Reviews & Counting
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Event Horizon(1997)
Written by: The Arrow
Director: Paul Anderson

Laurence Fishburne/Captain Miller
Sam Neill/Weir
Kathleen Quinlan/Peters
Jack Noseworthy/Justin
8 10
A rescue space crew is sent into Neptune’s orbit to investigate a government ship that just resurfaced after seven years of missing in action. Once they board the “ghost” vessel, all hell breaks loose…literally…
“Liberate Tutame Ix Inferis" = Save Yourself From Hell

When “Event Horizon” was originally released, the critics universally spit on it. Today, the film has already achieved a certain level of “cult” success and it just goes to show what some of the more “mainstream” critics really know about the horror genre. Jack all! Actually, let me take this one step further and quote another review of Event Horizon: “Well-acted movie begins promisingly but becomes increasingly unlikely, especially when no explanation is offered for the strange events”. No explanations??? Were you watching the movie or flipping through a “Victoria Secret's” catalogue, dude? I fully grasped what was going on in this film, no problemo. That quote was from Leonard Maltin. Nuff said.

Personally, I really enjoyed this sick puppy. It’s about damn time we get a recent genre film with a set of balls (for me 1997 is recent). The build-up of the film is tighter than a cherry, its ideas are deliciously morbid, tension is often present (all about that airlock scene) and in the end, it winds up being a very engrossing ride that revels in its own excess. Sure the flick borrows elements from “The Shining”, “Hellraiser”, “Flatliners” “Exorcist”, “Alien” and a dozen of other genre films, but it slaps them into the genre blender and delivers another frightening horror beverage. Although the film’s basic ingredients are far from original and the characters are fairly “standard”, the eerie settings in which the story takes place and the charm that the actors bring to their respective parts made the flick feel way fresh to me.

This movie’s biggest asset is definitely its astounding production design. The gothic “Event Horizon” sets really had me going with its church-like architecture, its almond-shaped hallways (looked like an eye) and its metal teeth-laden tunnel. Way spooky! Anderson is thankfully on top of it all and milks the brilliant set designs for all that they’re worth by wrapping his camera around them. It makes for a visual trip and a half. The visual effects themselves go from awesome to average. All of the gore scenes are expertly handled, the model ships have very novel designs to them but unfortunately some of the CGI is a tad weak (the burning man for example). But to be fair, the CGI did work for me most of the time and actually added an extra “otherworldly” feel to the film. Gotta love that floating watch…

My main qualm with this beeyatch is that it’s at times apparent that it got overly tinkered with in the editing room (will the studios ever learn that they’re not filmmakers?). You sometimes feel that scenes are missing and that they’re used to be more to the film than what you’re watching. I also didn’t appreciate the comic relief courtesy of Cooper (Jones). It felt out of place at times and it really got out of hand towards the end of the film (“I’m back!”…come on!). This flick didn’t need humor; it’s about our own personal hell coming to life… NOT funny yo! And last but not least, the score was not always up to par with the images that it was backing, which in turn, diminished the impact of certain scenes. Funny how music can make or break a scene.

But overall this is a solid, engrossing horror opus. It does what a fear film is supposed to do: scare the crap out of you and disturb. It's nice to see a genre flick that isn’t scared to push the envelope. Embark on this ship and get ready for a bumpy ride!
“Warning: this movie isn’t for the faint of heart.” I’ve heard some critics complain about the film’s excessiveness in terms of gore and my comment on that is: What the fuck did you expect? This film deals with the notion of hell! You expected freakin' Smurfs walking around picking flowers??? Even though the flick got cut by the big bad MPAA, some goodies still made the final print. Bursting eyeballs, a man opened up and hung on hooks (Pin Head would be proud), empty eye sockets, mangled legs and much more. The quick glimpses of hell also have some very gruesome images; just don’t blink or you'll miss 'em.
Laurence Fishburne (Captain Miller) does a fine job as the take-charge Captain. I really liked his key emotional moment. Sam Neill (Weir) does ok as the man behind the “Event Horizon”, but I will admit that he didn’t scare me in full “demon” makeup. How can I be scared of Sam Neill? Impossible. Kathleen Quinlan (Peters) is a very focused and talented actress. She shines here. Joely Richardson (Starck) does what she has to do and lets her charm compensate for her thinly written part. Richard T. Jones (Cooper) handles his goofy role well but some of his lines are pretty bad and made me groan. Jack Noseworthy (Justin) does well as the pretty boy who gets in one very messed up situation. Sean Pertween (Smith) is very likeable as the no BS pilot. Jason Isaacs (DJ) also comes through as the enigmatic ship’s surgeon. There’s nothing like a strong cast to elevate one-dimensional characters to a higher plain. Props to the casting agent.
T & A
We get some breast action from Holly Chant (Claire) but the fact that she doesn’t have any eyes in her sockets killed my arousal factor. The ladies get Fishburne showing off his pumped upper body and Sam Neill sucking in his gut. The quick visions of hell also sport some nudity.
I think Paul Anderson is a very talented director. He has an incredible eye. I really liked his creative shots, zany camera angles/movements, his use of colors (lots of blue and green), lighting (the Sam Neill vent scene…wow) and his use of silence/sound (very powerful). This film is quite a trip on a audio/visual standpoint.
The score was a disappointment. It’s too “run of the mill” and this edgy film deserved better. A gloomier and darker piece would’ve been more appropriate. I also didn't feel that slapping "Funky Shit" by Prodigy over the end credits was the right thing to do. The tune is way too upbeat; talk about killing the mood!
Running a little bit over 90 minutes, "Event Horizon" does feel a tad incomplete and ends too fast but it still managed to get under my skin. Isn’t that why we go to see horror movies? Tag to that some brilliant directing choices, jaw-dropping sets, some excessive gore and moments of true suspense and you get a film that, even with its shortcomings, is way above average. I can just imagine how effective the Director’s Cut would be…RELEASE IT ALREADY!
At the 2002 Fangoria Convention in New York, director Paul Anderson said that he plans to work on a 'Special Edition' release of "Event Horizon” next year, with a commentary and the deleted footage included on the disk. He also said he would prefer to cut the deleted scenes back into the film (good call), rather than have them be there as extras. I hear the original cut of the film ran a little over two hours…wow…

The script was written by Philip Eisner whose only other credit is the TV show "Firestarter: Rekindled". Come on dude! Get to work! I want more!

Paul Anderson said on a live chat: “The sets were based on European gothic cathedrals, especially Notre Dame in Paris”.

Paul Anderson studied with Jason Isaacs and Sean Pertwee in college.