EVENT HORIZON (1997) – The Dungeon Review!
Event Horizon is directed by Paul W.S. Anderson, not to be confused with the immensely talented Paul Thomas Anderson. You know the expression less is more? Mr. W.S. Anderson believes more is more and that is clear from his output. His titles are an exercise in overindulgence; Mortal Kombat, AVP: Alien vs. Predator, Resident Evil: Afterlife, Resident Evil: Retribution and The Three Musketeers are really all just mucky-muck if you ask me. More is often too much in my opinion. Long and short, I am not much of a fan of Paul W.S. Anderson’s work. I guess that is part of the reason I haven’t bothered to revisit Event Horizon. Event Horizon is a film I have not watched since it came out in theatres. It had two things working in its favor for a re-watch; Sam Neill going mad and it came highly recommended from a trustworthy source. Neill going mad is a fecking treat! Neill in Possession, Neill In the Mouth of Madness and Neill in Event Horizon is the perfect trilogy of insanity. I am happy to say that Event Horizon ended up being a nice surprise and well worth the re-visit! My awesome video store had the special collector’s edition which had an entire disc of special features. The special features are quite extensive! It includes a full on documentary on the making of Event Horizon, storyboards for a scene that was never filmed, and lots of stuff about the special effects (which I always enjoy!). There was a bunch of other stuff I didn’t write down too! It is a must have if you are a fan of the film. Event Horizon is an intense sci-fi horror gem that is a hell of a lot of fun!
Event Horizon opens with the following text:
First permanent colony established on moon.
Commerical mining begins on Mars.
Deep space research vessel ‘Event Horizon’ launched to explore boundaries of solar system. She disappeared without trace beyond the eighth planet Neptune. It is worst space disaster on record.
The camera gives us some impressive shots of a spaceship and we travel inside to see various personal effects floating through a tunnel. We see a man looking badly mutilated screaming in terror and/or pain. We meet Dr. William Weir as he is waking up from a nightmare. In this short scene we learn Dr. Weir is apart from a wife he misses. And more text…
Daylight station low earth orbit.
U.S.A.C. Vessel: Lewis & Clark
Category: Search and rescue
Mission: Top Secret
U.S.A.C. Lewis & Clark: 56 Days out
Was Dr. Weir affected by the Event Horizon before he boarded it with the crew of the Lewis & Clark? If anyone would be, I suppose it would be him being he was the person who built the ship. Dr. Weir debriefs the crew of the Lewis & Clark on the original mission of the Event Horizon. The mission of the experiment was to beat the speed of light, or at least cheat it a little. Dr. Weir makes folding space in half sound completely plausible. You are messing with some crazy shit Dr. Weir! One of the details that makes Event Horizon stand out is it is a horror film that takes place is space and there is not an alien in sight! It is a pretty wacky premise though. The ship travelled to hell and came back possessed. There have been possessed houses, possessed cars, possessed boats, possessed hotels and plenty of possessed people. Why not a possessed space vessel? It knows what you fear and uses it. It knows your secrets and materializes them. It is in your head and all around you and you can not escape. You are in freaking space!
In the more is more category Anderson includes too many scenes of people making it through doors in the nick of time. Three come to mind instantly but there were at least one or two more. One is fun, two is acceptable, three or anything more is hokey and redundant! Worry not, there is a ton of action in Event Horizon and this was a minor blip in the overall scheme of things. The effects are great and the sets are massive and very impressive. Even though the vessel itself is a massive structure there is a claustrophobic feel to the action. There is a great intensity that builds steadily throughout the film. The ending wasn’t exactly a shocker but it was not unsatisfying. There were some very impressive sets created for Event Horizon. Amazing models and effects too. There is some computer graphics but most of the effects are of the practical variety. If you watch the features you will get an idea of just how labor intensive some of the effects actually were.
A lot of people die and pretty gruesomely too. The goriest bits are the flashes of hell and the log from the former crew of the Event Horizon. The flashes of hell are shot in rapid fire providing a rather jarring effect. Some of the shots from hell feature models that are inspired by H.R. Giger. I think they have captured that Giger vibe pretty damn well! The playback on the Event Horizon log is also seen only in flashes but the crew are literally tearing each other apart. Imagine being one of the crew of the Lewis & Clark watching this recording?! These are great well executed scenes. The getup sported by Dr. Weir towards the film’s finale is particularly nifty. According to the DVDs special features it took a few hours to apply. Event Horizon is heavy on the visuals and very slick looking but it is not the only thing Event Horizon has going for it.
The crew of the Lewis & Clark had great chemistry. Captain Miller played by Laurence Fishburn is the stalwartly captain; respected and liked by his crew. I am in the camp that finds Fishburn a welcome edition to any film; the man has presence. While Dr. Weir is the exception to the chemistry rule (his role is the maligned outsider), Sam Neill is a great actor who always brings his A-game and has a wide range. Neill is particularly great when he is playing characters that are going mad. Joely Richardson who plays Lieutenant Starck doesn’t get much focus in the first half of the film, but she is likable enough; and she sure does get tossed around like a football in the finale! Handsome Sean Pertwee plays the ship’s pilot Smith; an outspoken, sarcastic but not unlikable bloke. Engineer Justin is the young one of the group who is nicknamed baby bear. Jack Noseworthy does a great “I just seen Hell” face! Justin is a great character you have empathy for. Another high in the empathy category is med tech Peters played by Kathleen Quinlan. The ship uses her young son to manipulate her and bring about her demise. Doctor D.J. played by Jason Isaacs is the serious one of the group. He is quiet and intense; I figured him for being an easy target for manipulation. Finally we have Rescue Tech Cooper played by Richard T. Jones. He was one smart, spunky and durable bastard! He is in a particularly outrageous scenario that I must admit was pretty damn funny. I don’t know that they needed to add comedy to this film, but I have to admit, I thought it worked. A great cast of interesting characters.
Event Horizon is a visually appealing, well-acted, action-packed, creepy and intense sci-fi horror. Event Horizon comes highly recommended.
Dungeon Rating: 4/5
Directed By: Paul W.S. Anderson
Starring: Laurence Fishburne, Sam Neill, Kathleen Quinlan, Joely Richardson, Richard T. Jones, Jack Noseworthy, Jason Isaacs, Sean Pertwee, Peter Marinker, Holley Chant, Barclay Wright, Noah Huntley