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!

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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.


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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

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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!

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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.

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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.

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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

28 Responses to “EVENT HORIZON (1997) – The Dungeon Review!”

  1. The same as you, I haven’t seen this movie since it was in theaters. I’ve been wondering if it’s stood up though, and it sounds like it has. It’s nice to know not everything Paul W.S. Anderson has been connected to has turned out to be shit.

    • It is excessive in that way that Anderson has, but it impressed me immensely that they went super light on the CG and went with models, and practical effects for the most part. I think it is a big part of the reason it has stood the test of time. Solid cast of actors and the gore didn’t hurt it either.

  2. I watched it for the first time in years about 6 months ago, and even though it wasn’t quite as good as I remembered it, it’s still pretty awesome. It’s definitely the only good movie Anderson has made IMO.

    I can’t remember exactly right now, but there was something that didn’t make sense with Weir toward the end. I think it was around the part where he got blown out the air lock or whatever. Maybe you’ll remember having just watched it. But I really dug the very end. Everyone is screwed.

    I wish Anderson would have continued on this kind of course, but yea…he opted for Mortal Kombat and then it just went downhill from there.

    • ****SPOILER COMMENT*** Turning up again after being blown out the airlock made as much sense as anything. i mean he was no longer Dr. Weir but some possessed demon thing…or whatever! Fishburn sacreficing himself to save what remained of the crew in his final battle with Dr. Weir was no surprise at all. I mean, doesn’t every Michael Bay film end that way? I pretty much expect it in these kind of flicks. And the entire ship was possessed…and wouldn’t that include the piece that the three survivors were on? Thanks alot Fishburn…now hell is going to get us all!

      • Yea, him reappearing was fine. I think it was something else. Oh, well.

        As the ship’s captain and also as Lawrence Fishburne, damn right I expect him to try to sacrifice himself. He’s just that awesome. But yep…made no difference.

  3. I went to see this in a cinema when it first came out and I found it really hard to watch – really, really disturbing! Loved your review by the way. Interesting as ever!!

    • Thank you! I seen this is the theare too, but I sure didn’t remember it. In the case of Event Horizon that was a good thing…it was like watching it for the first time!

  4. This is the only W.S. Anderson flick I like. Good review!

  5. Thought this was a great horror movie since the day it came out. interesting concept, set designs, good acting, big payoff at the end. thanks for revisiting.

    • I do get a little sick of the captain guy vs the bad guy finale scenerio where captain either wins outright or sacrefices himself for the crew, but I thought it was okay here. I was surprised at who they let live. But, yeah, such a well made, great looking, well acted intense film.

  6. Victor De Leon Says:

    Good review! I watch EH at least once or twice a year. Definitely one of if not Anderson’s strongest entry. Thanks!

  7. EXCELLENT work here!!

  8. What’s this,a genre film from 1997 I think is a very good movie? A real surprise when I saw it back then. The ending really caught me off guard! The exception to the rule Paul W.S. Anderson films = CRAP! First-rate review as alway GG!

  9. This is the only Paul W.S. Anderson film thats actually good, sick visuals and interesting idea of technology bringing hell 😀

  10. Great review. You make me want to re-watch it although I disagree with you about Paul W.S. Anderson’s work. Some of it is fun like the Resident Evil films but then I’m a fan of the games… That written, this is his best film.

    • I liked the first Resident Evil and it completely loses me after that. I’ve seen 2, 3, and 4 and I will do so NO MORE!! I’ve got better things to spend my money on. Milla is cool though.

  11. Gonnhorreus Syphilititus Says:

    I was a teenager the last time I saw this movie, which would’ve been about a decade ago. At the time, I thought the movie had a great concept, that was ruined by the final showdown with Sam Neill’s character. But my tastes have changed a lot since then. And based on your review, I have a feeling that I would actually enjoy Event Horizon!

    I was outraged after I saw what Paul WS Anderson did to Mortal Kombat. Well, I shouldn’t have expected much, considering it was a movie based on a pretty simple fighting game. But back in my day, pretty much every teenage male on Earth was obsessed with the Mortal Kombat video games, and I was no exception. But I digress.

    And I was also infuriated that the Alien AND Predator franchises sunk to new lows after Alien vs Predator was released. But again, I digress.

    You make a compelling case for why Event Horizon is a really good movie. I’m pretty sure that the first time I saw the movie, some parts of the film’s plot were over my head. Hopefully, I’d be able to understand what’s going on when I give the movie a rewatch!

  12. […] flick. I love you Sam Neill you crazy bastard! To read the full review for Event Horizon click here. “Where we’re going, we won’t need eyes to […]

  13. This is one of those movies that I saw before I started to think about what I was watching. And I loved the shit out of it because it scared the shit out of me. Primarily, it scared the shit out of me because it has people speaking Latin in it. NOBODY IS SUPPOSED TO BE SPEAKING LATIN ANYMORE. As humans, we have evolved beyond the need for Latin.

    I can’t put my finger on exactly what it is (beyond the Latin) that scares me about this movie but it really strikes a nerve. The whole “no eyes” deal is pretty crazy. And the log… Actually, I’m getting freaked out just thinking about all of this.

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