investigating the reappearance of the Event Horizon. He, along with his crew, go into suspended animation and travel to the edge of the solar system on his spaceship the Lewis & Clark and literally all Hell breaks loose.
The movie’s detractors have called it an Alien rip-off, but that’s a very lazy analysis of the film. True, there’s a gothic horror element; the warp drive looks like it’s out of a Nine Inch Nails video but there is no actual “Alien” in the entire film! Instead, most of the scares come from the subconscious of the crewmembers. The opus is the discovery and review of the Event Horizon’s video log which shows a Faustian journey through a Hell-like dimension which caused the crew to violently murder each other.
Naturally, it doesn’t bode well for the crew. There are some truly scary moments and the film remains extremely watchable twenty years later. Back in 2006, a two-disc Director’s Cut was released which is more in line with director’s Paul Anderson’s vision for the movie.
If you’re game for a spooky Sci-Fi / Horror movie with slightly heavy-handed acting, a solid concept and special effects that still look great 20 years later, check out Event Horizon.