event horizon | paul w.s. anderson | philip eisner | laurence fishburne | sam neill | kathleen quinlan | space | sci-fi | sci fi | thriller | united kingdom | united states | torture | joely richardson | richard t. jones | jack noseworthy | jason isaacs | sean pertwee
Film: Event Horizon
Director: Paul W.S. Anderson
Writer: Philip Eisner
Starring: Laurence Fishburne, Sam Neill and Kathleen Quinlan
This was a film that I remember watching back when it came out and hit the movie channels. After that initial viewing, I thought it had a really had a dark concept. My thoughts were actually that this was a lot like Hellraiser in space. The synopsis is a rescue crew investigates a spaceship that disappeared into a black hole and has now returned…with someone or something new on-board.
We actually start this one with getting back-story of how there was first colonies on the Moon, followed by mining colonies on Mars and then finally they created a ship named the Event Horizon, which is also the name of the point of no return for black holes. The ship goes missing and it is reported that it blew up. We learn this is a cover-up and that the ship disappeared. In the film’s present, the ship has returned.
The film then introduces us to Dr. William Weir (Sam Neill). He is the designer of the Event Horizon. He is asked to join a team that is going to check on the ship that has reappeared by the planet Neptune. A rescue mission is put together with the ship, the Lewis and Clark. Captain Miller (Laurence Fishburne) is tasked to lead it. He isn’t told what the mission is; just that is rescue and salvage. With him is a medical tech Peters (Kathleen Quinlan), Lt. Starck (Joely Richardson), Cooper (Richard T. Jones), Dr. D.J. (Jason Isaacs), Smitty (Sean Pertwee) who is the pilot and finally Justin (Jack Noseworthy).
Something this film does that I like is kind of introducing us to some of the technology. Everyone is put into a stasis to save their bodies as they travel through space. I will admit this film gives off a bit of Alien here with a crew trying to answer a distress call for a ship. As well as try to salvage it.
Once they arrive in the area they are supposed to, they find the missing ship. Dr. Weir gives some background on its special engine and how it uses black holes to jump across the galaxy, making space travel much faster. The Event Horizon is scanned for life-forms, but they are getting weird readings. It is decided that Capt. Miller, Lt. Starck, Peters and Justin will go aboard. Part of this is to getting the ship back working to bring it in.
Justin goes to where the core of the engine is and something happens. It somehow turns on by itself and sucks him in. Cooper gets him back out with the winch he is connected to, but he’s in a coma like state. Dr. Weir tells them this isn’t possible as it has three electric fields keeping it in place and has to be turned on manually. The crew starts to see some dark things of their past and loved ones as there’s something not right going on with the ship. It gets even darker as Peters uncovers the ship’s log and sees the final moments of the previous crew.
I do have to admit, that coming into this film I was excited to check this out again, because I hadn’t seen it since I wrote a paper about it in an astronomy class about black holes. It wasn’t as brutal as I remembered it and of course not as scary either. That is not to say that I didn’t enjoy what I saw. The concept of black holes is something that fascinates me. I really want to know if the gravitational pull just destroys everything or if they are really like wormholes that lead to another place or something else.
This concept of what hell is really a place that is dimension just beyond ours is something else I really like too. What if bending time and space like this film is doing could really open a door to a world like this. I almost wish this film would have focused more on this than what we got. I listened to a podcast about this recently and they brought up there was a lot of cut footage, with some of that being more gore. I actually wish we could have gotten more of that and a bit less of what we did get to be honest. The film doesn’t seem to fit together as well as it should. There are gaps in the story and time wise. That is not to say that pacing isn’t good, but it doesn’t build as much as tension as I really wanted it to. The film runs 96 minutes and I do wish we got 15 minutes or even push it to a full 2 hours as there is a great concept here.
Since I kind of brought up how this does have a Hellraiser feel, we do get this entity that takes what scares or depresses us. It then uses it against us. This is a terrifying idea. Not only that, I love the torture aspects where the bodies are mutilated. I’m not big on pain, so this idea makes me cringe. They don’t take it far enough though for me to really feel that way. We just get glimpses of this and I will say, it is some of my favorite aspects of the film as it reminds me of the CD cover to a Rammstein that fascinated me.
Next to move to the acting, I would say that Fishburne is solid in this one. He is a fair captain and I think that he genuinely cares about his crew. He turns a tight ship and is fair. Not his best performance, but still good. Neill I think is really good as well. I do think that he kind of disappears through stretches of the film and I’m wondering if part of this is scenes that were cut. I wanted more from him. He is quite creepy though as the film goes on. Quinlan I thought was solid. I do feel bad for her is that her son is disabled and she wants to stay on Earth with him. Richardson is fine in her role. She is pretty easy on the eyes. Jones, Pertwee and Noseworthy are also pretty solid in their roles. I will admit that Jones did get on my nerves a bit. There isn’t much of the rest of the cast, but they do round out the film for what is needed.
Something that I dreaded about films from this era was the effects. Back to the podcast I listened on this, they were talking about how they didn’t hold up. I will say that I’m torn. The effects that were done practically of course look great. I just wish we would have gotten a bit more. For the CGI, this think they are definitely hit or miss where some look really good and others really bad. I do like the look of both ships, but something that also struck me is that you’d think this would feel more contained. The Event Horizon feels so big that you don’t get that cramped feel that makes space movies scarier. The film though is shot very well.
Now with that said, this film didn’t hold up as well as I remember it, but I still enjoy it. I think that there is a great concept here there is just a lot missing. I think this actually hurts the pacing of the film as it moves through some things too quickly and doesn’t build enough of the horror as it could. The acting is good though and again, some of the ideas that are explored are solid. The effects are definitely hit or miss. The soundtrack of the film didn’t really stand out to me, but it did fit for what they needed. I would say that overall this film is above average for me. I would recommend giving it a viewing especially if you are into sci-fi horror.
My Rating: 7.5 out of 10