Event Horizon

Event Horizon is an excellent example of crossover between genres in which some typically horror motifs superbly complement what is fundamentally a science fiction plot with the end product which is intriguing, scary and visceral by turns - I guess a disclaimer reading "not for the faint of heart" would be in order here!

Review by SAndman
July 1, 2010

Event Horizon Movie

Director: Paul W.S. Anderson

Writer: Philip Eisner

Laurence Fishburne as Captain Miller
Sam Neill as Dr. William Weir
Joely Richardson as Lt. Starck
Sean Pertwee as Smith
Kathleen Quinlan as Med Tech Peters

Released: 1997

Dr. Weir: The ship brought me back. I told you she won't let me leave - she won't let anyone leave.

Based on the concept of the first contact between an alien entity and humans it gives this age-old idea a sticky-fresh coat of blood and entrails, yet it keeps the story just within the limits of the plausible.

The plot is set in the year 2047. The back story explains that it has been seven years since mankind has equipped and sent the star ship Event Horizon on a mission of exploring the limits of the Solar System.

The ship is powered by gravitational drive, a new technology which enables the ship to travel between two remote points by way of folding the space-time and merging the two points in one, in effect creating an artificial black hole and passing through it.

However, for reasons unknown the mission failed and the ship disappeared without a trace. Until it unexpectedly turned up seven years later in an orbit around Neptune. All they got from the missing ship was distress signal, which contained a scrambled message in Latin which read: Liberate me (Save me).

Promptly a salvage team under Captain Miller (Lawrence Fishburne), commander of the star ship Lewis and Clark, is dispatched to make a rendezvous with the Event Horizon. They are joined by Doctor Weir (Sam Neill), the physicist who had designed the Event Horizon's gravitational drive.

None of the team members, with the exception of Doctor Weir, seem especially excited at the prospect of the mission - they are apparently all overdue for a vacation. The presence of Doctor Weir, who cuts a rather distant and even aloof figure, only adds to the tension aboard. Only the competent hand of Captain Miller seems to hold the unlikely crew together. Oddly enough, once this disgruntled group of men reach their target they set about their respective tasks with a professional panache.

After some usual hassle during their journey out they meet with and board the Event Horizon - the scenes featuring the docking of the Lewis and Clark provide some of the many memorable moments in the movie - and scout what in effect seems to be a ghost ship.

Aboard the ship they come across the remains of the ship's crew, bits and pieces floating around in zero gravity, and a rather gruesome-looking corpse with deep cuts on his face and eyes gouged out.

They get to the core of the Event Horizon and the machinery which creates the gravitational drive. At that moment strange things start to happen aboard the ship. Furthermore, Miller and the rest discover the ship's log, which yields new horrifying evidence regarding the fate of the missing crew.

Well, if this all sounds like a millionth-time revisited version of The Haunting in space the fault lies entirely with the writer of the review. Despite the somewhat predictable plot Event Horizon is, surprisingly, a full-bloodied atmospheric chiller.

The build-up relies on eerily oppressive sets - fresh and unnerving - and strong performances by Fishburne and Neill, especially Neill, who obviously manages to stamp his intensely personal performance on just about any role he plays.

Human interest is significantly pared down. After all, this is a movie about fear. And the ultimate fear at that. Character developments are scant. A sense of foreboding, which thickens with each passing scene, sweeps away all other overtones. Basically, from the moment the crew of the Lewis and Clarke board the doomed ship each of the characters embarks on a harrowing journey. All the more harrowing for some as it entails a serious soul-search.

Event Horizon features some pretty disturbing (don't say you weren't warned!) visuals followed by moments of introspection in which the character grope around in the dark trying to come to terms - and failing - with their out-of-this-world, though not necessarily supernatural, experience.

In my view, the helmer managed to keep the right, if at times precarious, balance between the elements of horror and those of science fiction. What could easily have slipped into an over the top gorefest was given just enough heft to make it a rewarding, if a tad gut-wrenching (no pun intended), movie.

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