Paul W. S. Anderson
- Laurence Fishburne as Captain Miller
- Sam Neill as Dr. William Weir
- Joely Richardson as Lieutenant Starck
- Kathleen Quinlan as Med Tech. Peters
- Jason Isaacs as D.J.
- Sean Pertwee as Pilot Smith
- Richard T. Jones as Cooper
- Jack Noseworthy as Justin
Although negatively received upon release, Event Horizon has seemingly grown into something of a cult film. Clearly influenced by Alien and Hellraiser, it may not be in the same league as them but it sure as hell will leave an impression due to bizarre visuals and sense of dread that it gives us.
The year is 2047 and a rescue ship is sent to look for the Event Horizon, another ship that disappeared seven years before but has recently appeared out of nowhere. The rescue ship is headed by the calm Captain Miller and also comprises of Lieutenant Starck, Med Tech. Peters, trauma doctor D.J, Pilot Smith, technician Cooper and engineer Justin. The crew is joined by Dr. Weir, who designed the Event Horizon and explains the properties of the missing vessel. The ship contains a strange gravitational property that enables it to create a black hole, thus making travel quicker to the desired destination. Along with the rest of the assembled crew, Weir’s job is to figure out where the ship has been for seven years. They eventually set foot on the ship yet discover that things that transpired where very grisly indeed. The former crew appears to have mutilated one another to death after being driven insane by an insidious force. Soon enough, Weir and the crew begin to experience strange events on the ship. Their deepest fears and regrets manifest as vivid hallucinations, the sphere at the core of the ship sends a pulse that rips apart almost everything and one by one, the crew are systematically driven to the brink of madness by the haunting force that the Event Horizon brought back from its unspecified journey. Who will make it out of the grisly chaos and malevolent grip of the eponymous ship?
Derivative and clichéd as it may be, Event Horizon is not as bad as some people make it out to be. Sure it’s far from perfect, but it gets the job done in a stylistic and violent manner that is hard to shake once you’ve seen it. Paul W. S. Anderson is very much a stylistic and visual director and his skills in this area are in clear abundance in Event Horizon. Production design is of a high quality, with whirling spheres of sharp serrated metal and spikes forming a visual highlight as well as the pulse of the ship that brings a dark force with it. Bizarre images abound that give the film a trippy and very disturbing quality. This is very apparent in the hallucination scenes that prey on the fears of the crew and bring with them chaos and destruction. If you have a strong stomach, I’m sure you can survive the grisly splatter content. But be warned if you don’t, as Event Horizon is the kind of film that will no doubt bring plenty of nightmares. While the pace may be lacking at times and too fast in other areas, Event Horizon definitely brings a nightmarish quality to the proceedings that is both highly disturbing and strikingly done. A dissonant score of electronics will know doubt cast an eerie aural spell on viewers.
The script may be the least impressive part of Event Horizon, but the talented cast manage to inject interest into their rather thinly written characters. Laurence Fishburne excellently plays Captain Miller as a figure of calm and strength that is tested against the evil forces of the ship. Sam Neill is great as the off kilter doctor who is the worst affected by the ship as it shows him visions of his dead wife with her eyes gouged out. This in turn sends Weir slipping into a gradually building psychosis that poses as much danger as the ship itself. Joely Richardson gives a certain assurance to her Lieutenant character, while Kathleen Quinlan displays wrenching vulnerability as the med tech. Jason Isaacs infuses D.J with a grave outlook on life and knowledge. The ever-reliable Sean Pertwee is wise ass and cynical as the pilot who just wants off this mission, his remarks are offset by the comic timing of Richard T. Jones portraying the technician. In the smallest role, Jack Noseworthy plays the youngest member of the team who is the first to encounter the sadistic intent of the ship.
A grisly and chilling sci-fi/ horror flick, Event Horizon is far from the greats but certainly memorable.