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Event Horizon (SE)
DVD disk
04.18.2006 By: Jason Adams
Event Horizon (SE) order
Director:
Paul W.S. Anderson

Actors:
Laurence Fishburne
Sam Neill
Kathleen Quinlan

Rating:
Movie:
Extras:
Overall:

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WHAT'S IT ABOUT?
Half a century in the future, the spaceship Event Horizon returns to the outskirts of our solar system after having vanished for seven years. A team of astronauts are dispatched to rescue survivors, and when they find none, must board the ship to find out the shocking truth of where the vessel has really been.
IS IT A GOOD MOVIE?
I never got around to seeing EVENT HORIZON during its original run, but I’d heard that it was Paul W.S. Anderson’s best better movie. In this particular case that qualifier still doesn’t mean much. Like Anderson’s other films, EVENT HORIZON looks nice but ultimately proves once again that movies aren’t just about the visuals (at least non-porno flicks).

The first half hour of this sucker really got my hopes up for some slick sci-fi horror fun. The claustrophobic space setting combined with the fantastic production design (which straddled being an homage/ripoff of 2001) provided such a great setup that my blood was pumping in anticipation of having my ass handed to me ALIEN-style. Sadly the rest of the movie took place and all I got was an hour of repetitive jump scares (if you say “boo” to someone over and over again, even a baby is going to get bored) and interchangeable stock characters. Normally in a movie like this, one could look past any acting faults but there’s a stereotypical “funky” black guy who’s so ridiculously characterized that even I was offended (and I’m white). There are a few disturbing gore effects, but even those few seconds of twisted excitement weren’t enough to keep me interested.

I won’t get into any spoilers about the ending; suffice to say that I didn’t find the conclusion all that satisfying. Sometimes not explaining everything is fine (i.e. THE SHINING), but here the vagueness is just frustrating and reeks of the filmmakers not being able to answer their own questions. Well, perhaps "frustrating" isn’t the right word…when EVENT HORIZON finished I turned to my friend and said “Do you think [blank] is what happened?” and he said “I guess” and then we didn’t really care enough to continue the discussion.
THE EXTRAS
Director Anderson refers to EVENT HORIZON as a cult movie multiple times, but I forgot that this film even existed until it showed up in my mailbox. However, someone out there must like it, because it got a pretty nice treatment in this double-disc DVD.

Disc 1:

Commentary from Paul Anderson and producer Jeremy Bolt: Within the first minute Anderson makes comparisons to 2001 and THE SHINING and I had to restrain my hand from hitting the OFF button on my remote. It’s amazing how much these two guys pat themselves on the back the entire time. I liked the explanations of the gothic production designs, as it was the one redeeming part of the movie, but it’s not worth hearing two guys verbally splooge all over themselves and a crappy film. (They actually finish the track by saying “Maybe we should just go to hell next time.” I’ll let you finish the joke yourself.)

Disc 2:

Making of EVENT HORIZON (1:42:42): A comprehensive behind-the-scenes documentary, mostly made up of interviews with crew and cast members, and divided in to five parts that cover the actors, effects, pre-production, set design and score. It is surprisingly exhaustive, but the interviews run a little long and Anderson especially tends to ramble and get off topic a lot. Still, a great extra if you’re a fan of the movie. And worth it to hear Jason Isaacs tell the story of calling Laurence Fishburne “Florence.” I’m surprised he’s still alive today.

Secrets (10:03): Three deleted/extended scenes with commentary by Anderson. Nothing too major; a few extra shots of gore here and there. The most interesting clip is one that establishes the crew as a Coast Guard-like group who patrols outer space. That seemed like something unique in an otherwise derivative movie.

The Unseen EVENT HORIZON (6:48): Some conceptual art and a storyboarded scene that was never filmed. Keep moving.

Point of No Return (8:12): Scene-specific featurettes for four sequences. If you’ve seen a DVD before you know how they shoot action, but the zero gravity scene was pretty cool to watch being filmed. And of course, since Anderson loves himself, he includes five minutes of bonus footage from his on-set birthday party.

You also get Trailers.

Throughout the special features Anderson constantly talks about not being happy with the theatrical version of the movie and mentions a lot of changes that he would make if given the chance. I hope he’s not alluding to a Director’s Cut of EVENT HORIZON, because this DVD is thorough enough and doesn’t need to be triple dipped.
FINAL DIAGNOSIS
Every time I saw Sam Neill onscreen, I couldn’t help but wonder how much cooler EVENT HORIZON would’ve been if there had been velociraptors on the ship instead of your average haunted house-type “scares.” (I know in actuality that’s a terrible idea, but it shows you how unenthused I was while watching it.) If you’re a preteen girl who thought the remake of WHEN A STRANGER CALLS was scary, then EVENT HORIZON is going to scar you for life. Otherwise, don’t expect too much and you won’t be disappointed.
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